Skip to comments.MSU professors link hunting with sexual violence
Posted on 11/13/2005 3:44:04 PM PST by SJackson
Three female Michigan State University professors studied the magazine "Traditional Bowhunter," and concluded that hunting is a form of sexual violence with animals substituted for women. They describe hunting as, "erotic heterosexual predation, sadomasochism, restraint for aggressive sexual energy, and allied with the abuse of women." I think I need to take up bowhunting.
The article entitled, "Animals, Women and Weapons: Blurred Sexual Boundaries in the Discourse of Sport Hunting" was published by the Society & Animals Forum. The genesis of the article was the 2003 video "Hunting for Bambi," which reached national attention that year when many news-outlets reported a group in Nevada was selling "hunts" which men paid thousands of dollars to shoot naked women with paintball guns. The producers of the DVD later admitted the hunters and women involved were actors. Like in high-budget porn, the star is only an "actor" and really cannot fix the cable.
Concluding that men turn bows and firearms into phallic symbols, the researchers point to terms and jargon found in the magazine in order to reaffirm their belief of displaced sexual drive. "Climax," "big'uns," and "homely cow" are but a few of the many terms with which they took issue. Two things, first, using terms out of context allows anyone to make them sexual. Second, we are talking about hunting, not sex.
The study fails to see the subject matter as merely hunting. The outrageous links between sexual violence and hunting would cause sensible readers to scoff, but remember, the authors are members of MSU faculty, which makes this paper all the more scary.
Apparently, the woman-is-an-animal argument is only valid until the kill. "When alive and being chased in a sport of hunting, animals are given human characteristics...but when dead and displayed as a trophy, anthropomorphism is no longer necessary...and the animal is simply dead." Why anthropomorphism would be necessary in the first place is not explored. Furthermore, why is it not necessary in the second place?
Indeed, their argument is that men are violent creeps who beat up on poor, cuddly animals because there are no women running around the woods. "Violence against animals and women is linked by a theory of 'overlapping but absent referents' that institutionalizes patriarchal values...animals often are the absent referents in actions and phrases that actually are about women-and women often are the absent referents for animals." Therefore, when men are hunting they do so because there are no women present, conversely, when men are with women they are doing so because there are no animals present.
Absent from this study is where the millions of female hunters fit For that is the only logical conclusion of the animal-is-a-woman and woman-is-an-animal thesis. Not far removed from their illation would be to say women obtain sexual gratification from hunting but actually wish they were sexually abusing women, or maybe themselves.
What would an academic study be these days without a conclusion that points to racism? The study encapsulated that hunting is "cultural messages that validate and exacerbate white male dominance and power." The argument of racial oppression and hunting goes out the window because one can only shoot one Black Duck a day as apposed to five of another species.
When read in its entirety, the syllogistic argument takes on the seriousness of a Mad TV skit.
Maybe it is "Traditional Bowhunter" that is laying the groundwork for world takeover. Once again, the paper's authors come through and leave the reader not disappointed. They warn that, "[T]he underlying messages of the sexualizing of women, animals, and weapons in Traditional Bowhunter cannot be dismissed simply as a hoax. They are resilient popular culture images that celebrate and glorify weapons, killing, and violence, laying the groundwork for the perpetuation of attitudes of domination, power, and control
Since I use a compound, none of this applies.
Page W. H. Brousseau IV, is that a mouthful or what.
I wonder how those jokers feel about the MSU Shooting Team.....
Where would we be without them.
From the same logic, if you read Easyrider you can tell women are unable to wear tops around motorcycles. Sounds like a bunch of old prunes who ain't getting any.
"They describe hunting as, "erotic heterosexual predation, sadomasochism, restraint for aggressive sexual energy, and allied with the abuse of women."
Silly me...all this time I thought it was about obtaining food.
Men hunt to provide food for their families
Page is a 1995 graduate of Bentley High School. While at BHS he led the football team to its best showing, advancing to the State Semi-finals. Although Page never played a game during the Bulldog's storied playoff run, his stoicism still epitomizes all who have followed.
After graduation he enlisted in the Marine Corps where he served on Liberty's front lines, making copies and playing football in Turkey.
