Who Needs a Man When You Got a Gun?
Women and their Firearms in Midwestern America
What does gun ownership mean to armed women in a city in the Midwestern United States? Gun culture is an aspect of American life which has been neglected in anthropological literature. I examine how armed women I met and shot with told me how carrying guns ‘empowers’ them. Firearms allow them to break culturally produced stereotypes concerning their capacity for violence, allowing self-defence and facilitating empowerment. However, I argue that female gun ownership simultaneously reproduces heteronormativity as is relies on the assumption that women are inherently vulnerable, needing protection. Guns, a symbolically masculine object, are ‘the equaliser’ for women.