Oregon State University Study Explores the Evolution of Women’s Representation in Gun Advertisements

In recent years, women’s rate of gun ownership in the United States has been on the rise. A new study from Oregon State University has examined how gun manufacturer’s marketing strategies may have contributed to American women’s increased rate of gun ownership.

To conduct their study, the research team examined content from the Guns & Ammo magazine from 2001 to 2020. Throughout the period of 20 years, how women were framed in firearm advertisements consistently evolved. In the early 2000s, women were typically not featured in gun advertisements. In the late 2000s to mid 2010s, women started to appear in gun marketing campaigns, but were mainly featured in “sexy” ads that were geared towards men.

By 2016, gun advertisements started to depict women using firearms for serious reasons such as protecting themselves or others. When focusing on advertisements from 2016 to 2020, the research team identified four types of framing around armed American women: the serious student, the capable carrier, the domestic defender, and the action hero. The researchers believe this reframing of how women use guns may attract a new type of consumer that gun manufacturers have not previously appealed to, resulting in a reshaping of what people consider a typical American gun owner.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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