Masculinity Studies 101: Color Coding
Today’s lesson comes to us (thanks to Feminist Law Professors) from a recent trend-story from Ananova on gun stores’ efforts to draw women in as customers:
Firearms shops in the US are stocking pink rifles and shotguns to encourage girls to get into shooting.
A report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says the Gander Mountain hunting store in Waukesha stocks several pink guns.
They include a Remington 20-gauge shotgun with a pink and black stock emblazoned with the slogan:Shoot like a girl if you can!
Store manager Chris Hanson said the guns were aimed, so to speak, at girls and women interested in hunting.
He said the shotgun, and a Crickett rifle with a bright pink stock, were both selling well.
In Baraboo, Jim Astle, owner of Jim’s Gun Supply in Baraboo, has been coating guns in pink and other colours for four years. His 12-year-old daughter owns a pink camouflage shotgun.
Females want to shoot guns, but they want them to look pretty, too,he said.Guys could give a rat’s butt what their gun looks like.
Now, if it were true that
guys emphatically don’t care what their gun looks like, then you would expect that a
guy would be just as happy to carry a gun that looks like this:
… as he would a gun that looks like this:
I encourage you to give any gun-loving male that you happen to know the choice between the two, and see whether he is really indifferent to how his gun looks.
Most men actually have very strong preferences respecting fashion, appearance, color, and so on. Male society enforces these preferences as prevailing norms for masculinity, vigorously and often violently. Anyone who pays a few second’s worth of attention to branding in pop culture can find this out, if he or she did not already know it. But because men and their preferences are treated as the default case, especially when it comes to echt-male pursuits such as shooting, these strong preferences are rendered invisible, whereas women’s are marked out for special observation and remark. This has the further effect of allowing men to pose as especially pragmatic, as if they are coolly unconcerned with pursuits and preferences that they characterize as both feminine and frivolous. Even though, in fact, they have similar pursuits and similar preferences with which they are no less concerned.