EAA M88 ad (courtesy thinkprogress.org)

Our most recent Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day touched on the “issue” of gunz ‘n girlz. thinkprogress.org is thinking along the same lines as TTAG readers who view firearms-related titillation beyond the pale. “Famously prevalent in car commercials and video game marketing, sexist advertising takes a character of its own in the gun industry’s marketing,” TP intern Kumar Ramanathan’s The Seven Most Sexist Gun Ads opines, “feeding off exploitative images of women and starkly violent visions of masculinity.” Really? An ad where a woman defends herself with a GLOCK is sexist? An ad urging women to carry a firearm to stop rape is sexist? Ramanathan’s image number seven is a Daisy Air Rifle ad from 195o-something. Whatever this blog post is it sure ain’t progress.

92 Responses to Question of the Day: Is This Sexist?

  1. Honestly as much as I love beautiful women, I get tired of ads like this. We are so desperate to break away from the OFWG meme and yet no one is doing sh!t about it.

    • Since when does any ad for any product NOT have some scantily clad hotty as peripheral if not the center piece for the ad, product or event; beer, cars, jewelry, broad cast news shows, talk shows, movies, sporting events ie cheer leaders, ect. ; sex sells.

      Sorry people, but most of you complaining about the hotties that Robert has links to on his web site is actually very understated and low key, you actually have to click on the link before said hotty shows up; so get a grip and deal with it, it’s the way advertising has been done forever and I personally like it.

      • Last I checked businesses selling diamonds and clothes are not fighting the government. Our image is important.

    • Another reason for the ROTPTKABA is protection from censorship. If you don’t like the ads, don’t look at them, but don’t start fucking around with the First Amendment!

      • The First Amendment protects you from government censorship. It doesn’t mean that the speaker is not a sexist asshole. The First Amendment does not protect your speech from harsh criticism.

        • ” in response to Rich Grise:
          Another reason for the ROTPTKABA is protection from censorship. If you don’t like the ads, don’t look at them, but don’t start fucking around with the First Amendment!”

          For the record, I didn’t post that alleged quote above..

  2. I regard this stuff in the same way I regard media for women where beefy guys with few lines tear their shirts off and swoon over the female main character.

    It’s not sexist, it’s just really dumb.

  3. The first and fifth ads were probably a bit on the sexist side. So 2/7 isnt bad compared to other liberal word vomit articles.

  4. It’s not going to change. It’s how marketing has been done for-ever. I didn’t think any of Ramanathan’s ads were sexist, just targeted. You would run those ads where the eyeballs would be primarily male. Where the eyeballs would be primarily female, or an equal mix, you’d probably run something else. The pregnant girl in the bridal veil in the gun range ad was a little weird, though.

    The gun in the lead photo is ugly as hell. I can’t point to anything specific, but something about it is just… off.

    • Matt, the M88 is just a very slightly modified Tokarev tt33 chambered in 9×19. A lot of the former warsaw pact countries are using machinery from the cold war days to make and sell low cost guns.

  5. So a woman can’t defend herself from rape and be fully clothed and not look like a bimbo in the process? That picture looks like something the Man Show would come up with. If that’s your target audience, fine. But don’t pretend you’re standing for 2a rights when you’re driving away better than 50% of the voters in the process.

    • Huh? I don’t think Courtney looks like a bimbo. She’s relaxing at home. What do you wear when you’re retired for the evening?

      And as a marketing professional, I think this spot, while too long by half, would appeal to women even more than men.

  6. Don’t cave into the “PC” crowd people. Ads like this are fine as long as the companies that use them realize that some customers won’t buy products because of the ad content. Don’t like the way a company does business, don’t buy their stuff. Targeted ads are the free-market system at it’s best.

    Folks getting offended about stupid stuff like this is at the core of what is wrong with this country today.

    • Sure. But did it serve the purpose of an ad which is to (eventually) get you to buy one of the advertiser’s products?

