"Girls just wanna have guns"

I can bring home the moose, fry it up in a pan.

By Amy Benfer

Published November 11, 2008 11:08AM (EST)

One of the more economic items of clothing given to a certain vice-presidential nominee, we learned in Newsweek’s addictive postmortem coverage, was a T-shirt that read: "OUR CANDIDATE FOR VP CAN HUNT, SHOOT, DRESS, COOK HER DINNER. JOE BIDEN ORDERS TAKE-OUT."

Hunters are hoping the Palin family values will be catching on with the ladies, according to an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail with the fetching title "Girls Just Want to Have Guns" (which should also be a T-shirt. Oh, wait, it is).

Seeking to woo an entirely new demographic -- "kids, women, and the elusive city slicker" -- hunting organizations in Canada have sought to redefine hunting "not as a murderous activity" but as "good exercise, a source of organic protein, and something that helps with conservation and fosters respect for nature." Sort of like if Whole Foods merged with Curves and opened an outlet in the forest. With guns.

So how does one combat the "stereotype of the gun-toting rednecks who shoot for a thrill"? With a publicist, of course. And lots of catchy slogans: "Hike and grocery shop at the same time," "Eat organic" and "Popular for the last 3 million years."

Some women, apparently, are getting into the idea of shooting and gutting their own dinner. On the fashionista side is Kelly Miller, a Prada-wearing 31-year-old urbanite who has yet to bag her first doe but is looking forward to wearing pink camo. On the survival side is Patti MacAhonic, who started hunting 20 years ago as a cheap way to feed her kids after divorce and once horrified a city friend by first killing, then skinning a grouse in front of her. How awesome would that be in a film?

I spent my teen years in Idaho, where plenty of dudes took their pickup trucks into the mountains on fall weekends and came back to freak us out with gory stories in homeroom. It turned me into a vegetarian. Now I am a meat eater with zero desire to murder my own meat, whether on a family farm, a cool glade or from the safety of a helicopter. One can, however, appreciate the honesty of those who do. Mr. Ted Nugent, for example, once attempted to school me in the finer ethics of hunting in Salon: "Freerange chicken aint [sic] free and that aint no range," he said. "Chickens are incarcerated; some are more feces-pecking, deathrow toxic than others." Hunting gives the Motor City Madman a “full predator spiritual erection.”

Dude, isn't that what he said when he endorsed Palin?

Amy Benfer

Amy Benfer is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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