Now that we’re a few weeks into the semester it’s starting to get harder to find the time to run and I’ve been reduced to joining the early morning runners on Tuesdays and Thursdays to cobble together 15 miles of very rudimentary fitness maintenance. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that the situation will improve once the big photo workshop is over and that distraction is gone from my plate.
Despite my current preoccupation with procuring office supplies, worrying over the fabric quality of the t-shirts I already ordered and making sure all of the workshop volunteers have rides to Festus, it’s already time to also start piecing together ideas for the final photo projects that will quickly take the place of the workshop in my anxious psyche once that event has been put to bed.
So briefly, one of the topics that has interested me since moving out to Missouri is the vast chasm between the conventional wisdom surrounding the idea of gun ownership between my neighbors and co-workers in New York and the average citizen voter out here in the heartland. The difference are pretty stark and the two sides’ most significant common ground seems to lie in the fear and animosity that each group bears to the other. The stereotypical urban aesthete looks west (or east, if you happen to live in L.A.) and sees a bunch of hillbillies and paranoid extremists who only bother to leave their walled compounds in order to get their kicks from killing Bambi. On the other hand, the salt-of-the-earth, God-fearing hunting crowd openly wonders about how patriotic the liberal crowd can possibly be when they have so little respect for the second amendment.
|I don’t plan on taking sides in the debate, but I think it might be interesting to look at the issue through the eyes of young women who are drawn to the shooting sports. It’s harder for anti-gun proponents to stereotype girls in the same ways that they might boys or men since it’s harder to label them as inherently violent or blood thirsty.|
At the same time, even here in Bass Pro land it’s considered perfectly acceptable for young women to take less interest in guns and hunting than their male peers, so it might be perhaps more of a considered choice on their part to want to learn about firearms and shooting in the first place. Also, as a woman, I simply find I have a natural interest in talking to other women about their lives and the different choices they make regarding how they choose to live them.
This is a topic I could pursue as either an extended story or essay for my picture story class and develop even further using multimedia for my electronic photojournalism class. I’ve already done some research on the topic by attending the Professional Outdoor Media Association’s conference in August, where I was struck by how many of the vendors were prominently targeting women with their products and promotional materials.
Possible facets that could be featured on a multimedia site include:
- Girls competing at the 4-H State Shooting Sports contest (I’ve already collected pictures and audio for this)
- A 7-year-old in Centralia learning how to shoot her first bb-gun
- Two 11-year-old girls that will be hunting this fall, one with a gun, the other with a bow
- Statistics on numbers of girls getting into shooting, either from NRA, 4-H or another organization.
- I’d like to feature an opposing point of view as well, maybe a young woman who has had a negative experience with firearms, to hear her point of view on gun control.
It’s still pretty early in my thinking process on this topic, but the more conversations I have on the subject, the more inclined I am to continue pursuing it.