Although this article is very short, it gives a great perspective on the ‘real image’ of bikers versus the stereotypical biker image. This magazine article differentiates between the leather cladded biker enthusiasts who have careers and families and the O.M.C members of today. The interview is with Charlie Hunnam, who plays a role on the very popular television show, Sons of Anarchy. Although he plays a fictional character on the show, he hangs out with real bikers off set. Hunnam talks about the mannerisms and traditions that the bikers have even though, to many outsiders, they seem to be violent and crude. Hunnam’s story allows the reader to develop a different perspective on the identity of the outlaw biker and shines a light on their real demeanor. I plan to use a few quotes of Hunnam’s in my research paper, especially the ones where he talks about biker culture and traditions. I think that his view point is very important to consider when talking about biker stereotypes.
Austin, Mark. Gagne, Patricia. Orend, Angela. “Commodification and Popular Imagery of the Biker in American Culture.” The Journal of Popular Culture. Volume 43 Issue 5. n.p. Web. 3 October 2012.
This article documents the transformation of the ‘biker image’ from its introduction in the early twentieth century to what it represents today. The authors discuss how the media and government have molded and distorted the imagery of the motorcycle to dissuade the general public from supporting the actions and opinions of rowdy motorcycle clubs. Gagne explores the evolution of the biker image from WW11 veterans to middle-age, middle-class Americans. This article gives a very detailed history of motorcycle culture and how outside events influence their image. There is a lot of good material in this article and I think it has greatly influenced my perspective on motorcycle culture.
Bender, David, et al. Media Violence: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Print.
In this book I picked out three specific essays to help me with my research. The first was arguing that violence in the media causes violence in society. This essay basically reinforced everything that I have ever heard about violence and the media. That video games, television shows, movies, and music all influence violent behavior and sometimes encourage it. The second essay argues that there is no evidence that connects violent behavior to violence in the media. The author denounces all evidence that shows that media violence is a big factor in violence in society. He claims that the violence seen in the media is often discouraged by ‘good guys’ who stop the ‘bad guys’ from committing more crimes.
Reading these two essays back-to-back was a horrible idea. I know that they are opposing viewpoints, but both of the authors totally discredit one another and there seems to be no middle ground in this argument. Although violence in the media and violence in society are at all time highs, it seems like there are few points that they actually intersect at. There are so many outside factors to consider when looking at these two arguments. I am not sure that I want to introduce this topic into my essay because it will side track too far from the topic of my essay. These two viewpoints allowed me to see that although it is an interesting topic, it is too broad to be able to put into my essay.
Esbensen, Finn-Aage, and Stephen Tibbetts, and Larry Gaines. American Youth Gangs at the Millennium. Long Grove: Waveland Press, Inc, 2004. Print.
This book discusses a range of topics involving gangs, but I chose to use gender roles and organized crime groups as my focus. Both of these chapters were very statistical and dry, but brought up good points about how females view their roles vs. How males do, as well as differentiated levels within a gang.
The gender roles of women are defined in two different ways: “tomboys” and “sex objects”. This stereotype automatically puts women in a situation that they did not expect. If the girls are “tomboys”, they are not respected, and do not become a part of the gang. A woman used as a “sex object” is still disrespected, and now becomes the property of the gang. They become a possession of the gang, and are often victimized by many male members.
The levels of organization within a crime group rely on many different factors. A distinct differentiation between levels of membership, roles, charters, and annual meetings all attribute to the level of organization that a gang is at. Many outlaw gangs have high levels of organization similar to those of the Army. However, not all gangs are organized, and many news broadcasts enforce a highly popular view of organized crime and its effects.
This article provided me with the quotes I was looking for, specifically about gender roles within gangs. I believe that these gender roles are important to identify, especially with the rising popularity of motorcycle clubs and their depiction of such roles to the public. It is important to differentiate correct behavior and wrong behavior, especially to an easily influenced audience.
As in other books, I have chosen specific passages to help further my research. I found an interesting part of cultural criminology and the acceptance of violence and crime in society today. This passage says that people commit crimes to gain some personal freedom and act as a ‘resistance to authority’. This explains why outlaw motorcycle clubs are so attractive to war veterans and youths who feel constrained by civil life.
The second passage is about the media and how they glorify events to make them seem more attractive to the reader. It is a selfish reason to do so, to keep ratings up as well as make money. This is relevant in my research paper because of the stereotypes that surround the ‘biker persona’ and how the media has exaggerated their image.
Noll, Michael A. The Evolution of Media. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2007. Print.
In this book, I pulled a particular chapter to focus on. I looked at the consumer perspective section of how things are determined to be ‘popular’. This chapter looks at all different parts of media such as photography, television, and movies. It does not go into specifics, but it gives a great overview of how different things are appealing to the consumers and how consumer interests drives the market and determines other factors such as price and quality. It is these kinds of things that are increasing popularity in the ‘motorcycle culture’ of today, and that will continue to thrive as long as consumers are interested. This chapter will give perfect examples and evidence to back up the popularity of motorcycle culture in the American Middle-Class.
Packer, Jeremy. Coffey, Mark. “Hogging the Road.” Cultural Studies. Volume 18 Issue 5, p641-674, p34. N.p. Web. 3 October 2012
In this article, Packer uses the Guggenheim’s The Art of the Motorcycle Exhibit as an example of the evolution of public interest in motorcycles and the acceptance of this interest in museums. Packer mentions the R.U.B’s and the family-friendly values that have been implemented into motorcycle culture, as I have seen in other articles as well. This will make it easy to connect throughout my paper. The author notes that the Guggenheim’s exhibit of motorcycles attracted many ‘first-timer’ visitors of museums, and also attracted a lot of criticism. Many art critics were disapproving of many of the museum’s visitors, and saw them as ‘unfit’ for attending such a prestigious exhibit.