After his enlistment was up, Page wandered the land like John Rambo until he began classes in 1999. Shortly thereafter, he met his bride-to-be, Amanda, and she still enthralls his heart.
Page majored in Political Science and enjoys long walks in the woods.
Page joined joined the Army Reserves after graduating UM-Flint and attended OCS in June 2004. Page also plans on acting as the M-Times' roving correspondant when the time comes..
And I wonder what conclusions they would come to about women like me who enjoy hunting.....LOL
[Putting on my leftist's hat] Women are not qualified to opine on men's hunting recreation.
Sex was a major frame of reference in the discourse of hunting as conveyed in the 15 magazines in our sample. Some of the most obvious links to sex were found in the words used to describe the hunters engagement with hunting and killing. The death of an animal was called a climax (Kamstra, 2000, p. 40) A victorious killing was called a score (Andersohn, 1996, p. 31). Hunting was described as hot and heavy action (Blake, 2001, p. 35). Although the use of sexualized language was common in the magazines, we found that the complex representations of sexuality provided the most compelling evidence of the link between hunting and sex.
There were striking parallels between references to the (hetero)sexualization of animals, women and weapons--as if the three were interchangeable sexual bodies. The following passage was a good illustration of the permeable sexual boundary between women and animals in the hunting discourse: Developing my sense of smell had one unexpected consequence, particularly while I was in college. I would return to campus after several days of camping and hunting to find that the scent of those college girls was, to say the least, an added distraction from my studies. The experience gave me insight into the state of mind of a buck deer during the rutting season. Just the sight and sound of coy young does everywhere is enough to cause madness but add their scent and it might be enough to cause a bull to run to the nearest hunter and say, Just shoot me! (Herrin, 1998, p. 58)
Sexualized representations of women and animals often drew on stereotypical feminine characteristics, heterosexual love affairs, and patriarchal versions of romance. We observed that turkeys were redheads; a decoy, a Barbie Hen (Buchanan, 2003, p. 25), and deer antlers were biguns (Clyncke, 2002, p. 33). Some representations were asexualized stereotypes of unattractive or aging women. We found references to an old dry doe (Chinn, 1999, p. 20), a five-year-old dry nanny (Craig, 1992, p. 14), homely cows (Wensel, 1992, p. 36), and blind dates that snort grunt or gobble (You need a place to hide ... Youll want a place to hide) (Double Bull Archery, 2001, p. 73). The extension of heterosexual patriarchal relationships to animals was also common: male animals had lady friends (Kirk, 1997, p. 107), a coy doe had a lovestruck paramour (Hutter, 1998, p. 43), and a buck had a new girl to chase (Andersohn, 1998, p. 22).
In the hunters discourse, the chase is critical to the thrill of hunting and is enhanced by stalking, watching, and waiting for prey. The following excerpt is one of numerous analogies drawn between the eroticization of the pursuit of desirable animals and the pursuit of desirable women: One year, during college spring break, a group of us decided on a week of varmint calling along the Texas-Mexico border in lieu of the traditional bikini-beach-ogling thing (Marlow, 1999, p. 49).
For me, trying to pick a most memorable bow kill is about like asking a sixteen- year old boy to pick a most memorable Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader: they all seem pretty damn memorable (Borland, 1998, p. 20). It [the hunt] doesnt get any better than that, although we are still waiting for the Swedish bikini team to show up (Pridgeon, 1992, p. 45).
These narratives of stereotyped male sexuality also included references to autoeroticism and inappropriate sexual display. An advertisement for hunting blinds warned, Mother said youd go blind!!!(Double Bull Archery, 1998, p. 92), and I stalked in downwind of them while Eldon exposed himself (youve got a dirty mind!) upwind. (Wensel, 1992, p. 36).
