It’s safe to say we’re all champions of empowering women to embrace their right to bear arms, and we fiercely support female gun ownership. I applaud the rise in female gun ownership, celebrate accomplished female shooters in the industry, and mentor young shooters like Meredith Gibson. I also encourage fellow mothers to learn how to carry and teach our children to shoot responsibly.
Organizations like A Girl’s Guide to Guns, The Well-Armed Woman and A Girl & A Gun, along with shows like Love at First Shot, prove there’s no shortage of positive role models and girl-powered resources out there for new female shooters to navigate the hefty responsibility of being a responsibly armed woman.
Some of us have gone from shooting as a kid to teaching our own children and others have taken the very progressive (and impressive) journey to go from never holding a firearm to a truly accomplished gunny gal.
However, the journey of women in the firearms industry may have come full circle; from gun bunnies to female gun owners and sadly, back around again.
We were tagged in a Twitter post which also hash-tagged a company championed by conservative pop idol Tomi Lahren. Since I don’t follow or watch the self-proclaimed “newsanchor [sic] extraordinaire”, I Googled the Bullets and Bombshells Gun Society. I clicked on the link and an avalanche of dismay and disappointment swiftly doused my fiery notion of what women have worked so hard to avoid being portrayed as in the firearms industry.
Women and girls in shooting sports and throughout the industry have had a hard enough time earning credibility without painting female shooters as “bombshells,” and yet the OG of the B&B describes the gun society, who offers ‘tactical couture’ tube tops, as:
We are For the 2nd Amendment Clothing and love our girls with guns. Check out our Bombshell Squad. We have second amendment shirts, pants, and everything sexy for the shooting woman.
If you love your guns and you are a woman that loves the 2nd Amendment, then you are a Bombshell.
Oh dear. Tube tops? Boy shorts? Sweatshirts that serve no purpose in keeping one warm? What the heck is ‘tactical couture’?
I know sex sells, but there’s a time and a place for everything. I was beyond embarrassed and mortified at the idea that this would do anything but deter women, and men, from the industry. I wondered if perhaps I had been naive in the belief that ‘booth babes’ were outdated in our industry.
To test if my reaction was just an anomaly, I asked a few of my fellow hard-working female shooters and hunters to describe what they think of the website. The responses I received (that I can print) were:
- “A very perverted representation of women in our industry”
- “An abomination”
- “Cheapens what we’ve worked really hard to achieve”
- “This is wildly misplaced”
- “They’re whore-iffic”
- “An embarrassment”
- “Boobs… boobs… more boobs… apparently I need a boob job. Bibbity-Bobbity-Boobs.”
The sad thing is, the women of B&B are completely missing the plain truth that women are sexy just by being gun owners, shooters, hunters and KNOWING how to shoot.
Being a female gun owner in and of itself is sexy, there’s no need to wear a ‘tactical couture’ tank top to the gun range and take a selfie with an AR-15. (hello? hot brass scar on your cleavage?! #NotSexy)
Men in the industry mirrored their female counterparts’ response to this website:
- “So they’re whoring out the Second Amendment to sell rhinestone panties?”
- “I can’t imagine the women on our team supporting this”
- “This is basically Second Amendment cosplay”
- “Please tell me this isn’t from a dude”
- “I would never buy these for my wife”
- “Can’t wait to show this to my daughter, NOT”
- “Jumping on the firearms train to hock a tacky clothing line, how empowering”
- “What the crap is this, it is a joke?”
- “They have just set the women of our industry back 30 years”
Look, I admit that some of their items are pretty cool (I’d love this MOLON LABE Crystal Car Decal or these pretty Designer Crystal Ear Muffs), but 100% of the women and men in the industry I polled had a negative view of the overall message Bullets & Bombshells is putting out there.
B&B should also be concerned that the media will use them to advance their narrative that women are being used by the firearms industry to sell guns and gear. There’s also the fact that in a time where we are working so hard to encourage young women to join shooting sports, marketing campaigns like this are enormously off-putting and a gross misrepresentation of women in the industry. Not counting booth babes, of course, but that’s another article.
The fact of the matter is, we don’t need to cheapen or demean ourselves as female shooters to sell a pair of booty shorts, nor should we whore ourselves out in the name of the Second Amendment to make a quick buck.
My final thought is a reminder to everyone who claims to represent gun owners to conduct themselves more like the Dove Real Beauty campaign. Less is more. Highlighting women who carry, hunt and participate in shooting sports as they do in real life is a more effective way to encourage and empower women of every demographic to join the ranks of amazing women who own guns.
Besides, nothing is sexier than a strong female who is a proficient shooter and a responsible gun owner, no T&A needed.