Condescension: To Talk Down To

April 20, 2011 - 2:20 pm
Irradiated by LabRat
Comments Off on Condescension: To Talk Down To

Today, boys and girls, we have an editorialist who is going to tell us what the NRA should do with women because he knows What Women Think! HOORAY!

I’m not trying to trigger trepidation among firearm enthusiasts.

Condescending alliteration: your story hook among smug journalists since Hearst.

But it seems that many preconceived notions must be overcome before the National Rifle Association attracts more women to its annual convention.

Only quoted because the rest of the article is a pretty damn comprehensive demonstration of the preconceived notions involved- the author’s.

Right now, it’s about as popular among women as fly fishing competitions, cigar tasting events and public executions.

I have never attended a public execution because there aren’t any anymore, but I’ve been to enough cigar tasting events to have a few wardrobe components from won raffles, and while the gender ratio does skew a bit male, it’s not all that big a skew. As for fly fishing, I have no personal experience, but women aren’t rare there either. There are about as many or more of them than there are lady gamers, at least in terms easily amenable to statistics.

Next section somewhat abridged due to taking a space-filling amount of words to say “NRA says lady membership up but 80% of the convention attendees were somehow men at the last con HOW CAN THIS BE?”

More than 75,000 Second Amendment celebrants are expected to descend on Pittsburgh next week for the NRA’s signature event. If traditional demographics hold true, the vast majority of attendees will be men….

Last month, NRA officials credited Sarah Palin, the TV talking head and caribou-killing former Alaska governor, with helping the group add tens of thousands of women members over the past few years.

If those numbers are accurate, why are the people who will fill every Holiday Inn Express between here and Erie next week most likely to be male?

The short answer is a)Historical trends that have begun reversing don’t pull a 180 overnight, and b)Unless the convention is for knitting or a dog show, there are usually more men than women at almost any con. For whatever cultural reasons, there’s just more of a tradition for men enthused about a subject to get together in mass numbers about it once a year- that, and they’re less likely to need to arrange for a babysitter, or to fear getting harassed by other attendees, which is a perennial problem at geek-oriented cons.

An NRA spokesperson failed to respond to messages on Tuesday. So I asked Bruce Piendl, the general manager of Anthony Arms & Accessories in West Mifflin, about the NRA convention’s gender gap.

“That’s not surprising,” he said. “Firearm ownership has always been associated more with men than women, and the NRA has a reputation of being a traditional good-old-boys network.”

Which, it has been, though that is changing more and more in recent years.

The NRA seems to be attempting to alter that image. Its offerings at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center will include a ladies-only seminar teaching them how to become pistol instructors.

Strikes me as sensible. Women usually like to learn from other women when they’re stepping into a traditional boys’ club as big as shooting has historically been.

Now would be the point where author fail starts to creep in.

To most women, such a seminar probably wouldn’t have the same appeal as, say, a holistic facial at the day spa. But providing people with relaxed, radiant faces isn’t part of the NRA’s mission.

You know, I really wanted to provide a bit of specific, on-target snark here, but all I can really muster is this:

FUCK YOU in the ear, Eric Heyl. If you want to write articles proclaiming to be concerned about gender representation rather than just tweaking some group you think are paleolithic yahoos, try not being such a condescending fuck-knuckle.

It’s just a theory. But I think that before more women start attending the NRA convention, more of them will have to be armed.

Will that happen? Though gun sales to females increased significantly in recent years, Piendl said, “Sales to women remain the largest untapped growth market in the industry.”

It’s rather muddled but the point he appears to be trying to make is “trends that don’t instantly reverse historical gaps don’t count”.

The industry is unlikely to successfully tap that market until it conquers the pesky preconceived notions that likely turn off many females to the idea of gun ownership.

This is where the article gets really fucking bizarre, because the rest of it is just… Heyl spooling off a list of his own insulting stereotypes. It’s like he set out to demonstrate the racism of the NRA by making all the fried chicken and Jerry Curl jokes he could think of. The Enner’ay’s never gonna attract them brothas unless they start putting sideways sights on Glocks! Hyuk!