  7. Do the ads appeal to women at all?
    Maybe showing a sexy woman with a firearm means that you can be sexy and self sufficient. What woman would not want that.

    • Correct.

      You whiners typically supporters of the Molly Yard/militant NOW gang “viewpoint”? Perhaps a Mohammedan crouching in her tent feeding camel chips to a fire, dressed in a burka with an AK at hand would you happy? Perhaps would actually be a good anti rape commercial. Lighten up Martha.

      If the advertiser is wrong about how he spends his budget then he looses (not you). If he is correct then he is more profitable (no loss to you).

  8. Females are responsible (amazing, huh?) for 85% of consumer spending (largely as a result of advertising targeted to females) therefore the commonly accepted definition of what is really “sexist” advertising needs to be inverted, turned inside-out, and expanded.

  9. I have to give yes but so what to the sexist line.

    It seems that all the girl characters with guns on tv shows — Fiona Glenanne, Ziva David, Brenda Johnson, Mary Shannon (before Mary McCormick got pregnant) Annie Walker etc, are smoking hot. The only real live girls with guns who fit that profile that I have met have been case officers and I will leave it up to the reader as exercise to figure out why. Most women in the professions that carry guns are more plain Jane than Jane Seymour.

      • I think you only notice the hot ones and they all seem to get assigned to Headquarters Marine Corp or the Pentagon.

      • There is some bias when your surrounded by mostly dudes for most of your time though. I like to refer to it as the hottest girl in the room issue.

      • They have the entire population as a pool so yeah there are lots babes in the IDF. As a rule, Israeli women are generaally hot and personable.

    • I like em 6′ tall, long blonde hair, world class breasts, a butt that won’t quit and legs that go all the way to the ground.

      • Brownie points for the Tremors quote. Minus one brownie point…

        “legs that go all the way up!”

        • Admittedly, It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie. I was just trying to channel the spirit of K. Bacon.

  10. Is sex sexist? Is sex sexy? I think it’s tiresome – like it’s the only way to sell things. WHO DECIDES, and WHY?

  11. Is it just me, or do the legs in that ad look like they are oversized and not anatomically fitted properly?

  12. So the women in these ads aren’t free thinking women who choose to pose in these ads? The notion that women can’t make their own choice to appear in these advertisements is what is sexist.

  13. It’s just an attractive woman with a gun. So no, not sexist. Women, attractive or not, shouldn’t be forced to burka up by overly sensitive societies.

  14. It depends entirely on who/why/where it is being marketed. If that were and ad in Home Makers Weekly, I’d say it was money wasted and yeah, sexist. But, if it was in Man-Trucker Journal, then no, spot on targeting.

  15. Let’s get the president of a gun club to model the pistol. Or Wayne LaPierre. Or maybe Dianne Feinstein, since the M88 would be a pistol that you could still buy if her AWB passed.

    There we go. DiFi holding a gun while in a bikini.

  16. Reading that 7 sexist gun ads article, #3 drew my attention…

    3. “Which would protect her health best?”

    Beyond being another example of the guns-stop-rape meme, this ad implores parents to make sure their daughters are armed. A cell phone and a pink-wrapped condom sit beside the gun, pitting contraception as weak. It also perpetuates the idea that all rape is committed by masked strangers in alleyways, ignoring the prevalence of acquaintance rape.

    it then shows a picture with a condom, a cell phone, and a pistol.

    The ad is specifically talking about rape, not consensual sex, so the contraception as weak argument is null. Then there’s the notion that rape is only committed in back alleys. Sorry, but that’s not the message, the message is that a firearm will be the most effective tool against a rapist. Then as responsible parents, the additional message I would teach my daughter (or my son) is that ANY man, ANY PERSON, who tries to rape them, be it a stranger in an alleyway, a friend from college or a relative, is this…. that person is NOT your friend, they do NOT love you, they ARE trying to RAPE you, and they are subject to being shot to protect you. I don’t care if it’s a stranger or my own family. You try and rape my children, you have nullified any bonds of love and compassion.

