Living in Society Social Commentary

It’s Not The Women, It’s The Men

Woman Writing Letter

Some of my friends and acquaintances are women who carry handguns.

I’m not worried about getting shot by my lunch partner. I also don’t feel more secure knowing she has a handgun in her purse. It used to be a bit jarring to see weapons unexpectedly in everyday places. Not any more. I’m confident in studies that show women are not the main problem with gun violence, it’s the men.

A common social behavior among men particularly, but with women also, is to assert their gun ownership into a conversation as a way of launching a comfortable jeremiad about why they own them, the positive features of gun ownership, and as a way of testing the waters in social relationships to identify where people stand. This is at the heart of what elected Trump, Ernst and others. Gun ownership and discussions about it are a way to sort people in society into “us” and “them” categories. It has consequences in the electorate, so it is important to discuss and understand.

In an Oct. 10 article in USA Today, Alia E. Dastagir wrote,

Data shows gun violence is disproportionately a male problem. Of the 91 mass shootings in which four or more victims died since 1982, only three were committed by women, according to a database from the liberal-leaning news outlet Mother Jones. Men also accounted for 86% of gun deaths in the United States, according to an analysis by the non-partisan non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.

Men are more likely to own a gun — three times more, according to a 2017 survey from the Pew Research Center. This, despite marketing from gun manufacturers and groups such as the National Rifle Association to lure women.

Fast forward to Dastagir’s conclusion that to understand gun violence we must examine the cultural forces that equate being a man with violence.

Read her information-packed article here.

~ First published at Blog for Iowa on Oct. 18, 2017