This is also, by the way, bearing out my overall impression that when someone uses the word “females” when they mean “women”, the odds of something unbelievably misogynist or sexist coming out of their mouths at some point go up about twenty percent.


Women likely won’t consider packing pistols if they are concerned that:

— Spending several hundred dollars on a serviceable handgun might leave them without enough money to get the full treatment at that next visit to the day spa.

Lawls, you know chicks, they don’t know how to handle money and NOTHING is more important than a nice glow on their skin.

— Carrying a gun in a small purse would leave less room for more important items, such as lipstick or compact.


— The baggy clothing required to successfully conceal most holsters would make them appear frumpy.

At this point all I’m picturing is that “Cathy” chick from the very unfunny newspaper comic in full “WAAAAAH” mode. The depressing part is I’m pretty sure that a)so is he, and b)he thinks it’s a documentary.

— Gunpowder residue might stain the new Karen Scott blouse they just bought at Macy’s.

Is it just me, or is he getting really oddly specific in his insulting stereotypes? Does he have an ex in mind here?

— The gunpowder smell when the weapon is fired could totally overwhelm the Chanel they’re wearing.

Or he’s putting an imaginary gun in the hands of an imaginary woman he hates/wants to fuck. Which is creepier? Vote in the comments.

— Most firearm accessories come only in one boring color: black.

This guy has clearly, clearly never gotten his hands on an actual firearms accessory catalogue, or seen a con booth for such.

— Target practice earplugs simply aren’t sexy.

Because that’s a woman’s sole reason for existence: to be sexy at all times.

Dumb old NRA, trying to draw in female membership by treating them like people and addressing specific concerns women might have both about guns and gun culture and concerns that might drive them to want to know how to handle a gun, or by setting up events to stimulate competition and fun. They just don’t get it, do they?

I really have no idea why the paper saw fit to publish this. It’s not about the NRA or guns, it’s a misogynist rant with a framing excuse.

Hat tip to Breda, who wasn’t where I found this but was sharing a brainwave.

No Responses to “Condescension: To Talk Down To”

  1. Sean D Sorrentino Says:

    Wow. I would be afraid to express opinions like that around any women that I know. I’m pretty sure that I’d get my ass kicked and be forced to wear a frilly apron and make them breakfast as punishment for my sexist views.

    Maybe that’s his angle. Perhaps he secretly wants to be Breda’s bitch.

  2. alan Says:

    It sounded like he had someone specific in mind.

    And I’m stealing “fuck-knuckle” and using the hell out of it.

  3. Holly Says:

    A) I have a PINK gun, thank you very much.

    B) The trend in purses these days is enormohugemungous, so assuming I followed purse trends (I really, really don’t) there’d be plenty of room.

    C) With Groupons you can get spa services for like $25, which compared to a good gun really isn’t a dent.

    D) Never mind all that crap, the real way to get more women into guns is to make ranges more welcoming and change the tone of gun discourse from “grrr tough manly men, dirt-smeared warriors are we” to “we’re people who are perfecting a skill, and who have something to protect.” Both of which are in fact happening already.

  4. perlhaqr Says:

    But providing people with relaxed, radiant faces isn’t part of the NRA’s mission.

    I know this is totally tangential, but fuck that noise. Nothing provides me with a relaxed, radiant face like going to the range. (I’d say sex too, except, I’m not sure that’s really “radiant” as much as “sweaty and exhausted”. Anyway.)

    All that stuff he said about women in shooting is crap, too, but you already covered that pretty well. :)

  5. Samantha Says:

    Granted, I had to ask my husband to read this to me because I was busy trying to emulate a Cosmo cover…but…

    Oh please sweet baby Jesus, grant me the chance to punch this blathering assbag in the balls.

    Pittsburgh Trib media is kind enough to provide his number and email address for those interested. If I can type without chipping my nails, I’m writing!

  6. Old NFO Says:

    Newspaper reporter…. nuff said…

  7. Dan Says:

    Wow, articles like that are why I’m glad the internet invented the phrase “hurp derp.”

