Movies vs Reality: Are Women with Guns Accurately Portrayed? By: Madison Heim

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Once I began shooting, it didn’t take long for me to realize that Hollywood does a terrible job of accurately portraying firearms. Not to mention the people who shoot them. A common theme we see in movies is that women and firearms do not mix. I am here to say that this could not be further from the truth. To break these idiotic stereotypes, let’s look at all the false ways movies depict how women behave with guns.

Women with Guns: Movies vs Reality

Myth #1: Women Are Unable to Manage Firearms

The first way movies represent women with firearms is that they cannot manage them. To give you an example, consider the movie Killers.

This comical movie is about a woman named Jen who learns that her charming husband, Spencer, is actually a deadly spy. To make matters worse, he has a multi-million dollar hit out on him. To save Spencer’s life, the couple must find out who put a hit on him while maintaining their neighborly appearances. 

In the scene where Jen finally learns who her husband is, she is given his firearm to hold as they fight against an antagonist. Rather than grip the firearm properly, Jen panics and proceeds to hold the firearm flat against her palms. She is scared of it, does not want to touch it, and freaks out the whole time.

This scene just further portrays that women cannot act right around guns.

Women in the firearm community know how to manage firearms and can do so confidently. They have done their research, taken the proper safety courses, and have put in enough range time to prove to the world and themselves that they can operate these tools with zero difficulties. 

Myth #2: Women Are Irresponsible Gun Owners

The second theme that we often see in movies is that women are irresponsible firearm owners. The firearm community does not care if you are a man or a woman. It only cares that you are a smart firearm owner.

A responsible gun owner is someone who knows how firearms operate, follows the four rules of safety, and, more importantly, does not treat these tools as toys. In my personal experience, I have never encountered an irresponsible firearm owner who is a woman. It is a shame that movies do not accurately portray how responsible women are with firearms. 

Myth #3: Guns Are Too Powerful for Women

Time and again, movies portray firearms as too powerful for women to shoot. Don’t believe me? Take the movie Knight and Day, for example. This movie is about an unsuspecting stranger named June Havern who meets a covert operative named Roy Miller. Miller has been set up to take a fall.

There is a scene in this comical adventure where the duo has to take down an antagonist in a warehouse. During the scene, June gets separated from her partner. Left alone to fend for herself with a fully auto MP7, she gets startled and rapidly fires bullets all around her. She does not stop until her magazine empties. As she fires, her firearm moves around wildly and unsafely. 

At times, firearms can pack a punch, but this does not mean their power cannot be controlled. Women can absolutely control them, and the stereotype that we cannot is an extremely saddening narrative. That said, you would be a fool to underestimate what a woman can and cannot do.

Myth #4: Women are Scared of Firearms 

Taking both movie examples, I referenced earlier, you can easily see that both women were fearful of the firearms in their hands. This is yet another common theme we see in movies.

In the movie Knight and Day, June is unable to manage the firearm. For this reason, she has an absolute look of fear on her face as she squeezes the trigger uncontrollably. Likewise, Jen, in the movie Killers, audibly panics when her eyes connect with the gun her husband hands her.

As comical as these scenes were, both movies, unfortunately, play into the stereotypes that firearms are dangerous and scary weapons. It’s normal to feel nervous around firearms, but movies act as if this type of fear is impossible to overcome.

Speaking as someone who used to have a fear of firearms, I can proudly say it is a fear that is possible to overcome.

Myth #5: Women Should Rely on A Man

Lastly, one of the most common themes in movies is that a woman needs a man to save her. A woman needs a hero to swoop in and rescue her from danger. Similarly, a woman needs a man to manage her problems. Or that a woman cannot be independent and needs a protector. I am here to say that this is not reality and only harms the world’s view of women. 

In the real world, no one will ever prioritize your personal safety for you. You cannot wait around for a knight in shining armor to come and rescue you. Women are absolutely able to protect themselves and don’t need a man with a firearm to do it for them. They are more than capable of doing it themselves and can do it confidently. 

Parting Shots

Movies have always gotten it wrong on what it means to be a woman. They portray women as weak and unable to do the things that a man can do. These messages and themes on the big screens are frustrating, disheartening, and oh so wrong.

Women should be celebrated for being confident, responsible, brave, capable, and independent. As far as I am concerned, we are all of those things with or without a firearm.

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