  17. Personally, I don’t understand the EAA ads at all–to whom are they intending to appeal? I wouldn’t think a woman would e attracted to an ad of a half clad woman, especially with the unsexy, boxy and oversized guns that EAA sells. But the analysis of the Glock is way off–what is “sexist” about a woman defending herself from an intruder, especially with a terribly effective tool? And what is wrong with the ad about the condom, the phone and the gun–even if “relation” rape is indeed prevalent, does this nitwit think the gun only works against bad guys that the victim doesn’t know?

    • I kinda feel like the EAA ads are “trying too hard.” If you look at some of their ads, they have an attractive, but clothed, woman. OK, I get it, that’s marketing. But when they take that same woman and strip her down to a bikini the size of a playing card, it makes me wonder what it is about their product that they’re trying to distract me from.

    • It’s the same psychology that they use on guys. “Drink our beer, and you’ll get the babes like those guys in our ads do!” For women, “Hey, you’re just as sexy as she is! Just get this gun – just think how beautiful you’ll feel! ” “Over 83% of men polled think a woman with a gun is sexy! Be one of us!”

      etc., etc., etc.

  18. Freakin’ A dood, all people do these days is b!tch, b!tch, b!tch. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another. B!itching and bullish!t, that’s what America does.

    Kumar ought to find himself a real career and do something beneficial to society, like learning to be a plumber.

  19. “using sexualized female bodies to both draw attention and generalizing the idea that gun ownership and usage is sexy.”

    Who would have thought? Next thing you know the ads will be telling us that owning and driving fast cars is sexy.

  20. Some say it’s sexist and some say not. But look who’s checking in. The same guys that answer every post. If this site is to grow, and more importantly the revenue streams are to grow we need to break out of the rut we’re in.

    Makes sense from a pro 2a sense and makes sense from a business sense. Or we can stay business as usual and watch the site shrink as the same members of the peanut gallery argue the same issues over and over.

  21. It’s only sexist if it’s a beautiful woman holding the product that is being marketed to men.

    If it’s a product being marketed to women and it’s a beautiful man holding it, well that is just A-OK.

    Witness the popularity of the new Old Spice commercials with that unreal beautiful mostly-naked man in the changing outfits. Not sexist.

  22. Of course they’re sexist. What this country really needs (besides ammo) are ads with pictures of dumpy women with mustaches and unshaven armpits scratching their b@lls and looking like Betty Friedan on a really bad day promoting birth control devices that they will never, ever need.

  23. Sexist? No.

    Would the EAA ones be classified as “sex sells” advertising? Yeah, but consider the readership population in the magazines those ads are placed. That’s smart advertising, and if it wasn’t working for them they’d have changed their tune by now.

    I see no issue with it. And I don’t own any, nor plan to buy any, EAA products. They’re free to do what they like with their advertising dollars, and I’m free to buy the products I want. They just don’t offer any guns I want.

  24. Pretty much all of the Ads from EAA are tacky and tasteless. To a lesser extent I see the same thing from Dillon Precision with the covers on their Blue Press brochures they send me.

    The test for Advertisement Good taste should be this: If you cant explain to your young daughter why that woman doesn’t have her pants on (or her bra, shoes, socks, or is-wearing-only-a-bikini etc), then its not something you should be putting your company name on.

    Then again, its a free country, they can put whatever crap they want on their brochures. I just wont have their stuff in my house because i don’t want to explain that BS to my wife or daughter.

  25. I think these types of ads are sexist. They try to use mens’ natural instincts to focus on sexy girls and throw in a few sexual double-entendres, and then loosely tie it into an association with the product.

    Does the product have anything to do with sex? I don’t really think so. Does it foster an environment that is offensive to women? Depends on the woman. Does it create a welcoming feeling to women? I would guess not.

    I don’t think it rises to the level of a hangable offense, but it isn’t necessary and it seems kind of stupid. Would I create an ad like this? No.

