55 Women in Indiana on Tinder with Guns

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“I’m a girl and pink camo pisses me off…seriously what are you hunting flamingoes?!?!?!?”
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“We eat, therefore we hunt.” – Sarah Palin
In the fall, right before the beginning of “the rut,” which is the time each year when deer breeding occurs, the meticulous planning prior to hunting season comes to fruition. Planting food plots, hanging tree stands, positioning cameras, all to kill as many prime whitetail bucks as possible during mating season. What does it mean then, according to the National Sporting Goods Association, from 2001 to 2013 the number of women participating in hunting has risen 85%? What has drawn women to an outdoor activity where they are killing a means of reproduction or interceding with a process of nature?
Is this an act of feminist insurgency against life, or a supplicating performance colluding with masculinity’s impulse towards the eroticization of violence? Sex has always sold, but now violence and subtler forms of coercion are “sexier” than ever.
The new machismo is everywhere. It is conscious of its enemy, namely feminism, and seeks to destroy and disarm.
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Twitter timelines of female hunters display images of late night purchases at Walmart, consisting of nail polish and 12-gauge buckshot.
Represented repeatedly are images of hearts created from the materials of their trades. A buck’s antlers and a fishing hook enclose to form an emblem of serenity, the heart’s oneness encapsulates all.
At Cabela’s they have, for women, designer leather concealed-carry handbags, floral print holsters, pink buckshot, and pink camo in everything from North Face fleece to Ruger 10/22 rifles.
Support breast cancer research with these limited-edition, pink-hull loads. Federal will donate a portion of the sales of these Hulls for Healing shells to support the fight against breast cancer and find a cure. Only available in 12-ga., 2-3/4″ No. 8 loads, these shells feature clean-burning powder, eight-segment crimps and hard, high-quality shot. 25 shells per box, 10 boxes per case. 1145 fps. Sold per case.
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“I heard someone walking on the leaves. And somebody actually turned the knob. So I said, ‘Stand four feet back because I’m going to shoot now!’ Boom! Boom! The police came by and said, ‘the shots came from inside the house.’ I said, ‘Well, I don’t know how that happened.’” – Maya Angelou
“The reason is that Kathleen exercised her inalienable right not to be a sitting duck at a shooting gallery. She bought a Super Pig Riot Shotgun. When the shotgun and the heavy shells that go with it were bought, the clerk behind the counter in the Gun Store was so freaked that he called in the pigs and six of them stayed with him behind the counter while the purchase was being made. Kathleen also intends to buy a pistol. She told BARB ‘I went down to the Pig Station to apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon and they told me they had issued only six permits in the last 2 years. Well, if that’s true, there are a lot of businessmen carrying illegal weapons.'” – Alan Copeland on Kathleen Cleaver
“There’s no way to be committed to non-violence in one of the most violent societies that history has ever created. I’m not committed to non-violence in any way.” – Bernardine Dohrn
“I keep a shotgun in every corner of my bedroom, and the first cracker even look like he wants to throw some dynamite on my porch won’t write his mama again.” – Fannie Lou Hamer
“My Aunt Dot left a glock and some blood on my sheets/Told me clean the shit up, then she hit the streets/Even though I’m her niece, she copped me a piece/Wack-ass caliber, nickel-plated with the silencer/What? She don’t know I like my guns pretty?” – Lil’ Kim “Aunt Dot”
“I ain’t afraid to love a man. I ain’t afraid to shoot him either.” – Annie Oakley
“…pretty girls who would finish their school work and then take to the streets armed, one or both hiding an Armalite rifle under their raincoat, to take part in gun battles with the British army.” – A press account of the IRA’s Dolours and Marian Price
“Rob had a machine gun and I had a Luger.” – Mabel Williams
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In a truly militaristic society, the first time you set eyes on your sweetheart is through a medium developed for the army. Her eyes meets yours, cocked down the barrel of a rifle. And if you’re a leftist, you think feminist; a conservative, guns-rights activist. Fish don’t know they’re in water; Americans don’t know it’s a ball pit of bullets. Somehow it’s an easy collapse: possible sex, possible violence. Tell the children you bonded over buckshot, knew she was the one at the first flashed glock. Like ATF at the Waco raid, you popped that question like a hand grenade.
She is asked, “Valerie, do you want to get into a discussion now about shooting people?” She replies, “I consider that a moral act. And I consider it immoral that I missed. I should have done target practice.”[1]
Valerie Solanas shot Andy Warhol at 4:05. She gave herself up to a policeman in Times Square between 7-8 pm. Not everyone was devastated by the news of the shooting.[2]
As Warhol lay bleeding, Solanas then fired twice upon Mario Amaya, an art critic and curator who had been waiting to meet Warhol. She hit him above the right hip with her fifth shot; he ran from the room to the back studio and leaned against the door. Solanas then turned to Fred Hughes, Warhol’s manager, put her gun to his head and fired; the gun jammed. At that point the elevator door opened; there was no one on it. Hughes said to Solanas, “Oh, there’s the elevator. Why don’t you get on, Valerie?” She replied: “That’s a good idea” and left.[3]
After Valerie Solanas was arrested, she told reporters to “read what I have written and you will know what I am.” Not who I am, but what.
The next morning, New York City tabloid The Daily News ran a front page headline stating: “Actress Shoots Andy Warhol.” Solanas demanded a retraction of the statement that she was an actress. The Daily News changed the headline in its later edition and added a quote from Solanas stating “I’m a writer, not an actress.” [4]
Solanas is a figure waiting to be decoded by her own script, her violent rage justified in its pages. For the women of Tinder in Indiana, the gun is its own manifesto, with sparse context to guide beyond the initial image. In some instances it is a benign prop, but often it is the barrel or viewer she stares down, unapologetically.
[1] Gary Comenas, warholstars.org [2] Ibid. [3] Freddie Baer, womynkind.org [4] Wikipedia
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First ten Google results for “feminist guns”:

