The stereotype is as old as the Spartans. Those ancient, dichotomy loving Greeks had gender-specific definitions for heroism: men who fell in battle and women who died in childbirth. Epics sang of arms and the man—not arms and the woman. The roles have been so ingrained century after century that, despite the inclusiveness of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (“…the right of the people to keep and bear arms”), guns are still primarily perceived as a male purview. The photographer Lindsay McCrum plays on this preconception in her recently published collection Chicks with Guns, a playful yet perturbing visual essay on the statistic that some 20 million women in America own guns. The subjects of the book, published by The Vendome Press, range from girls to women of a certain age, from hunters to police officers to biathletes to the wheelchair-bound; they are dressed in fatigues, ballgowns, fur, frills, jeans and t-shirts, wielding everything from an antique dueling pistol to Beretta hunting rifles to Glocks to an AR-15 semi-automatic. McCrum has played with the dynamics of similar disjunctions in the past, for example, photographing young girls wearing their favorite dresses chosen from their mother’s wardrobes; but that involved the imagination and fantasy. With Chicks with Guns she deals in realities as tangible as gun barrels, in a tableau that stretches across America—one where the gender-divide itself proves to be imaginary.
Chicks with Guns was recently published by the The Vendome Press.