Motorcyclists are known for being bad, free-spirited and never playing by the rules. The history of motorcycles consists of stories mostly about men. Hell’s Angels, Outlaws, 69’rs, Black Sabbath and many more are popular motorcycle gangs that have solidified the rider stereotype. But things are changing in the biker scene; women are increasingly speeding into the rear view mirrors of cars on motorcycles, shifting the image of rugged, men-only, beards and brews to a massive network of women rocking leather, tattoos and touring all over the United States.
One biker gang that’s increasingly becoming known on Instagram is the Litas. Members are a community of women who support individuality and “bad-assery.” They represent being independent and living life on the road. Their group contains 4,000 women riders from 24 different countries. They have a website for their members and supporters, as well as sell merchandise sporting their brand. This is only one of many woman biker gangs around the world. Others include Leather and Lace, The Bikerni, The Female Bikers of Marrakesh and many more.
Motorcycle companies have taken note of the increase of women venturing onto the scene and have introduced smaller figured bikes to fit the female figure. “[Motorcycle companies] are responding with updated versions of classic bikes, like the Ducati Scrambler, Honda Rebel 300/500, BMW G310R and Harley-Davidson’s 2017 Street Rod — bikes with smaller frames but big engines that appeal to female riders, as well as other amenities,” said Kellie Ell of USA Today.
Biker gangs are assumed to be typically man-driven. This is completely true, according to Catherine Martin. “They are run very firmly by men who have usually clawed their way to the top of this primal food chain, and considering the general savagery of the ordinary member, that’s impressive.”
According to a female biker forum, if you are a single woman in an all-gender biker gang, consider yourself disrespected and open to all men. “Women must be outwardly submissive, be thick-skinned about sexist attitudes, and be able to get along reasonably well with the other women.”
Women in biker gangs enter in with male partners, and when deciding to leave the club, all ties are lost. The ocean of friends and family they once considered close is completely denigrated.
“Every woman going in knows that every part of her club affiliation is on loan to her by her Bandido [man]; PBOL patches and clothes included, and he can take it all away whenever he pleases,” said Martin.
When you’re in a multi-gendered biker gang as a woman, you are expected to be with a man who essentially “owns” you, or so it seems. This is why all-women biker gangs are so essential to our society.
Perhaps it’s due to the feminist movement of the 20th century leading to more independence for women by riding motorcycles. Either way, this movement is extremely positive for females everywhere and is shaping the biker culture into something more based on gender equality. In today’s biking world it’s about passion and love for the sport, rather than power, ownership and ego. And as time goes on hopefully this momentum will lead to mixed gender biker gangs as well.