Monday, February 22, 2010

Gun marketing

Have you noticed how guns have changed? I don't mean changes in the technology of guns, but in the image of guns. If you think about it, you will notice how the images of guns and their users have recently shifted in really quite dramatic ways. Always interested in good stories, sociologists are pondering the shifts in gun images in systematic ways. Check out this article about changes in gun advertising over the last century:

Then click on this article about guns marketed to women:

Follow this link to see advertising to even more narrow markets including children, African Americans, and gays and lesbians:

Finally, consider the photo accompanying this post. Notice how the rhetoric of the reproductive rights movement has been co-opted by the gun rights movement? Look up co-opted here if you don't know the meaning of the word.

As you examine these ads, some of them vintage, but most of them contemporary, consider the sociological implications. For example, how would critical power conflict theorists analyze the ad claiming that the original gun control laws were designed to protect members of the KKK from black people? What would symbolic interactionists say about the ads for pink assault rifles marketed for girls? Structural functionalists might muse that society was on the verge of spinning out of control if despised groups became armed while social institutions like religion and the economy had not yet adjusted.

Take a look at the suggested sites and do some sociological brainstorming on your own. You might want to do some of your own image sleuthing, e.g. Google "women AND guns" and you will find sites like this one:

I'm looking forward to discussing the issue of shifting gun marketing practices in class with you all.

photo above obtained from

No comments:

Post a Comment