Guess what, girls? You can get a man with a gun. Just aim and take fire. Ask Lena Olin below (Romeo is Bleeding) or Jamie Lee Curtis (Mother's Boys), both at a cinema near you and both happier pointing a Magnum than eating one.

Olin and Curtis aren't so far different from Peggy Cummins, that darling of the derringer, in 1949's aptly titled Gun Crazy. Their dexterity with firearms is likewise linked with sociopathic behaviour and sluttishness; why, Curtis even attempts to seduce the eldest of her three sons. Still, cinema is trying to re-define women's relationship with what used to be considered the ultimate phallic symbol. Thelma and Louise showed how a pistol-packin' momma could redress the inequality of the sexes - a bullet doesn't stop in mid-flight just because you have a penis - while Bridget Fonda's recent bid for the big time had nothing to do with hearts and flowers. The Assassin lacked calibre yet no one frowned upon Fonda's decision to play a hit-woman. 'Very sexy - good career move,' said the trade papers, getting it right for once.

In fact, on the silver screen, the female firearm currently stands somewhere between political manifesto and fashion statement, as the title of Stacy Cochran's My New Gun (released today) suggests. Indeed, unhappy housewife Diane Lane finds she loves her heater much more than her husband. Besides, a gun suits every occasion, which, frankly, cannot be said of any man.

(Photograph omitted)