May 07, 2004

Girls with guns

Posted by shonk at 02:38 AM in Uncategorized Current Events | TrackBack

Girls with Guns Target Breast Cancer

No, that’s not the No Treason daily pic (though it would make a good one, if someone could find a larger version). Instead, some female police officers from Guelph, Ontario decided to dress up and pose with some of their favorite weaponry in a poster titled “Girls with Guns Target Breast Cancer” in order to raise the $2000 entry fee for the Princess Margaret Hospital’s Weekend to End Breast Cancer walk in Toronto this fall. Some tight-asses were not amused:

“There they are sporting guns as if it’s a fun thing to do,” said Dawn Reynolds, a family therapist in Guelph who is offended by the poster.

“Guns are what kill women. They are not a good thing. I regret hugely that this was done, especially for such a worthy cause as breast cancer.”

First of all, they’re not “sporting guns as if it’s a fun thing to do”. They’re sporting guns as if it’s something that will sell a lot of posters, the proceeds of which are intended to help fight breast cancer. Second, I hate to parrot the NRA, but guns don’t kill people (no, not even women). If you want to get super-pedantic about it, bullets kill people. If you want to look at the broader scope of things, both guns and bullets are tools used by people, occasionally to kill other people. We don’t put weaponry on trial for first-degree murder, we put people on trial. Why? Because it takes a person, a human being, to commit a murder (now, I admit, in the case of accidents, it can be true that a gun kills someone, but, then again, so do bandsaws and cars, yet nobody would have complained too vigorously if these women had posed with a Ferrari). And, remarkably enough, a lack of guns does not prevent people from killing people. Knives, baseball bats, poisons and various other implements can also be useful in this regard.

My point is this: yes, people use guns to kill people; yes, that’s a tragedy; yes, it would be nice if they didn’t. But the irrational fear of guns displayed by so many people is really disconcerting. If you go into shrieking hysterics at the mere depiction of a fancy piece of twisted metal in a poster, you’ve got problems.

Okay, back to the article. Sue Richards, Guelph entrepreneur and creator of the Breast of Canada calendar:

“It’s a very unusual image. It’s not obvious these are police officers for starters, and they are not showing breasts — they’re showing guns,” she said.

“I do see a sexual tone to it. To me it is provocative. Personally, I would have preferred to see them in police uniforms. Then the guns are in context.”

Personally, I would probably be more alarmed by a depiction of cops with guns drawn than I am by the poster as it actually is (which wouldn’t, I admit, take much, since I’m not at all alarmed by the poster). But then, I have been accused of having some unusual political opinions. Nonetheless, a cop with a gun drawn is usually a sign that bad things are happening (whether those bad things are being done by the cop or by someone else depends, of course, on the context).

As for the “[t]o me it is provocative” comment: no shit! Of course it’s provocative. Provocative sells. And that is, of course, the point. To sell the posters. And what “context”, exactly, does a police uniform give? That Big Brother and the JBTs will get your ass if you step out of line? Apparently, a strong, independent woman isn’t strong and independent enough to handle the responsibility of owning and handling a firearm unless she’s on the force, thereby demonstrating that she’s not too intelligent or strong-minded (in this context, let’s not forget the DEA agent who managed to shoot himself in the leg while giving a gun safety talk to a bunch of kids; also, see John Venlet’s post).

And, finally, I should point out that Richards’ calendar doesn’t seem to mind sexualizing weaponry, so I find it a little hypocritical of her to criticize these women for doing the same.

Returning to the article (I’m almost done, I swear), we have Sly Castaldi, acting executive director of Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, who, after making a predictably disparaging remark about the use of the word “girls”, adds the following:

“Twenty years ago we were the only agency speaking out about domestic violence and women’s rights. Now people are making those connections on their own.

“It’s good when the community can do critical thinking on issues like this.”

Say what?!? Where does domestic violence come into this picture?

First, let me just point out how irresponsible it is of the reporter to add this quote to the article. Castaldi is obviously pushing her own agenda, as a crisis center director, rather than addressing the issue purportedly being discussed in the article. I can see no good reason for giving her the soapbox other than to underhandedly insinuate that guns = domestic violence.

Now, as for the domestic violence quip itself. My only response is this: the only relevance that guns have to domestic violence (at least as characterized by men beating the crap out of women) is as a deterrent. If more women had guns and knew how to use them, we might see a goodly drop in the rate of domestic violence. After all, it’s one thing to slap the old lady around a bit or work her over with a baseball bat, but I think even the most reckless woman-beater might think twice about beating up a woman pointing a .45 at him. And hey, if he wants to give it a shot anyway, BANG, one less woman-beater in this world. Good riddance, I say.

Now, I don’t mean to suggest that this is the solution to domestic violence and other related issues. That whole realm of (sub-)human behavior is way too complicated and fucked-up for me to deal with. All I’m saying is, instead of cowering in fear at the mere suggestion of some non-officially-recognized someone holding one of those fancy twisted pieces of metal, why not say “hey, maybe that’s a tool that might come in handy in certain situations”? Because that’s all a gun is. A tool. And, like any other tool, it can be used both for good and for ill.


It's nice, I'd use a bigger verison.

And I'd like to clarify that sexualizing weaponry does nothing for me - I'm for arming hot chicks.

How about a Girls Gone Wild With Guns video?

Posted by: John T. Kennedy at May 7, 2004 03:38 AM

Once again, Bill Hicks proves spectacularly right (though technically he was talking about Americans, not Canadians--I wonder if guns give Frenchmen stiffies?).

Posted by: Curt at May 7, 2004 11:07 AM

"Guns are what kill women."

Riiiight. I bet about 3x as many men are killed using a gun.

Most men could kill most women without resorting to one--assuming she is disarmed.

Posted by: Andy Stedman at May 7, 2004 12:10 PM

How cute. Maybe next time these copchicks can pose with their favorite Tasers, pepper sprays, clubs, handcuffs, and attack dogs.

Posted by: John Lopez at May 7, 2004 07:22 PM

Thanks for ruining the poster for me Lopez, I didn't know they were cops because the link failed when I first tried it.

Shonk, I saw one of these posters at the mall and burst out laughing. You have to scroll down to see what I saw.

Alert the femcops.

Posted by: John T. Kennedy at May 9, 2004 05:33 PM

These female Guelph Police Officers took on a big role in presenting themselves for this poster to raise money for Breast Cancer.

Most of us in Guelph and damned proud of the gals and suport them 100%.

They say a need and took action. I wish the nay sayers would shut their yaps and do something positive for once in their lives.

Posted by: Mike at June 13, 2004 09:37 PM

Hi, I noticed you were talking about Breast Cancer on this site. If you'd like to submit your page to SH Directory, please do ;-) (

Posted by: Breast Cancer Dir at September 13, 2004 06:43 AM