Women in Gun Blogs: Nothing About Us Without Us [Op-Ed]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Pew Pew Tactical.

As I perused my regular selection of gun sites, as I usually do after my kids go to bed, I came across an article from The Firearm Blog.

Used Gun Sites
Reading up on all the good gun stuff, doing some gun shopping…that’s what everyone does after their kids go to bed, right?

Concealed Carry Corner: Concealed Carry for Women, the title boldly shouted at me.

I clicked on it because as a woman I always like to see other writers’ take on one of my favorite topics.

But my intrigue was suddenly met with disappointment as the name of a male author splashed across the screen…

Exhausted

Before we get too into why TFB’s article gave me a serious eye roll, I should probably introduce myself.

For those who don’t know me, my name is Jacki, and I am the Managing Editor at Pew Pew Tactical. I’m an avid gun owner, daily concealed carrier, and purveyor of all things gun media. I live and breathe this community.

Jacki Billings, Headshot
It’s me.

I’ve worked in this industry in some capacity for six years now. While I regularly dig into the pistol and concealed carry realm, my favorite topic to write about concerns women.

As a woman, and one that came into guns when there weren’t many female-centric articles, one of my commitments has always been to bring quality content to others challenged by the same things that plague me.

From techniques to gear to fashion, I dedicate a good batch of articles to covering lady gun issues. (In fact, keep an eye out on Pew Pew Tactical in the coming weeks…especially on Wednesdays.)

Womens Brands Alexo Athletica Skirt
PPT Laser Shirt + Alexo Athletica + Sig P238 = comfy!

I, like so many other women in the gun industry, want to help and encourage other women to embrace gun ownership confidently and safely.

So it pains me when I stumble across articles that knowingly disseminate questionable information to women…especially when that information is written by a man.

Now, before you come at me, let me clarify. I think men can write on women’s topics. There are plenty of universal gun-related topics that apply to all genders.

More CA Roster CCW Handguns

There are also male authors who put significant time and energy into understanding the intricacies of female concealed carry, consulting women and listening to their advice. Rock on, my dudes.

What I can’t stand, though, are male-authored articles clearly aimed at catching Google keywords with little regard or reverence to the demographic they’re shooting for.

And that leads me back to The Firearm Blog…

TFB Women's Carry
The article in question…

On International Women’s Day, no less — a day dedicated to celebrating women’s contributions to society — TFB’s Concealed Carry for Women felt like a slap in the face to female readers, authors, and experts in the gun landscape.

Women stand as the fastest-growing demographic in the shooting industry, with the National Shooting Sports Foundation reporting a jump in ownership between 2005 and 2020.

There are entire organizations (Shoot Like a Girl and A Girl & A Gun), not to mention publications, podcasts, and YouTubers who are all women and cater to women’s topics.

So, why would TFB…in a sea of possibilities and diversity, settle on a male author for women’s concealed carry?

The TFB article was a mind-boggling mess of poor research, misinformation, and straight-up bad advice.

Suggesting that women can’t strong side carry efficiently? Not true.

G48 CCW
The G48 in a Crossbreed SuperTuck on a female writer.

And in place of strong side, pushing women to small of back and purse carry? Not only ill-informed but potentially dangerous advice.

The further I read, the more aggravated I felt.

With so many women in this industry, why are gun publications still asking men to write about women and our bodies?

Allison Goodwin
PPT editor Allison also curates some cool gun content for the industry and PPT readers.

“Nothing about us, without us.”

It’s a phrase used in the early 1990s during the disabled rights movement. At that time, it imparted the message that policy or legislation should not be enacted without direct participation from members of the affected group.

That idea applies here, today, with women.

It’s okay to write about women but include us in the groundwork. Let us be a part of that conversation.

Womens Brands AA and AIS
Sometimes my job entails wistfully looking into the distance while wearing women’s gear.

Source information properly. Seek out women invested in the gun community. At the very least, ask the demographic what works for them and use that as a starting point.

It might seem like I’m picking on TFB. Though this article is a perfect example of the challenges women still face in male-dominated industries, it’s not the only one out there.

