Sometimes I feel like the NRA is actively just trying to lose all the credibility it has left in this world.
Just when you thought the NRA's annual convention in Houston this weekend couldn't draw any more negative attention, it goes out and casually promotes a company selling a product that can help you practice shooting your ex-girlfriend. You know, in case you need that to defend yourself one day. We all know them ex-honeys can be crazzzzy.
The target, which is delightfully called "the ex," is sold by a vendor who was present at the annual convention. Although it's unclear if they displayed the mannequin or not, it was included in the pamphlet they displayed at their booth. The company goes by the name of Zombie Industries and markets itself as the maker of "life-sized tactical mannequin targets." After you shoot directly at it, the target will bleed and eventually look like this.
Cowboy hat not included, but the promotion of men's violence against women is.
The company has a line of 15 zombies (one of which resembled President Obama so much that it was pulled from the conference by the NRA) and only one is female. "To discriminate against Women by not having them represented in our product selection would be just plain sexist," the website says. YES, because having the only female character in your line of mannequin targets be "the ex-girlfriend" doesn't reinforce sexist and fatally dangerous stereotypes.
I'm not even sure how to begin unpacking this, so let me start with some stats. Men's violence against women is not a small pickle, it's a huge problem. Not just all over the world and in every society, but particularly here in the United States where "domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women — more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined." One third of female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner.
Gun violence is a gendered issue since it impacts women and men in very different ways. Because women are more vulnerable to violence within the home than men (and men are most often the perpetrators of violence against women), the presence of a gun makes females less safe, not more. How do we know? A woman's likelihood of a violent death within the home actually increases by 270% when a gun is kept inside the house. Homicide figures don't lie. Having a gun within their possession didn't protect women from murder. In fact, it accurately predicted their higher likelihood of death.
"Women who were murdered were more likely, not less likely, to have purchased a handgun in the three years prior to their deaths, again invalidating the idea that a handgun has a protective effect against homicide."
Giving women guns will not solve domestic violence. Normalizing men's violence against women with an ex-girlfriend mannequin will not solve domestic violence. It can only make the problem worse.
Every day, at least three women are killed by an intimate partner in the U.S. alone. Let's make sure those numbers go down, not up. Let's make sure companies like Zombies Industries know that we're not buying it.
Let them know what you think on Twitter by pinging them at @ZombieInd and don't forget to use the hashtag #NotBuyingIt. Here's a sample Tweet, but feel free to make up your own.
For more on gun control, follow me on Twitter: @feministabulous