Glamorizing guns for girls?

As seasonal outdoor activities shift from tanning on the beach to tanning hides, will Alaska Governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's well-publicized wilderness experiences inspire more women to get outdoors?

"I suppose there is that possibility, but people might be turned off. It could go either way," said Kimberley Corwin, chairperson of Outdoors Women Inc., a group that works with the Department of Environmental Conservation to hold annual "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" workshops.

The workshops offer women the chance to learn a variety of outdoor activities, from hunting and trapping to nature photography and backpacking, in a group of other women with different levels of experience. The classes are open to 125 women and Corwin says they are always filled to capacity, mainly with women in their mid-40s who have not had the opportunity to try the activities on their own.

"There seemed to be a demand for it, and it grew after we started," said Corwin.

Though the workshop has been offered for 15 years in New York, Rob Goffredo, fishing department manager at Gander Mountain in Cicero, said it was only about a year ago that manufacturers began to tap into the female market.

Signs of crossed gender lines are visible throughout the store - expanded women's clothing departments, smaller pistols, and pink: pink rifles and handguns, fishing poles, and clothing dot the departments and are clearly geared towards women.

The true outdoors woman would not buy into the color-coded hype, explained Goffredo, but these products, like the "Lady Stick" fishing pole, are meant to inspire women and girls to try something new. Goffredo, who fishes in tournaments with his wife, said he was happy to see companies begin marketing to true outdoors women, going beyond pink bb guns and producing equipment specifically designed for the female form, like women's waders and pistols.

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