This picture manages to be more insulting and condescending than the usual “booth bunnies” holding and displaying firearms. It’s arranged to be an “action” picture, yet it’s obviously and ridiculously artificial. The layout of the photo is supposed to make her look like an expert, but the details make her look like she has no idea what she’s doing (although she is a competitive shooter when she’s not posing for pictures). We’ve crossed the line from “sex sells” window dressing into “men will only listen to female industry reps if they’re flawless 10s”.
I don’t really have a problem with the gun industry using sex to move product, but it has to be done in a way that’s not going to put off other women. In the pharmaceutical industry, which are selling to the predominately male medical profession, sales reps tend to be unusually attractive women. Why? Because men are suckers for pretty ladies trying to sell them shit. But you’d never see a pharma rep dress like Melissa Gilliland in these photos. Why? Because it would violate the professional standards of the community they are selling into, for one, and for two, there are women in the medical profession that drug companies don’t want to alienate.
I agree with PDB that there’s a fine line. This picture here illustrates it for me. Which one do you think you could get away with posting on your office wall? The firearms community cannot afford to be off-putting to women. Other industries have adopted professional standards that still recognize that they are selling into a male dominated community, but avoid over the top nonsense like this. The Firearms business has gotten better in recent years, but there’s still a lot of vendors out there advertising that guns and shooting are a boys club.