Yesterday one of the three or four emails I receive every day from the boys in Fairfax was an event invitation for any of the ladies who share my home. There happen to be two at the moment: Carolyn my wife and Phyllis the cat. The email was an invitation to join the NRA’s Women’s Wilderness Escape session being held in the New Hampshire wilderness on September 14 – 16, a new program aimed at (pardon the pun) a very important demographic for Gun-nut Nation otherwise known as women.
Over the years, the gun industry has failed every time it tries to get the female gender excited about guns. They have tried manufacturing guns which feel more comfortable in smaller, female hands; they have designed guns with finishes whose colors are something other than ugly, steel grey; they have trotted out Dana ‘home-school queen’ Loesch to warn women about arming up to protect themselves from all those street thugs. None of these stupid, huckstering appeals have worked worth a damn.
Why not? Because women, generally speaking, are much more adverse than men to any safety appeal which requires them to respond by using violence in any form. And like it or not, the purpose of a gun is to commit violence, which the World Health Organization defines as any attempt to injure yourself or someone else. So even if violence is used for self-protection, you are still behaving in a violent way, and most women are simply not going to buy the idea that some kinds of violence is bad, but other kinds are good.
What I love about this latest attempt of the boys in Fairfax to rescue the tattered remains of their once-great organization (which could easily become great again if they would just stop promoting this self-defense nonsense) is the degree to which the entire Women’s Wilderness Escape program is based on fantasy, nothing more than that. The wilderness into which the women will be escaping is actually the shooting range where Sig tests its guns, located about 5 miles from U.S. Route 1, which has at least a Mobil mini-mart, McDonald’s, Dunks, Starbucks or Wal Mart every fifty feet. There isn’t a single stretch of real estate anywhere in the United States which is less wilderness than where these women will be ‘escaping’ for a couple of days. And by the way, in order to join this wilderness cavalcade you only need to fork over $895 bucks, which doesn’t include breakfast, dinner or sleeping out in your tent – yea right.
This program gives the gun maker Sig an opportunity to do some test-marketing of one of their new entrants into the assault-rifle category, a 9mm short-barreled rifle known as the MPX. I’ll spare you all the technical details except to say that the gun has less recoil than the usual .223 round, it’s smaller and lighter than the standard AR-15, all of which makes it ‘perfect for the beginner woman shooter’ to get into guns.
Maybe I’m too old or too dumb to figure it out, but I simply don’t understand why the gun industry continues to search for messaging that will make women realize a gun isn’t just a man’s best friend. After all, most male gun owners happen to be married, which means that 20 to 30-million females are already living in homes that contain guns. How come it’s still always the male half of the domestic arrangement who goes out to buy another gun?
One of these days the NRA will wake up to the fact that even though a majority of Americans believe that a gun is a very useful way to defend yourself from harm, a majority of Americans also don’t happen to own guns. And the reason why gun makers just can’t find a way to expand their market is because the female gender is not only present in most households, but also determines how household money will be spent.
Want to sell products to women? See how much LVMH wants for Sephora or Estee Lauder wants for Clinique.