Now I admit that some of these ads can be insulting to one or both sexes. Women can be incensed at seeing their gender reduced to eye candy just to sell crap, and men who break through the illusion can be angered by "They really think they can get me to buy this crap just by showing me boobs?"
But there is one monthly out there that makes me giggle every time I see it. It is blatantly saying, "See this pretty girl? She has nothing to do with what we sell. We just put her here to make the cover more attractive," and I find that open honesty refreshing. What I find even more refreshing, though, is that it manages to do so while letting the models maintain their dignity.
That monthly is Blue Press, a guns & reloading catalog for Dillon Precision products. Take a look and see for yourself -- I find these covers to be tasteful, despite some of their inherent silliness.
We start off with a very elegant photo of a lady in a vehicle. Poised, refined, confident, the only overt show of sexuality are her long legs which are demurely kept together. I have a bit of a problem with the muzzle of the gun being pointed in the general direction of the camera, but note her trigger discipline.
Classic "Girl Next Door" pose, assuming that next door to your house is a shooting range (oh, if only.). Young and pretty, but still completely covered. This attire would be acceptable for any church picnic. Notice the way she maintains control over the pistol even while holstered. Again, trigger discipline is demonstrated.
This picture has been included only because it has an awesome 80s vibe to it. This is for you, Doc Rotwang!
Transitioning from cute into sexy, we have this sweet young thing. Yes, she's probably never fired a gun before. Yes, she is in a come-hither pose and her right arm draws the eye to her breasts. Yes, they are using sex to sell this magazine, but she is still fully clothed, mostly holding the rifle properly (the right hand position is a bit off), but the muzzle is pointing down and the finger is off the trigger. Do you begin to see a pattern here?
A bit of classic cheesecake included as a reference point. Again, notice how she is mostly dressed, though her trigger discipline is terrible.
Behold the power of the Little Black Dress.
And again. I find her expression quite amusing, somewhere between "Come and get me" and "Come and get it." We are now veering into cleavage territory...
Cleavage achieved. What's funny is that you see much, much worse than this (both in overt sexuality and in exposed skin) on the covers of women's fashion magazines at the checkout line in your grocery store.
A little bit of A to go with that T. This is possibly the most overtly sexual of all the images, with her derrière extended towards the camera and pose suggesting "Take me for a ride" in more ways than one, and yet it is STILL classier than any cover I've seen of Kim Kardashian.
By now you've figured out the theme: Attractive woman in flattering but not overly-revealing outfit, holding a weapon in a fun/sexy/confident pose, frequently in front of other things that men enjoy like motorcycles or sports cars or shooting ranges. The woman, while obviously a model who has perhaps never shot a gun in her life, is allowed to keep her dignity even though her image is being used to sell the catalog.
The overall vibe I hope you get from these is "Yes, we know our audience is male, but we know our business, too. Pandering only insults you and embarrasses us." And that's why these covers bring a smile to my face and a laugh from my lips when I see them: often silly, yes, but never offensively so. Plus, I feel that women with guns look strong and empowered, which is always a good thing.
So bravo, Blue Press. Well done. Take a victory lap.
And so in conclusion, I leave you with the best picture of them all, a perfect blend of sweet and sexy, innocence and armament:
You're welcome, boys. ;D
PS: Did you notice the gun?