    Switching focus to this blog: when RF inserts references to some sexy model in his stories, it doesn’t really add anything to the story, and if anything, I believe it only serves to narrow the audience on the whole. Maybe if he at least stuck with photos of chicks holding guns, a case could be made as to relevance; but it seems like a majority of his sexy girl links have no relation to guns. I mean, I like to look at pretty girls too, and I’ve enjoyed many of the pix, but I would still visit the blog if they were absent. And it’s certainly possible that others would stop visiting due to their presence.

    • Well, to be fair, I would imagine most of us have never bought anything from EAA so we wouldn’t have any bitching to do.

  26. the comparison to beer adds is the most significant. we risk allowing guns to be lumped in with “vice”, and therefore optional, products. we need to be going more for an insurance ad vibe. because, you know, it is.

  27. I fail to see how sexy girls in ads are sexist. They are designed to get mens’ attention. Their eyes come for the hot chick, stay for the product. If these types of ads are so degrading to women, all they have to do is stop posing for them.

    If it makes anyone feel better, there is plenty of blatant sexism against men in the media too. YouTube search for “sprox shoes sexist commercial”for good example.

  28. Using sex to sell is not sexist. I’ve seen pictures of men used to sell to women as well as the revese.

    “Don’t get a gun, babe; get a man who knows how to use one.” is sexist.

    Can we please move on now?

  29. Considering the source (thinkprogress.org) I wouldn’t have expected anything else from a bunch of wimps.

  30. To be fair, that is one ugly firearm. John Browning’s M1911 is classic, Smith and Wesson made some amazing revolvers, even Gaston Glock’s creations have a functional beauty all their own. Life is too short for ugly firearms.

  31. Have us American men lost our balls?

    Perish the thought! Shall we consider female names and art on the side of WWII aircraft “gender insensitive” next? Humbug!

  32. Many thoughts here, but… First, sex sells…if you can’t deal with that in this day and age there isn’t much that can be done for you. If your uptight or can’t stand to see attractive women, then don’t look. I don’t much understand the explotation arguement when these women are volunteering to be paid to pose for these types of things…noone is forcing them or taking advantage of them. That being said, the stereotype cliche ads like these do get a little old sometimes…but it’s nothing to blow a gasket or go on a crusade about. Long story short…MEH…

  33. Don’t know if any other ladies have chimed in, but I’ll give my 2 cents. 🙂
    #1) Ridiculous. The first half is geared towards guys, and while kinda cute…She IS thin, and I don’t care if my gun has curves? I like cold hard steel. The second half? LOL, thats a bit much. It assumes girls need to shoot guns just to keep guys attention. While some girls are motivated towards many activities just to “impress guys”, I know there’s quite a few, including myself, that just plain enjoy it with or without anyone else. Its funny how even ads/colors aimed at females are a bit patronizing still….but I have hope 🙂

    2) Hilarious

    3) eh, yet another image connecting fear to guns…

    4) Oh yes, pregnant women and ranges mix so well. All that lead is so enriching to the babies brain development….

    5) Is she holding that gun with her cleavage?! Impressive…….

    6) Oh no…..Apparently I have my “Man Card”….I need to rethink. Everything.

    7) Guns build character? Well, marksmanship builds character. The whole warrior with a bow image usually conjures men, so its easily linked to masculinity…but don’t forget “amazons”-women warriors across history and the world. Spartans, Scythians, Asian steppes, etc. Dudes aren’t the only ones who get to have fun!

    When selling guns, it’s easy to think “men”. And advertisers just want to play to the biggest sales pool. (show me the money!) So with most advertising these days, I’m not really offended, more *eye rolls* than anything else. Though some of the patronization (pink guns-i’m-just-here-to-impress-my-BF) is a little much. Throughout my whole life, I’ve never liked being lumped in with posers.
    …And Like my cars, I’ve considered all my guns male….But thats just me

    • I can’t figure out if you’re critiquing the ads or if you’re critiquing the thinkprogress org’s critiques?

      But yes, #2 did make me laugh out loud. ;-D

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