In fact, TFB isn’t alone in having men write about women. Other notable pubs that have done it at least once include The Truth About Guns, Outdoor Hub, and Wide Open Spaces.

Given enough time, I could probably dig up at least one women’s article from most of the industry’s online venues (and even some print mags as well) written by a man.

So, what’s the answer? Where do we go from here? Are we canceling TFB now?

No, we’re not canceling TFB or anyone.

Sometimes as a publication, you swing and miss. This was a clear miss.

Mistakes were made

I’m a firm believer in second chances. I hope that editors, writers, and gun publications grow and shape content to reflect a more modern and diverse readership moving forward.

To the TFB editorial team and other male-led gun publications, learn from this experience.

Give women a voice on your platform. Allow women to share their advice and experiences with your readers. Actively seek out female authors, female stories, and female industry leaders.

Elk Hunting 5.11 Backpack
One of our awesome writers, Alice, testing some Sitka gear out!

Trust me. There are plenty of intelligent women hungry to share their expertise with others. All you have to do is ask.

Reach out. We’re here. We’re ready. We want to help. So, let us.

Should men be writing articles about women? Let us know below. For more women’s related content (written by women) check out The Best Way to Conceal Carry for Women and Best Hunting Gear for Women. Also, read up on some truly cool ladies in our list of 6 Badass Lady Shooters.

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26 Leave a Reply

  • Fitz

    Historically, I think, most men weren't developed enough to support the idea of an independent woman. (or at least one he'd be attracted to) Today, we run into so many examples of women who want to cancel men, shout about injustice, and demand statistical representation in various categories. That sort of political feminism has beaten us all down.

    That's why It is so special and totally awesome to see the fairer sex excel in the 2A/tactical/firearms community. More important than numbers and abstract equality claims is the ability of the average woman to take care of herself and her loved ones. Whether it's survival, mechanical, or self defense skills (traditionally masculine areas), we owe it to our women to offer smart support, advice and training.

    That said, a good man should know what he doesn't know! I'm so glad there is such a large, educated community of females out there doing some VERY important work: passing along what they've learned. Thanks for what you do....You've got this guy's support. Keep it up. (And thanks to all of you at PPT!)

    1 minute ago
  • Hammer

    Right on, Jacki. Great to have your voice here. And even as a guy, I've rolled my eyes at the very same articles about "what kind of guns women should buy", "how women should carry," and the reviews of "women's guns" that come in pink, etc...almost always written by guys.

    4 days ago
  • John Luke

    Good article, although I agree that information can be passed regardless of gender, I believe your point that when speaking or writing about a topic when one does not have first hand experience, and then they presume to be an authority and still share false information, that writer has a duty to make sure that they are not indeed ignorant on the issue, and at least consult those who will most likely know better. If you'r going to talk about what women should want or like, then you better know what women like or what works for them. Like a vegetarian telling a meat eater how a steak should taste. Better know your stuff!

    1 week ago
  • Toaster

    Anybody should be able to write about anything. The standard of “nothing about us, without us” isn’t reasonable. Do we need the input of kids to write an article about best guns for teaching your child to shoot? It is more important for readers to seek out good information instead of caring who it comes from. If a woman had written the same TFB article it wouldn’t somehow become better advice.

    Women can and should continue to make their mark on the gun community without insisting on a monopoly of anything that is about them.

    1 week ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      I would maintain that the opinion even of children when talking about a topic that directly impacts them has value. We also have several articles about firearms and children covering safety, choosing a firearm for them, and keeping them safe. Those articles were written by parents who talked to their kids about their opinions, firearm experts who have spent years teaching and helping youth learn about firearms, and a multi-time world and national shooting champion... who has kids.

      I didn't personally edit all of those articles, but I edited most of them. I don't have kids, but I have an extensive background in the Boy Scouts of America and teaching youth everything from firearms safety to first aid to fly fishing.

      Finally -- I can absolutely guarantee that everyone involved in all of those articles has personal experience being children at one point in their lives.

