DOI: 10.1177/02761467231221227 ISSN: 0276-1467

Advertising Frames and the Legitimation of the Armed American Woman

Aimee Dinnín Huff, Brett C. Burkhardt, Michelle Barnhart
  • Marketing

The idea of the armed American woman – a woman in the United States who owns and uses a firearm – appears to have gained legitimacy in recent years. We investigate one aspect of this increased legitimacy by focusing on how she is depicted in gun advertising, which reflects and shapes legitimacy. Using a novel dataset of a sample of gun manufacturers’ advertisements in a publicly available gun magazine from 2001–2020, we conduct a content analysis to identify trends and differences between ads featuring men versus women. Next, focusing on ads in the sample featuring armed women, we identify phases of general framing strategies. Finally, analyzing all ads featuring armed women during the final phase, 2016–2020, which coincides with increased legitimacy, we identify specific frames of the armed American woman: the Serious Student, Capable Carrier, Domestic Defender, and Action Hero. Findings contribute to literature on gun advertising, discourses in American gun culture, and market legitimation.

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