With positive social consequences a view widely

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with positive social consequences, a view widely circulated in the pro-gun literature on the effects of guns on crime (Goss 2013).The men I interviewed extolled a variety of virtues that come along with carrying guns, but celebration of these virtues does not occur in a vacuum. Shifts in the political economy of Michigan have galvanized concerns about crime (threatening men and their families) and under-mined the breadwinner model (threatening men’s positions withintheir families). Guns become a symbolic means of asserting masculine rele-vance amid this imaginary of decline.CONCLUSIONSThis article examines how political economy shapes pro-gun senti-ment. Against perceptions of decline, gun carriers use guns to assert them-selves as good men, respectable husbands, and responsible fathers not necessarily because they can provide a middle-class lifestyle but because, they maintained, they can provide protection. Guns provide men with another “tool” in the gendered toolbox to assert their masculine identities within the context of the heteronormative family (Townsend 2002).This article contributes to scholarship on masculinities, conservative politics, and gender inequality. It extends existing studies of the impact of American decline (and perceptions thereof) on how men “do” masculinities by adding to the literature on “repackaged” masculinities (Randles 2013). While much of the literature on the reconfiguration of American masculini-ties emphasizes shifting norms surrounding care work and provisions, this article shows that contemporary American masculinity is not necessarily
404 GENDER & SOCIETY / June 2015“softened” in contexts of socioeconomic insecurity and shifting gender roles; it is also fortified in ways that recuperate men’s privileged position as head of household—not just as providerbut also as protector. In doing so, this article forges a new approach to the relationship between guns and gender inequality by highlighting how guns inform the nostalgia that many men feel for the breadwinner model, itself dependent on a heteronormative, separate spheres ideology (Heath 2012). Indeed, men’s responses to socio-economic decline can also be read as responses to shifts in women’s par-ticipation in the family and in the labor market, shifts that are connected, but not reducible to, economic decline. Some men celebrated when women took on these stereotypic roles (e.g., Arthur), while others (e.g., Butch) seemed resentful that women’s opportunities in the workforce exceeded their own. While research on low-income fatherhood suggests that poor and low-income men may embrace their ability to care for children in contexts of economic insecurity, men’s strategies to navigate care work can also reinforce gender inequalities (England 2005; Hochschild and Machung 2003). The present study suggests that some men may participate in a “hard-ening” of care work by distancing themselves from, and implicitly devalu-ing, the traditional, “feminine” caregiving responsibilities of housework and

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