Proceedings Journal Article — GURLZ N GUNS: Popular and Firearm Culture in Contemporary America — by Peter Van Do


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This study evolves from observations of the growing presence of women characters who “kick ass” in contemporary American popular culture. The research here compares and contrasts the realities of actual armed women and the stereotypes of girls with guns in American movies and television. The numbers of notable women characters with guns have increased in American popular culture since the 1970s. Roughly twenty years later, the rise in the statistics on actual armed women followed. With this in mind, this study will provide analysis of the difference between reality and fiction of armed women, how depictions of tough women in American popular culture are the manipulated embodiment of the feminist ideal or the subversive commodification of the feminist culture, and how the fiction of girls with guns in popularculture is affecting the minds of the next generation of young armed women today. In this paper I also posit that the depictions of hyper feminine characters of armed women in action/thriller and sci-fi movies can be viewed as a manifestation of orientalism.

Recommended Citation

Van Do, Peter. 2005. “GURLZ N GUNS: Popular and Firearm Culture in Contemporary America.” Pp. 329-346 in Theories and Praxes of Difference: Revisiting Edward Said in the Age of New Globalizations: Proceedings of the Second Annual Social Theory Forum, April 6-7, 2005 (Discourse of Sociological Practice, Vol. 7, Issues 1&2, Fall/Spring 2005). Double-Issue Guest Editor: Mohammad H. Tamdgidi. Sociology Department, UMass Boston.

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