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Born to Be WildThe Rise of the American Motorcyclist$
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Randy D. McBee

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469622729

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622729.001.0001

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The Last Male Refuge

The Last Male Refuge

Women Riders, the Counterculture, and the Struggle over Gender

Chapter:
(p.193) 6 The Last Male Refuge
Source:
Born to Be Wild
Author(s):

Randy D. McBee

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622729.003.0006

This chapter explores how ideas about gender and sexuality affected motorcycle culture. By the 1960s and 1970s, women's participation was growing in this culture, but it was accompanied by the rise of the scantily clad motorcycle model and the increasing commodification of women's bodies in motorcycle culture. The conflict revealed the influence and limits of feminism and the limits of the motorcycle rights movement, which challenged opposition to women's objectification as another example of regulation. Additionally, fears about homosexuality profoundly shaped the conflict between motorcyclists and the counterculture, contributed to the motorcyclist's conventional ideas about gender and politics, and gave rise to the image of the “husky” biker who was violent but also conspicuously heterosexual.

Keywords:   gender, sexuality, women's participation, motorcycle model, motorcycle culture, feminism, homosexuality, motorcycle rights movement

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