Packer makes an extremely interesting point when he says that motorcycle clubs resemble primitive tribes. He supports this statement by pointing out the failure to abide by laws, the pressure to get tattoos and distinguish themselves from others, and the nomadic lifestyle. Packer calls this a “modern primitive.”
Although this article goes off point when discussing the process of funds and exhibition styles, I found it very useful. Packer brings up a lot of good points and I love that he tied this all in with the Guggenheim’s Art of the Motorcycle Exhibit. He adds a lot of new perspective to the topic, and gave me ideas of where to expand my research.
Rollins, Joan. Women’s Minds/Women’s Bodies: The Psychology of Women in a Biosocial Context. Upper Saddle River, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1996. Print.
This book focuses on the role of women in society, relationships, and gender roles. In my essay I want to explore the role of women in motorcycle clubs and how they are portrayed in television. And in turn, how this affects the audience and their perception of women in society.
I also want to move these stereotypes into the ‘biker women’s’ effort to break them and become their own cyclist and be independent of the men. Motorcycle producers are also making motorcycles that are tailored to women’s bodies and proportions. This is an example of the more pronounced women’s roles in the motorcycle clubs of today, and how popular this movement is.
Scelfo, Julie. “Move Aside, Easy Rider.” Newsweek. n.p. Web. 3 October 2012.
This article focuses on women, and their role in motorcycle culture. Scelfo identifies that women are most often an accessory on the back of a motorcycle and argues that more women are buying and learning how to ride their own motorcycles. She also says that producers are designing new motorcycles to better suit the female physique. Scelfo claims that women are reinventing motorcycle culture, and revamping their image.
I found this article very interesting, and I want to touch upon female roles and how they are portrayed on television in motorcycle clubs. I think that women are often degraded and used as a sex symbol, especially in television, and I want to find out how this affects the public opinion of female roles.
Schouten, John. McAlexander, James. “Subcultures of Consumption: An Ethnography of the New Bikers.” Journal of Consumer Research. Volume 22 Issue 1, p43-61. N.p. Web. 3 October 2012.
This article is unique to the others I have used in my research. These two authors went undercover in a real biker gang to be able to write this article. They gained the trust of a club, and learned all of their traditions and mannerisms that makes a ‘real biker’. The authors call the motorcycle culture a “subculture of consumption” which includes a social hierarchy, a unique set of beliefs and ethics, rituals, and distinctive symbols that are representative of important values. Schouten and McAlexander join an HDSC, “a Harley-Davidson-orientated subculture of consumption”, and climb the social ladder of a motorcycle club.
This article provided valuable insight into the complicated structure of an organized group with first hand experience. Although the authors may have not joined an outlaw gang, many motorcycle clubs have the same structure, traditions, and values, they are just expressed in different ways. The authors also experienced the attraction of owning a motorcycle and becoming a part of a club. They began to understand why so many others before them allow motorcycles to consume their lives. As researchers, it is important to understand the mindset of those joining such an organization to fully understand the attraction and what it meant for them.
I plan to use this article to strengthen my opinion on the popularity of motorcycle clubs today, and the treatment of outlaw clubs. I would also like to mention the behaviorisms of outlaw clubs vs. Non-outlaw clubs as well as those who do not ride.
Thompson, Hunter S. Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. New York: Ballantine Books, 1966. Print.
In this book, Thompson goes through the history of the Hell’s Angels and other outlaw motorcycle gangs and how they are represented or misrepresented in the media. Thompson uses police reports, first-hand accounts, and witness statements to illustrate the difference of accounts based on who you are speaking too. The media tends to overplay events or, in some cases, create fictional events to create a certain reaction to the gangs. Police reports are based on other people’s versions of the what happened, from which they try to figure out the truth. First-hand accounts are from actual gang members, and their view is mostly biased because they do not see their actions as wild or crazy, just as a normal day. The witness accounts can be biased as well, based on their personal preferences to certain people or things. In a way, it is very hard to understand which is the truth because of all of the different perspectives out there.
This book provided me with excellent quotes from members of Hell’s Angels, and how the media is involved with their public image. It also gave me new ideas to expand on, such as the ‘colors’ that they wear on special occasions and when they have club events. These rules and traditions represent the organization of the clubs and how they are misrepresented in the media in certain ways.
Wood, John. “Hell’s Angels and the Illusion of the Counterculture.” Journal of Popular Culture. Volume 37 Issue 2, p336-351. N.p. Web. 3 October 2012.
In this article, Wood specifically uses the Hell’s Angels as an example for his work. He differentiates between the first Hell’s Angels clubs in the early 1950’s and the Hell’s Angels of 1960 to the 1980’s. These new Hell’s Angels were part of a tight-knit, business-like, outlaw corporation. Wood also connects the Hell’s Angels with the ‘counterculture’ of the 1960’s. The hippies, revolutionists, and student radicals were all a part of the 1960’s counter culture and saw the Hell’s Angels as rebels who held the same values that they did. Wood disagrees with their acceptance of the Hell’s Angels into the counterculture by saying that the Angels were only looking to do drugs and have a good time, and that they held none of the same values. Here is another example of the distorted ‘biker image’ and how it affects the public’s perception of them. Since the government was against these motorcycle clubs, the hippies and student radicals supported them. It is a classic example of the phrase ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ I think I can use aspects of this article to illustrate the fact that the public opinion of motorcycle clubs has come full circle. From fear, to acceptance, back to fear, and then with the reconstruction of the biker image in the 1980’s, back to acceptance. And this is where we still stand today.