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Animals, Women, and Weapons: Blurred Sexual Boundaries in the Discourse of Sport Hunting

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The furor and public outrage surrounding the release of a fictionalized video in which naked women are hunted down and shot with paintball guns ("Hunting for Bambi") inspired this paper. Arguing that distressing representations of hunting as a sexually charged activity are resilient popular culture images, this paper examines the theoretical framework that links hunting with sex and women with animals and the empirical evidence of such linkages in the hunting discourse of a popular newsstand periodical. Contemporary feminist theory often connects hunting with sex and women with animals. This paper details clear evidence of the juxtaposition of hunting, sex, women, and animals in the photographs, narratives, and advertisements of a random sampling of Traditional Bowhunter magazines (1992-2003). Particularly prominent in the magazines' hunting discourse is the sexualization of animals, women, and weapons, as if the three are interchangeable sexual bodies in narratives of traditional masculinity. This paper concludes that moral outrage at the degradation of women might be targeted best at widely read newsstand periodicals that serve as popular culture precursors to videos that celebrate hunting naked women.


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