      All of that aside, I absolutely agree that good information is far more important than the source. However, when the information gave is clearly wrong -- it stands to reason to look at the source and question why they were chosen for the assignment. Women in shooting are not unicorns and there is no reason for them to be ignored.

      The topic being raised isn't about a monopoly or even about directly equal representation, it's about giving people the best and most accurate information possible. And to do that "nothing about us, without us" is reasonable. And applies to far more than just gender, race, or class. It's a standard that we do our best to apply to every topic to ensure that the information provided is of the best quality we can make it.

      1 week ago
    • Alice Jones Webb

      I think the biggest issue is when men think they know best about women's experiences, but they are really just filtering the information through their masculine lens. Every. Single. Time. A women will have insight about their bodies, physical capabilities, life experiences, etc. that a man just doesn't have. Sure, a smart man can write about women and guns, but if he doesn't use women shooters as a source, he's missing a key component.

      I have a background in martial arts as well as shooting, and I remember listening to a male martial artist (speaking about everyday self-defense) say that he couldn't think of a single situation where an attacker would grab you by the wrist. He was thinking inside his own paradigm of male-on-male violence. I raised my hand and said, "As a woman, I can think of several." It's kind of the same thing. Like I said, women have different bodies, capabilities, and experiences. Men aren't always very good at looking at things the same way women do. That's okay. And it doesn't mean they don't have plenty of value to bring to the table. But when we're talking about women, there had better be a woman at that table, too.

      6 days ago
      • Jacki Billings

        Beautifully said, Alice!

        5 days ago
  • ErinnB

    Ideas and opinions are not good or bad based on who professes them, but on their own merit.
    If you didn't like the article, write a better one on the topic, instead of complaining about what genitals another writer has. Or maybe point to something you disagree with about the opinions in the article.
    The only "problem" you're pointing out is that an article covering issues with how guns are recommended to women, is written by a man; and you're making the assumption that "women weren't consulted", and claiming that's bad.

    1 week ago
    • Allison Goodwin, PPT Editor

      We have! :)
      Benefits of Strong Side Carry by Jacki
      Benefits of Apendix/AIWB Carry by Jacki
      Best Concealed Carry Gear for Women by Megan
      Best Ways to Conceal Carry for Women by Annette

      We guessed that the writer didn't talk to women about concealed carry because he wrote some pretty silly things about our bodies that our lived experiences don't really line up with, like our womanly hips making strong side carry difficult. Or, if he did consult them... maybe he should have cited them and the work they did teaching him about women's concealed carry. After all, it was International Women's Day, and when could possibly be a better time to elevate the voices of gun gals, who are a rapidly growing group of gun owners but often overlooked? :)

      1 week ago
  • sound awake

    dont evven get me started on tfb...
    i used to go there all the time
    now i havent been there in months since they permanently banned me for my thoughts on:
    1 pistol caliber carbines
    2 keymod rails
    yeah...thats why they permanently banned me
    so im done with them

    1 week ago
  • Derek

    Good article. I think it's disappointing that PPT felt the need to put a disclaimer stating that they don't fully stand behind the opinion of their writer, who they published, unlike with any other article on this site. Don't be so mealy mouthed in the future. Support her fully.

    1 week ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      Jacki, the managing editor, placed that disclaimer on her own article. An op-ed is by definition to be presented as the opinion of the writer. That said, if you take a look at the comments you will see that I and at least one other PPT writer both openly supported her. More than that, Jacki discussed the article topic and had the other members of the team preview the completed article before publication. We support her.

      1 week ago
      • Derek

        If an op-ed is by definition their opinion, seems like the disclaimer is superfluous, no?

        I understand the desire to pre-empt a subject that you anticipate might be controversial. And it's good that your coworkers in fact do support you on this. I just found it discordant considering opinion sections don't run disclaimers like that. If indeed the editorial staff does fully support these views, it could've been a great opportunity to say so, yanno?