There were explicit parallels drawn between human male sexuality and the sexuality of male animals, such as references to a hot and single gobbler (Torges, 1997a, p. 43) and hot-to-trot teenage bucks (Kirk, 1997, p. 107). The following passage stands as good testimony to this kind of anthropomorphism:
I began bugling at the bull, and I could tell that his responses were becoming increasingly ferocious. Whenever I bugled, he immediately responded. This tactic especially seemed to irritate him. After one particular bugle, the bull turned and stared in my direction. His ears were laid back, his nostrils flared and his eyes blazed red with anger. Was I about to accomplish the near impossible task of calling an enraged herd bull away from his cows? I then emitted an almost nonstop series of four bugles. The herd bull glanced back at his cows for a second, as if to say, Wait here girls, while I get rid of this guy! (Lapinski, 1992, p. 32)
In addition, some narratives invoked violent sexualized imagery, which came as no surprise given the permeable border between sex and violence in our culture and the violent nature of hunting. One turkey hunter wrote, she was so close I was about half tempted to reach out and grab her by her neck (Conrads, 2003, p. 29). Another proclaimed, antelope hunting is a love-hate relationship, with emphasis on the hate (Andersohn, 2000, p. 25). We also read rape imagery in advertisements for arrowheads, such as the announcement that Itll Rip You a New One (Ballistic Archery Inc., 2001, p. 90) and the suggestion to Take em with Wood! (SRC&K Traditional Archery, 1997, p. 14). Arrows often were described as an extension or embodiment of the bodily essence of the hunter, as in an advertisement for the book, Become the arrow (Target Communications, 1997, p. 47).
Anthropomorphizing weapons also included blurred sexual boundaries. One striking example was found in a hunters description of his bow: Nothing but smoothness showed in her lines as she arced to compass, from her broad and abundant hips to her narrow and pleasant tips (Torges, 1997b, p. 39).
In addition, there were numerous sexualized references to the bows sweet spot, which we read as heterosexual imagery of the hugely popular discourse on a womans G spot:
When a bow and owner are in harmony things happen as if they were magic. Ive always referred to finding out that a bow is matched to you as discovering the sweet spot. [When perfectly matched] ... the bow and hunter become one functional unit. (Cochran, 1997, p. 60)
Ascribing feminine characteristics to weapons was a common advertising strategy in the magazines content. In one advertisement, a beautiful young woman (photographed in profile to accentuate her large breasts, small waist and tight low-riding jeans) smiled at the camera holding a bow in one hand and the thumb of the other hand provocatively hooked in the pocket of her jeans. The advertisement announced a clear connection between the woman and the weapon: Irresistible Craftsmanship the responsiveness of this model is unparalleled. (Martin Archery, 2003, p. 35).
Anthropomorphized weaponry was most obvious in the tendency for hunters to ascribe feelings, emotions and relationships to their bows and arrows. An advertisement narrative reported the following:
People are a lot like bows; that is, some are louder than others; some are faster; some are prettier; some are rock steady and comfortable to engage, while others send vibrations up your spine (Cole, 2002, p. 8)
Finally, hunters often gave their bows feminine names, such as Little Sister, and the naming was often coupled with undesirable feminine characteristics, such as Shady Lady or Fat Lady. In the following passage, a hunter described the transformation of his bow from beautiful and exciting to asexual and uninteresting:
... he expressed doubts about the Fat Ladys tiller and concerns that she was deteriorating and might be short lived. Such are the emotional joys and hazards of making your own equipment. You work for that one perfect bow-balanced, quiet, quick, smooth and reliable. Excitement grows as a beautiful lady takes form and promises you everything. And then, soon after the honeymoon, you come to discover she is either a vegetarian or wears crème facials and hair curlers at night. (Torges, 1997b, p. 38)
The fusion of hunting with sexuality and women with animals occupies a prominent place in contemporary feminist theory, and we found evidence of a hunting-sex-women-animals link in the hunting discourse of a random sample of a popular hunting periodical, Traditional Bowhunter. Sex was a major frame of reference in the hunting discourse in the magazines. Sexual words and phrases, such as climax and hot and heavy action were used to describe hunters hunting experiences and encounters with killing animals.
Although sexualized language was common in the magazines, more complex representations of sexuality provided evidence of parallels between references to the sexualization of animals, women, and weapons in the hunting discourse. These representations were symbolic of a permeable sexual boundary between women, animals, and weapons, as if the three were interchangeable sexual bodies. Animals physical attributes were described using stereotypical feminine characteristics of physical appearance (such as big uns), and animals were sexualized using feminine and masculine attributes of sexual behavior, often based on age, such as old, dry, coy and hot-to-trot teenage bucks. The extension of heterosexual relationships to animals often included references to the sexual frustrations of male animals and the hunters enjoyment of their involvement in animals mating rituals. These findings support Donigers (1995) argument that humans express their sexual ambivalences by using animal metaphors.
