What Do Women Want – with Firearms?

NRA’s Women on Target Program
NRA’s Women on Target Program
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- “Was will das Weib?”  That’s how Sigmund Freud put the question “What does woman want?”  There may still be other wants mysterious to man, but the answer is growing clearer, year by year within the world of firearms, shooting sports and self-defense.

Women want what everyone needs: safety and security, love and fellowship, and self-realization. 

(See What ‘Right to Feel Safe’?)  Historically, their identities have emphasized social and relational roles above self-realization, with the presumption that their safety and security came under the protection of men (and usually from other men).

Especially during the past 100 years, we’ve seen the emancipation of women from these limited expectations.  Feminism, in its best sense, has liberated women from their position as sheltered homemakers to be able to participate in any aspect of the world they choose.

How sad then that women can care about their own and their families’ safety but feel uncomfortable taking on the role of defenders themselves.

But that is changing, just as it has for Americans in general during the last quarter century, as the movement toward individual gun ownership and carrying has ballooned.

Even more deplorable, women-focused media can be the most discouraging about women becoming armed and dangerous instead of remaining defenseless against bigger, stronger, more violent, typically male attackers.  Equality for the modern progressive female is not supposed to include availing herself of The Great Equalizer.

Recent examples come from, of all places, magazines that proclaim their mission of helping women to be glamorous, independent, and relationship savvy.  They aren’t known for firearms knowledge.  These anti-gun articles all appeared around February—interesting, especially since they were all done in conjunction with some of the best-known anti-gun shops in the nation.


Cosmopolitan led off by ‘reporting’ the dangers of dating men with guns, implying that this is something like wearing a T-shirt saying “Shoot me, please!”  The worst examples, apparently, are the ‘Gunsplainers’, a male sub-species noted for adolescent, repetitive bragging about their guns and even (horrors!) people’s right to them.

‘Gunsplainers’ is a ‘word’ happily used by Everytown for Gun Safety in a new campaign at SingledOut.org, where the fear of being shot by a boyfriend is the motivating principle.   Out-of-context (yet not irrational) quotes from NRA members are the devil’s litany.  The chief spokesmodel appears to have a nasal deformity, or maybe she’s just smelling the saltpeter.

Glamour weighs in on Guns often, with a couple of articles in December about how most mass shooters kill family members and proposing that laws which impede abortion on demand should apply to gun purchases.  Obviously, it’s wrong that “any non-felon can walk in off the street and buy a shotgun in minutes” as an exercise of a designated constitutional right, when medical procedures that determine the welfare of two symbiotic beings can’t be accessed via drive-in.

In its February item Glamour puts down as “completely ridiculous” the Iowa bill that “would allow children ages 14 and younger to handle a ‘pistol, rifle, or ammunition’ with parental supervision.” It’s ridiculous that such a bill should be needed.  Glamour can’t understand how “it remedies a serious affront to parents’ rights”, the right to decide how to raise our own children, including learning about shooting.  Or maybe it doesn’t grasp what parenting means.

Marie Claire magazine published a much more comprehensive set of articles about “Women and Guns”, along with a “Survey on Women and Guns in America” done with the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.  The survey at least is presented without editorial comment.

Marie Claire Magazine Women And Guns
Marie Claire Magazine Women And Guns

So in case you missed any of this, Moms Demand Action wants everyone to know that a Trifecta of Major Women’s Mags Feature Gun Violence.  Now that True Detective magazine is out of print, there is an obvious gap to fill in the literature covering ‘lurid fears of passive, helpless women’.

Where do we turn for some fresh air uncontaminated by sexist and hoplophobic prejudice?

  • To people who know something about guns and respect women’s capacity to be capable and self-reliant.
  • To discussion of how women can choose for themselves whether to remain dependent on diminishing societal disapproval of gun ownership or to investigate its benefits for themselves.
  • To discovering what it means to be as or even more powerful than an aggressor for the sake of herself and her loved ones.
Julie Golob
Julie Golob

Let’s hear from Julie Golob, “wife, mother and daughter”, one of the most accomplished Olympic and world champions in any sports ever.  She points out the one-sided sources from the anti-gun world of Marie Claire’s articles, and how real data indicates the ever-growing popularity of the NRA and of guns and shooting sports among women.  (Golob gave an interview for the series, none of which was used.)

She also nails the problem in Marie Claire’s concluding piece, The Decision.  The author, Roxane Gay, had “survived a violent assault” and tenses up when she sees a gun: “holding my breath. I don’t feel safe.” She decides she cannot accept “the responsibility of being willing to take another human life.”  That’s admirable, but Golob’s larger perspective is that the decision should be about being able to save “your life and those you care about.”

Contrast Gay’s story with Rachel Lu’s I Lived a Completely Gun-Free Life—Until Now.  Lu accurately sees the difference between “Gun America and No-Gun America” as “a matter of personal psychology.”  If you see that, then you too may be “probably just the sort of people who should own a gun.”

In his response, Marshall Lewin recalls Helen Gurley Brown’s admonition that Cosmopolitan was “in the forefront of the Women’s Liberation Movement.”  No longer.  Now it’s “faux feminism”, “condescending down-talking”, and “the usual nonsensical hash of anti-gun platitudes and propaganda passed off as ‘common sense’.”  Meanwhile, Robert Farago details how Cosmo’s “‘myths’ vs. ‘facts’ section” is more ‘myths vs. bigger myths’.  He provides the facts.

Even Bloomberg News can’t avoid reporting the growing American Embrace of Guns, especially among women, including among supposedly anti-gun people like gays, Jews, former lock-step liberal Democrats and, startlingly, a Buddhist.  A female shooting instructor puts it in black and white:  “Not all men are predators. . .but all women are prey. . .Good men don’t hunt women, but bad men do.”  As for the Buddhist, “you try to hurt me and you’re done.”

There are still too many snide, insulting, non-humorous jokes about how ladies always budget fashion over firearms.  But even one of these writers knows that about 20% of attendees at NRA conventions are now women and that female membership and gun sales to women keep growing.

CNN accurately reports that “more and more women are buying, learning about or getting their license to carry handguns.”  Not coincidentally, about “1 in 5 people licensed to carry are women.”  They’re better shots than men because “they have better hand-eye coordination” and “they follow instructions [and] do it consistently.”  They are also good shots because they are “females who aren’t afraid to fire.”

Robert B. Young, MD
Robert B. Young, MD

That CNN piece, Women with Guns Soon to Be Mainstream, is off in just one particular.  Women with guns are already mainstream!



— Robert B. Young, MD is a psychiatrist practicing in Pittsford, NY, an associate clinical professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation. www.drgo.us

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You really shouldn’t be surprised by the Buddhist. No less a Buddhist personage than the Dalai Lama, has stated that he thought it perfectly reasonable and appropriate for him to use a gun to defend himself if someone tried to kill him. And let’s not forget that it was Buddhist temples and monasteries that gave us most of the Asian martial arts in use today. Remember the Shaolin Monastery of Kung Fu fame? The only thing the Buddhists are opposed to on moral grounds is the initial use of force to coerce or injure others. I remember a couple of… Read more »


Hmmm, perhaps the same things men want?
Better skill, more security, the possibility of being a hero, and ready just in case it is needed?

The drive to protect one’s family is not solely a man thing, in fact that drive is perhaps even greater in the mother of the species?
Personally I find a woman who is good with a gun and not afraid to carry more attractive. Especially when it comes to the survival of the family.


A lot of those women shoot as good or better than the men I see at the range. Nice going Ladies!