I am probably making mountains out of mole hills here, but I am going to drag out the soapbox about a pet peeve of mine, because it has reared its head again this week.
The peeve is the sexualization of women with guns. I've written about it before here,
And yes, I freely admit that I am a cranky old broad. But I am going to have my say once again.
I'm not going to provide a link, or even mention their name, because I don't want to give them any more attention, but a Facebook link showed up this week from a particular purveyor of tactical wear (NOT the manufacturer of said pants), touting "11 Reasons Why Your Girlfriend Needs Tactical Yoga Pants". The article proceeded to show mainly buttock photos of women (mainly NOT wearing the actual product mentioned), accompanied by double-entendre type captions.
Now, I'm not an idiot. I know that sex sells product. I know that men look at women's buttocks. I get it. But I also think that this particular post/"article" is disrespectful of women shooters, objectifies them, and ignores their actual skills by reducing them to mere jiggle.
I didn't like it, and I made no secret of it. Thus I posted a rant on Facebook, stating that BS like this sets women shooters back.
I was asked whether I meant that it was the article or the pants that would set women back.
This was my reply,
"In a way, both. That will not be a popular view, and I acknowledge that. Mainly I am steamed about the article and how it objectifies women shooters and reduces them to nothing but ass-jiggle.
You are not of my generation, so you cannot appreciate the many years that women my age have struggled to be taken seriously in their careers and in the world at large - nevermind the shooting sports. This is what colors my worldview.
To finally start to be accepted into something as male-dominated as the shooting sports is something that is very special to me, and was something that was not available to me when I was your age. Anything that threatens that, concerns me immensely.
Thus we come to the pants themselves. Admittedly they are not for me, and I have said as much. But the beauty of women's progress is that we now have more choices than we used to. So if some women like them, and have the body for them, then fine - isn't having free will a wonderful thing? With that said though -- would you wear a bikini to a job interview and then complain that you were not taken seriously or were stared at?
For me, and many women like me out in the Podunk trenches of the shooting world, and NOT in professional sponsored shooting circles, just showing up to a match is a bit like a job interview. I still encounter men nearly every weekend who do not know me, and have no idea what my shooting skills are like. I have to prove to them that I know what I'm doing. Wearing those pants would make me a target of unwelcome attention and skepticism, even over and above what I would already encounter simply by my gender. Like it or not, there would be male shooters who would not take me seriously, and there might even be sexual comments - especially if I were a 20-something.
In the world that I grew up in, you dressed appropriately for the job at hand, and to be functional, and to project an aura that you knew what you were doing. In my opinion, those pants don't project that aura. They project "look at me, and check out my ass". Some women shooters (such as Janna or Lena ) are bad-ass enough to get away with it. Alas, most of us are not.
SO - Some "old broad" reminders and clarifications for the young gals out there, which might give you some insight into my perspective on this.
- When I was in early grade school, girls were not even ALLOWED to wear pants of any kind to school. Digest that for a minute.
- Title IX - regarding educational and athletic opportunities for girls and women - was passed in 1972. I was in 4th grade. It didn't really get rolling until years afterward.
- Women were not fully integrated into the armed forces and accepted into the U.S. Military Academies until I was almost in high school.
The freedoms and opportunities some of you young gals take for granted now, are fairly recently acquired. I remember when we didn't have them, and this colors my perceptions of what is appropriate dress and behavior in order to earn respect - and what is not.
I'm pretty sure that none of the legends of women's shooting sports who blazed trails for us, did that by showing off their asses. I'm also pretty sure that Kim Rhode didn't win any of her Olympic medals that way either.
I don't have any sponsors - particularly the manufacturer of said "pants", or the company which posted the offending article - so I am free to tell you exactly what I think. And it is this...
Do you have the freedom to wear whatever you want to the range? Abso-fricken-lutely. I am in no way advocating wearing a burka to your next match. But choose wisely. The image that you present may reflect not only upon you, but on other women shooters as well. You may be one of the few competent and accomplished female shooters that some men (especially men at local matches) have seen in the first person. You may have to "earn" their respect, as I have had to do. If you WANT your skills to be overshadowed by your "assets" then that is your choice. But just be aware that the type of attention you receive may be adjusted accordingly, and the article I spoke of reflects that.
For the record, I will NEVER purchase anything from the company that posted that piece of trash.
Are the authors of the article jackasses? Damn Skippy they are. Perhaps I shouldn't even dignify such crap with this rant, but I'm using it as an opportunity to remind young women on the range that the image you project is important. Don't give them any ammunition.
Men look at women - it's just biology - and in other more appropriate contexts, we women LIKE to be looked at. But especially on the range, men's attention will be drawn to what you CHOOSE to highlight - your marksmanship? Or your body? Choose wisely.
This has been the two cents contribution of your resident Cranky Old Broad. Oh, and "Get off my lawn" :-)