The Gun Issue

Dollar Billz, from the series Gun Love. © Dawn Whitmore, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

By Grace Aneiza Ali

Gun Violence is a Women’s Issue.

Yet, to read the statistics about gun violence in America is to read about a gun culture dominated by men. For women, however, the stakes are just as high — even deadlier. Now, more than ever in our country, gun violence against women and girls has reached new heights. It is undeniably a health crisis. Here’s what the data tells us:

• Women who are victims of domestic violence are 5 times more likely to be killed if their partner owns a gun.
• 80% of people shot to death by intimate partners in the United States each year are women.
• Every 16 hours, an American woman is fatally shot by a current or former intimate partner.
• 44% of mass shootings between 2008 and 2013 in the United States involved the targeting of intimate partners.
• Women are 16 times more likely to die by guns in the U.S. than in any other developed country.

Yet, because a culture of silence pervades gender-based violence, we know that these figures are likely a gross underestimation. As troubling as they are, they have not been enough to shift the dangerous normalization of guns in our culture, even when the statistics prove we have a much higher chance of being hurt by guns than being helped by them.

The 10 multidisciplinary women artists in the OF NOTE’s The Gun Issue engage the gun as an art object in their artistic practices. In doing so, they confront the infiltration of guns in our day-to-day lives — the gratuitous violence meted out by femme fatales in television, film and gaming, the marketing of real pink guns to girls, the faulty narratives equating gun possession with women’s empowerment, and the eroticization and sexualization of the gun-wielding modern woman as the epitome of desire and seduction.

Read more.