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Expressive Range: On the gendered meanings of recreational shooting

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Abstract:

While much attention has been paid to firearms as instruments used to prevent and inflict violence, little has been written on firearms as expressive symbols of political and gendered identities. Using ethnographic observation of “Ladies Nights” at three shooting ranges in Northern California, I consider how women reproduce and reconfigure gendered practices and beliefs through recreational shooting. With a burgeoning population of women gun owners, firearms training facilities are marketing to a new niche through “Ladies Nights” and women’s classes. This explicit inclusion of women is evidence against the stereotype that shooting ranges are exclusively masculine domains, but by marking women as a group apart, these marketing ploys reinforce the notion that shooting is not gender-neutral. How is the mechanical practice of firing a gun transformed into a gendered practice rife with distinctions premised on bodily differences, but that demonstrate cultural beliefs about how women and men ought to behave? When women enter the range, they are met with gendered safety instructions, equipment, and expectations, ranging from “ladies’ pistols” to the assumption that women will fire smaller caliber bullets than men. Women consequently learn to shoot recreationally as women, rather than through a simple process of incorporation into a masculine practice. Women’s participation at shooting ranges highlights the flexibility of gender as an institution, as a conventionally masculine practice is transformed to allow for the performance of gender difference, and thereby sheds light on the persistence of gender hierarchies amidst ever-changing political, economic, and cultural climates.
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Association:
Name: Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.pacificsoc.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p702221_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Magliozzi, Devon. "Expressive Range: On the gendered meanings of recreational shooting" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Marriott Downtown Waterfront, Portland, Oregon, Mar 27, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p702221_index.html>

APA Citation:

Magliozzi, D. , 2014-03-27 "Expressive Range: On the gendered meanings of recreational shooting" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Marriott Downtown Waterfront, Portland, Oregon <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p702221_index.html

Publication Type: Research-in-progress presentation
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: While much attention has been paid to firearms as instruments used to prevent and inflict violence, little has been written on firearms as expressive symbols of political and gendered identities. Using ethnographic observation of “Ladies Nights” at three shooting ranges in Northern California, I consider how women reproduce and reconfigure gendered practices and beliefs through recreational shooting. With a burgeoning population of women gun owners, firearms training facilities are marketing to a new niche through “Ladies Nights” and women’s classes. This explicit inclusion of women is evidence against the stereotype that shooting ranges are exclusively masculine domains, but by marking women as a group apart, these marketing ploys reinforce the notion that shooting is not gender-neutral. How is the mechanical practice of firing a gun transformed into a gendered practice rife with distinctions premised on bodily differences, but that demonstrate cultural beliefs about how women and men ought to behave? When women enter the range, they are met with gendered safety instructions, equipment, and expectations, ranging from “ladies’ pistols” to the assumption that women will fire smaller caliber bullets than men. Women consequently learn to shoot recreationally as women, rather than through a simple process of incorporation into a masculine practice. Women’s participation at shooting ranges highlights the flexibility of gender as an institution, as a conventionally masculine practice is transformed to allow for the performance of gender difference, and thereby sheds light on the persistence of gender hierarchies amidst ever-changing political, economic, and cultural climates.


Similar Titles:
Exploring Affective Responses to Atypical Gender Expression

The Changing Meaning of Being a Man or Women: The Social Definition of Gender

The Effects of Cultural Gender Messages on Identity Meanings

Genderqueer: A qualitative study of gender fluidity and gender expression

The Difference between Savagery and Civilization: Recreation Programs and the Construction of Wartime Gender Roles


 
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