Sexualized references connecting women to hunting and animals were also observed in visual images to market hunting equipment, narratives that eroticized, and the link between the pursuit of desirable animals and the pursuit of desirable women, and the anthropomorphization of weaponry, which often consisted of ascribing heterosexual feelings, emotions, and relationships to bows and arrows. Although the active, projectile arrow was imbued with stereotypically male characteristics and depicted as an extension or embodiment of the (male) hunter, the bow was feminized and sexualized, often described as beautiful, smooth, and dependable. We read this as a feminization of the instrumental bow, noting that even the implements of the hunt (like the victims of it) cannot escape the patriarchal nature of the culture from which they are constructed.
There is more evidence that the hunting discourse reifies weaponry and anthropomorphizes guns and rifles. Kalof and Fitzgerald (2003) found a pattern of interchanging humans with weapons in the visual display of trophy animals. In that study, there was little anthropomorphism of animals in the trophy photographs, except when humans were absent and weapons substituted for humans in the display (Kalof & Fitzgerald, 2003). But in our examination of the sexualized connection between animals, women, and weapons, the anthropomorphization of animals was central to our findings
We argue that the explanation is likely related to the corporeal: When alive and being chased in the sport of hunting, animals are given human characteristics (primarily feminine), but when dead and displayed as a trophy, anthropomorphism is no longer necessary, humans are distanced from the animal, and the animal is simply dead. This pattern deserves further study in attempts to elucidate our relationship with other animals.
Although our readings of the narratives and images in Traditional Bowhunter revealed that women, weapons, and animals are all sexualized in strikingly similar ways, we do not claim that our interpretations of the texts are the only possible interpretations. We acknowledge that media discourse is an open text that embraces competing constructions of reality (Gamson, 1992). Subjective experiences position consumers (and researchers) to interpret text meanings, often in opposition to the dominant ideology embedded in the imagery (Kalof & Fitzgerald, 2003; Lerner & Kalof, 1999). Thus, a text is a site of multiple interpretations (Denzin, 1992, p. 53). However, we did attempt to mitigate some potential differences in interpretation by using coders matched on important social characteristics, such as gender, race, age, and education.
Finally, widely read hunting periodicals with messages blending sex with hunting and women with animals do not generate the horror and outrage caused by the Hunting for Bambi (2003) video. Of course, our experiences as gender (and gendered) scholars may have brought the imagery to our attention. But we offer another argument first proposed by Adams (1990, p. 42): Violence against animals and women is linked by a theory of overlapping but absent referents that institutionalizes patriarchal values.
According to Adams (1990), animals often are the absent referents in actions and phrases that actually are about women--and women often are the absent referents for animals. The murder of a family dog is common in domestic violence; in such cases, the absent referent is the abused woman (Adams, p. 45). In the staged Bambi Hunts, animals were the absent referents. In our reading of the contemporary hunting discourse, women often were the absent referents. Explicating the parallel objectifications of women and animals makes the absent referents more visible.
In the end, we agree with Mallory (2001) who noted that feminists have argued convincingly that the real problem is with the degree to which men act out their cultural conditioning into a masculine, patriarchal culture in which masculinity is defined as aggressive, powerful, and violent. Unfortunately, unlike the staged hunts for women in the Hunting for Bambi video, the underlying messages of the sexualization of women, animals, and weapons in Traditional Bowhunter cannot be dismissed simply as a hoax. They are resilient popular culture images that celebrate and glorify weapons, killing, and violence, laying the groundwork for the perpetuation of attitudes of domination, power, and control over others.
* Linda Kalof , Amy Fitzgerald, and Lori Baralt, Michigan State University
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But I guess we'd be qualified to opine on hunting if it's an "all woman" hunt??? < /sarcasm >
These three "women" at MSU are whacked.
I think it's probably a job requirement.
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