  8. Sarah Says:

    How did I get out of the kitchen and – OH DEAR GOD I’M WEARING SHOES. It burns just like that one time I accidentally touched a college’s course catalog!

  9. Joe in PNG Says:

    This is what happens when people without a sense of humor try to be funny. It’s likely he got the idea while drinking his ironic PBR and watching the Colbert Report. He’s going for that edgy post-modernistic irony thing that’s so hip with the kids these days, but just doesn’t have the chops to pull it off.

  10. bluntobject Says:

    Brilliantly eviscerated, ma’am. (I’m with Joe, here: he’s trying to be hip and ironic, and merely faceplanting.)

    On a purely literary note: “fuck-knuckle” doth trip lightly off the tongue, but the two ‘k’s separated by a hyphen look a bit odd in text. Perhaps “fuckpocket”, “fuckpuddle”, or “fuckmeat” would better suit the medium.

  11. pun the librarian Says:

    I wonder how well that editorial would have been received if Heyl had written equally sexist piece about women and cars.

  12. wrm Says:

    Parts of that editorial reads like satire except it’s not funny.

    Cathy however is funny, IMO. Well, it’s not XKCD but hey.

    Fuck-knucle indeed.

  13. Dragon Says:

    Aw hell….I missed reading your blog ONE DAY, and come to the party so late that there’s only peanuts, coagulated onion dip, and crumbs of Ruffles left in the bottom of a greasy bowl.

    And piss-warm beer.

    But this was a fantastic way to start a Thursday! Funniest damn thing I’ve read in months! Perfect skewering of a complete douchenozzle.

  14. SayUncle » Speaking of chicks* and guns Says:

    […] of the girly gun bloggers take him to task for being a sexist asshat. This must be a shock to him since you […]

  15. Weer'd Beard Says:

    Great post.

    I’d actually forgot about the comic strip “Cathy” I guess it just recently ended, tho all the papers I ever got had dumped it decades ago. Had a few girlfriends who enjoyed that strip, should have used it as a litmus for pyschos. Nothing like a “feminist” comic that shows that women can be strong and independent…but nobody will like you if you’re not a size 2 and wear designer shoes….creepy!

    Lastly to vote: I say women he wants to hate-fuck.

    Obviously he hates women showing such unveiled contempt, but also if he thinks women need to always be primp and pretty at all times, and he’s arrogant enough to feel no need to mask his hatred of females, I don’t think its much of a stretch to say he thinks they’re primp and pretty for him…

  16. Jess Says:

    I’m thinking it’s penis envy. I doubt he has one, or it’s kept in a jar by his significant other.

  17. Tam Says:


    How did I get out of the kitchen and – OH DEAR GOD I’M WEARING SHOES. It burns just like that one time I accidentally touched a college’s course catalog!

    I made it through LabRat’s post, thought it was safe to pick up my Diet Dew again when I hit the comments, and you made me splort it out my nose. Good job! 😀

  18. Eric Hammer Says:

    Wow… Pittsburgh review you say? I wonder if they had an editor even read over this, or just hit copy-paste straight from the emailed submission.

    And everyone is mystified about how the noble newspaper industry could be collapsing!

  19. Borepatch Says:

    Weird. The Trib is the “Conservative” Pittsburgh paper. You’d think that the editor would work harder to keep the writers from alienating the readers.

    I’d expect a “bitter-clinger” piece like this to come from the Gazette, not the Trib. Strange. Must be the layers and layers of oversight that we lowly blogger scum don’t have access to.

    Oops, got to go. The Fedex guy is delivering my bushel basket of Vast Right Wing Conspiracy cash, and the Missus is looking like she’s fixing to escape from the kitchen. Again.

  20. Geodkyt Says:

    LabRat was snarkily funny.

    Samantha caused a wry grin and a chuckle.

    Sarah, however, caused a hysterical hyperventilating LOC.

    Sarah for Game. Set. Match.

    You may redeem your ticket for one free Internetz, ma’am.

  21. mike w. Says:

    try not being such a condescending fuck-knuckle.”