1. Subverting Feminism for Guns – The Feminist eZine
2. Why Gun Control is a Feminist Issue – Mic
3. Guns are a feminist issue? – Feministe
4. Who will protect us? Why I’m still conflicted about guns as a black feminist
5. Feminists For Firearms | Facebook
6. Feminist critic forced to cancel lecture after gun threat
7. My Transformation From Anti-Gun Feminist To Armed Feminist
8. Firearms and Feminism – National Review
9. Feminist Speaker Who Faced Mass Shoot Threat Calls Utah’s Gun Laws ‘Mindboggling’
10. Between Feminism and Gun Control, Women are Screwed

First ten T-shirt slogans on Google Images for “women guns t-shirt”:

1. Girls Just Wanna Have Guns
2.  A Woman’s Right to Choose: Revolver or Pistol
3. Girls Do Play With Guns
4. Gun Chick
5. Good Girls Carry Guns
6. Gun Safety Rules: 1. Do not piss off the woman holding the gun
7. Does This Gun Make Me Look Fat
8. I Know How to Load More Than a Washer and Dryer
9. Keep Calm and Carry One
10. Real Women Have Guns
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I go to a Cabela’s in Ohio with my Father to buy ammo before heading to the shooting range. At this particular location, there is an express checkout aisle specifically for firearms.
If the civil rights movement was made possible through the possession of weapons, could the same be said for the feminist revolution? What is it going to take to keep men from abusing and killing their girlfriends and wives?
As seen in history, the fantasy of arming one’s self against male violence is a predominately white dream. In May 2012, Marissa Alexander was charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon after firing a single warning shot into a wall of her home. She was charged even though no one was harmed, and despite the fact that her estranged husband had entered her home and threatened to kill her.
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“Perfect Guy:

– Taller than 6 foot
– Plays/loves baseball
– is a hunter
– is a bow hunter
– knows weaponry
– can gut a deer
– can bait a hook
– can drive a stick shift
– can talk to my dad
– isn’t a puss
– likes dogs
– can handle sarcasm”
Social media is a recursive scape. The defining dynamic of social media is a looking at by looking through. One regards oneself through the multitudes of other selves presented to be viewed. As a new look succeeds, it is immediately subsumed and repeated. It becomes a trope of self – stratagems selected and imposed by a social logic directed by the hive mind – nothing about you as you, if “you” exists as such, except as a talent scout, a chameleon, an adept.
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Target practice. Or a circlet of flowers in Scandinavian-braids: worn only once, on a lark, with a friend, it now becomes one of six aspects of you. Both knew the event was intended and designed for documentation, like performance artists lining up the videographer weeks before the piece, to sell the clip to collectors, or merely for CV corroboration. These tropes that take hold – yoga pose in nature, you and the dog – are modular and readymade; they used to sell them in the Sears~Roebuck catalogue to High-Desert land claimants. There may not be land left now, per se, but not just physical structures can be built, space is what we make of it, social or desert or, as more commonly experienced, both at the same time.
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Text and Images Cassandra Troyan and James Payne