“Angry Feminist wh …”
(Interrupting): THAT’S NOT FUNNY!”
The reason why that knock-knock joke is amusing (at least, in the way of knock-knock jokes) is that it plays on the cultural trope that women who care about their rights lack a sense of humor. Although we here at NRA Women beg to differ about that sense of humor thing, we care very much about the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. There’s a running “joke” that we’re seeing far too much of on social media—videos of inexperienced female shooters being overwhelmed by a gun they don’t know how to shoot. It’s not funny. Here’s why.
If you haven’t seen this “joke” out in the wild, count yourself lucky. We won’t link to any examples here, but you can find them very easily if you want to. You don’t really need to, though, because they’re basically all the same. A man—usually a husband or boyfriend—hands an inexperienced woman a firearm that is either much too big or much too small for a newbie to comfortably shoot. He gives her no instruction other than “point it there and pull the trigger,” then films the result and posts it to YouTube for likes.
Sometimes it’s a shotgun or a rifle chambered in something sharp. Sometimes it’s a tiny wheelgun chambered in a thunderous caliber. But it’s always clearly uncomfortable for the woman; sometimes she gets literally knocked off her feet.
Why That’s Not Funny
We’re not relationship experts here at NRA Women, so we won’t speculate on why the male member of a couple would enjoy doing something like that. Nor are we mind-readers; it’s entirely possible that some of those videos are staged and that the women are role-playing on camera. Our point is that even if they are staged, mean videos of women hurting themselves shooting are damaging to the future of the Second Amendment.
The worst thing about these nasty videos of women trying to shoot guns they have no training for is that they essentially force the woman to break all Three Rules of Gun Safety. She almost never has eye and ear protection on. She’s usually dressed in something more appropriate to a nightclub than a shooting range (and you usually get the sense that the wardrobe choice wasn’t her idea).
When the recoil and report shocks the new shooter, she frequently loses control of the gun … and that means that she had no control over where that round went. Watching that happen after the fact is excruciating for an experienced shooter. Knowing that others are watching these terrible examples, and deciding to make one just like them for their own channel, is intolerable.
They Deter Women from Trying
We already know that one of the greatest barriers to women learning to shoot is cultural. Although things have changed a lot since the 1960s, there is still a cultural message that women don’t enjoy shooting. If you’re here and reading, you know that’s not even close to true … but these mean-spirited videos do a bang-up job of reinforcing that outdated and false message. The subtext is, “If you try shooting, you’re going to get all bruised up just like this poor li’l lady, and won’t you be sad then?”
That’s a huge problem if you care about the future of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The best way to prove to someone that everything they think they know about guns is wrong is to take them out shooting. A semi-automatic is a semi-automatic no matter what it looks like, but that message won’t resonate well unless you’ve tried it yourself. These videos do their best to make sure that you don’t.
They Make Shooters Look Like Jerks
We saved this one for last because it’s the least critical from the perspective of gun safety. However, our public image as Second Amendment supporters is important. Videos that depict women who have never held a gun before being shocked and hurt by recoil they weren’t taught to manage make the videographer look like a jerk. They make everyone who clicked “like” on that video look like jerks. They make all of us look like jerks, because we get painted with that same broad brush. As 2A activists, safety comes first … but a bad reputation matters, too.
The content of these videos is clearly protected by the First Amendment, but that doesn’t mean you have to give them any of your time. Don’t share them, don’t click “like” on them, and if you start seeing a video channel you enjoy doing things like this, unfollow them. Don’t let that fire get any new oxygen … and eventually it will go out. You won’t be missing much, trust us.
Because those videos aren’t funny.