    Oh Labrat, I think you’re asking something of Mr. Heyl that is simply beyond his capabilities.

    On second thought, you’re probably not supposed to ask him anything. You’re supposed to get your dumb ass back in the kitchen, shut the hell up, make him dinner and fetch him beers….

  22. anon Says:

    Oh my gawd, I almost snorted booze out my nose at “fuck-knuckle” (which I am also stealing for use, LabRat – but with credit given where it’s due!), but then I got to Sarah’s comment. Dear lady, I worship at your feet…

  23. staghounds Says:

    Sarah does win.

    I wonder how it is that in some of the columns the staining agent is grass and the damaged items are Coach shoes?

    It WOULD be an interesting rewrite with cars or, say, the accounting trade.

    And, Eric? Doctor Freud knows what you mean.

  24. Matt Says:

    Maybe I’m just weird. I married a woman who’s been shooting since she was old enough to hold a rifle…I didn’t get into guns until being into guns became a matter of political principle in my 20s. Our favorite shooting range is owned and operated by a woman who not only manages a great business, but can out-shoot most of her customers (definitely including me!).

    If I look around my life and experience, the whole “guns are a guy thing” meme seems like a really transparent myth we ought to just stop believing in, rather than even an unfortunate reality we’re trying to eradicate.

    But again…maybe I’m just weird.

    Sarah wins the awesome award, though. :)

  25. Justthisguy Says:

    Ma’am, I do think think that people like you and Breda, and Tam, and my semi-ex-sweety, are outliers among people of the Dos Equis genetitude. I can walk about two blocks from where I live and see a shop called “The Best of Everything” which exclusively sells only silly girly gewgaws, and they are doing a land-office business, while many shops here which sell useful female-oriented things like fabrics, sewing machines, and embroidery supplies have failed hard and gone out of business.

    I think that modern popular culture tries to indulge and exploit the sillyness of the generality of wimmin. (and don’t get me started about the generality of the menziz!)

  26. Justthisguy Says:

    P.s. I really miss the last sewing-machine shop, which is now an empty storefront, because I tried to go there the other day to find a thimble to fit my huge finger, and they were gone.

    It’s not just traditional female skills which are going away; look at model airplanes, full-sized airplanes, hunting, shooting in general, building hotrods and keeping classic cars, keeping a lathe in your garage and making stuff, playing with explosives, etc. All of the virtuous fun boy stuff seems to be done, lately, only by gray-haired white guys.

    P.s. My Mom made all of her own clothes.

  27. Tam Says:

    All of the virtuous fun boy stuff seems to be done, lately, only by gray-haired white guys.

    That’s because they’re outliers on the Y-chromosome-havin’ spectrum. Where I live, there are plenty of shops that sell sports-fan clothing and televisions, and they’re doing land office business, while the local hardware store is…

    I’m probably wasting electrons here, aren’t I?

  28. Justthisguy Says:

    No you’re not, Tam, and that’s “amn’t I?”, BTW. Gender, number, and case, baby!

    To respond to what you wrote, it seems to me that the local “Books a Million” has entirely too many of what I call chick books, and dick books. The former outnumber the latter, but there are quite a few sports books for dumb guys, though more magazines. Wimmin tend to buy more books than menzes. This is evident in the SF and Fantasy section, where I mostly hang out. What passes for SF these days seems to be largely extremely unlikely violent military space opera, and the fantasy seems to be mostly emo “sensitive artistic vampire” stuff. I swear, if it weren’t for Jim Baen and his legacy, I don’t know what I’d do when looking for reading matter. (Thank you, Michael Z.!)

    Oh, you know what really chaps my Cracker ass? They don’t call the section SF, but (spit!) SciFi! ( The local pubic libery (rhymes with bribery) describes their SF the same way, which is one of the reasons why the URL for my blog is “Enemies of the Library.”)

  29. Tam Says:

    No you’re not, Tam, and that’s “amn’t I?”, BTW. Gender, number, and case, baby!

    It’s pronounced “ver-nack-yoo-lur”. You’ll find quite a bit of it on my blog. 😉