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SOC 534 - Biker Women: Image vs. Reality

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Peter von Stackelberg

on 29 September 2012

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Transcript of SOC 534 - Biker Women: Image vs. Reality

There is Hollywood's image of bikers and biker gangs... ...which glamorized bikers... They were tough, masculine, rebellious, and (of course) handsome... The biker's women were glamorized in movies and advertising. Biker's women were beautiful (of course), whether they were... ..."good" girls... ...or "bad" girls. Women, Bikes & Bikers: What is the "Reality"? "Wings" or "Earning Wings" ...intimidation... ...assault... ...prostitution... ...gang rape ...murder. But the reality of the biker's world was different. "Old Lady" A woman who belongs to a specific male biker. She must perform sexual acts anytime it is demanded. Her man governs her sexuality and can sell, auction, gift, or otherwise force her to have sex with anyone he chooses. It is a one way relationship. Her man has total control; she does not have any control over him. "Mama" A woman who belongs to the entire gang. She is available to any male and is subject to his absolute authority. She must perform sexual acts anytime when it is demanded with any gang member. She is the property of the gang. "Sheep" A woman who is expected to have sex with every gang member at an event. Women are seen as property... ...as sex objects... ...and the language reflects women's position in biker society. "Failure to act is itself an ethical and political choice that researchers must come to terms with." pg.232, Merriam Men sought freedom... but only for themselves. "...biker women have simply existed;
they have not had personalities or voices." - pg. 104, Down & Dirty Ethnography These methods, however, don't let you see biker culture from the inside. "We saw the bikers do things completely foreign to our personal values...
we did not express our objections for two reasons.

First we would not be able to continue our study.

Second, it was too dangerous to take issue with outlaws on their own turf."
- pg. 105, Down and Dirty Ethnography. They were outlaws... ...because they wanted their freedom. The role of women in biker gangs was to submit. - pg. 110, Down & Dirty Ethnography "Nothing is as exciting as riding a motorcycle. You feel as free as the wind.. " The performance of oral sex on a woman by a male gang member. The sex act takes place in front of the entire gang. Sometimes it will involve a woman who has just finished "pulling a train". This act shows a member's commitment to the gang. He is awarded a pilot's wing patch in recognition of that commitment. "Pulling a Train" Usually a form of punishment in which a woman must have sex with multiple gang members at one time. WARNING: The following presentation contains explicit lyrics and female nudity. A 'Mama' sings her heart out live in this...interesting presentation. But not all biker babes are bad girls Females associated with gangs face... So what is the reality of
women, bikes, and bikers? Qualitative research is
one way to find out... ...but it is difficult... To see bikers and their culture from inside, eastablishing rapport is important Attending "big blowout" parties, weddings, cookouts, and funerals are one way to connect with gang members. Police reports are one source of information. Corresponding with and interviewing imprisoned gang members is another way to gather information. "Bikers would not allow ordinary research methods such as
tape recorders or note taking" Hopper & Moore 105 ...but going into these gangs in the role of "observer as participant" can raise serious ethical dilemmas.
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