        1 week ago
    • Jacki Billings

      Thanks for reading! I want to be clear that I placed the disclaimer myself. It's standard operating procedure for most publications to place on opinion pieces. Every member of our editorial team has been supportive of my work in general but especially this piece. The team has been with me on this topic from the moment I pitched it and, as David mentioned, they even read it before anyone else did. I'm very fortunate to work with a fully supportive team!

      1 week ago
  • Mr. Untactical

    From my perspective, you nailed it: why wouldn't TFB use a more interview-type style where they poll experienced female gun aficionados - i.e., the ones who are most apt to know of what they speak? Heck, even I read gun-related articles by women (yours, of course, Armed and Feminine, The Well Armed Woman, pretty much any article by Karen Hunter, and more. I don't want to be "that" guy and try to steer my wife down the wrong path when it comes to guns, holsters, etc. - she needs to know how other women have made those decisions before her, even if she often asks my opinion. Hopefully your article highlights what is only a mis-step and TFB (and others) apply the appropriate course correction going forward. Nice job.

    1 week ago
    • Jacki Billings

      Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read it! My goal in writing this was to encourage other publications to grow and learn. Hopefully, that's what happens. :)

      1 week ago
  • Daniel Sutherland

    More women in the gun world that like to share their experiences please.

    1 week ago
    • Jacki Billings

      Women are trying! Sometimes we don't get a seat at the table, so to speak, but hopefully, more women speaking out will change that over time. In the meantime, I'm proud that at least here at PPT we have a fantastic team of writers, including women!

      1 week ago
  • dsutton

    This seems like a weird place to vent about written material about and for women in shooting sports. You, Megan, and Alice (and probably a few more that I'm not thinking of -- sorry!) write for Pew Pew on a wide variety of topics, and your articles are all very well done, and as far as I can tell are very well received.

    There are plenty of publications who "disseminate questionable information" on every facet of shooting sports, and not just on subjects of special interest or application to women. I assume they have their reasons. Pew Pew stands head and shoulders above the other guys as you can count on Pew Pew to be reliable, sensible, and sometimes irreverent. I'd expect Pew Pew to give the ladies an honest forum for their views and experiences, I'd be disappointed if it wasn't the case.

    I especially appreciate that the ladies here write quite well. Maybe you could use your influence to get some of your male colleagues to do a bit of proofreading on their own articles :)

    1 week ago
  • David, PPT Editor

    I have nothing to add to this article, but I agree with it wholeheartedly.

    1 week ago
  • Sean Curtis

    Well said!

    It's so important for readers to be critical consumers of media. This piece is a great example of genuine expertise. Moreover, the tones of inclusivity are something the 2A world, and everyone in it, would benefit from.

    1 week ago
    • Jacki Billings

      Amen!

      1 week ago
  • C-dub

    Definitely need and would like to see more female writers. Especially about concealed carry ,cause I really don't know of any dudes that are qualified to talk about bodies and thin fabrics and such.
    My wife really gets more interested in reading articles and watching videos if it's someone she can relate too. I wish Lena did more videos on EDC , cause she's got a very good personality for it . But she's very much in the competitive world.
    I think a huge problem is we need more female writers and creators in the gun world. Many times a man has to write cause a female can't be found.
    But we really do need more female for female creators.

    1 week ago
    • Allison Goodwin, PPT Editor

      We're here! It's hard to get our voices out there, especially in some of the more "boys' club" parts of the gun community, but there are quite a few of us working in the industry or sharing content because we love it. Besides all the awesome women who work with PPT, your wife might also like someone like Tacticool Girlfriend on YouTube or The Well-Armed Woman.

      But you also can help, even as just a reader! Let other men know what gun gal creators are out there. Share our work. Tell male-led pubs that you want to read our work. While we're pretty good about writing about women's issues, it turns out that we're also not half-bad as regular ol' gun writers, too. ;)

      1 week ago
  • Tom

    Great article again. I think Lena Miculek is a great example of a good model for female shooters. The enjoyment and fun she brings to the community, same goes for her father of course.

    1 week ago
    • Jacki Billings

      Thanks! She is a great role model for women in the industry!

      1 week ago
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