Stereotyping Bikers: The Media’s Portray Vs. Reality
Many motorcycle riders both male and female have been portrayed as deviants in American society since the first bicycle was motorized in the early 1900’s (Dulaney, 2005). The media has played a large role in the publics’ perception the biker persona. The reality is most of the clubs and riders do it for the camaraderie and feeling of being on the open road. They also ride for charities and many other positive activities. Less than one percent of bikers and the clubs engage in miscreant behavior. The media has failed to expose all of the good things that a majority of bikers do for the community and continue to render an immoral public view. Biker Club Beginnings
Most people have learned the little they know about motorcycle clubs from mass media (Harper & Moore, 1983). Pop-culture has depicted bikers and their clubs as vigilantes, loners, and rebels, giving the non-biker world an extremely distorted view of what being a biker is all about. A majority of these clubs are considered to be conventional and were brought together simply by brotherhood and for the love and pleasure of riding (Barker, 2005). One of the earliest officially formed conventional clubs was the New York Motorcycle Club. They joined with the Alpha Motorcycle Club of Brooklyn to form the Federation of American, which eventually became the American Motorcycle Association (AMA). The focus of this club was to improve driving conditions for motorcyclists. In 1940, the AMA sanctioned an all-female motorcycle club, known as the Motormaids. Still actively operating today, they are the first and oldest all female club riding organization. Promoting safe riding and setting a positive image is what this diverse group of female riders strives for (Dulaney, 2005). The immoral views began with the advent of the motorcycle clubs that were formed shortly after World War II. The end of the war saw our young veterans were returning from a war-torn land to a civilized environment. These young men had bonded from basic training through the horrific experience of battle. Many veterans returned suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Not being able to cope with the scars of war, numerous heroic veterans resorted to alcohol in an attempt to self heal themselves with laughter, but this type of behavior was not conducive to American Culture. These war torn veterans were looking for the adrenaline rush that they had experienced during war. Many of these young men had been taught to ride motorcycle as part of their combat training. Others were not officially trained, but sought out the thrill of riding motorcycles to relieve the stress of armed conflict. It was not long before these young men began to search each other out and used their learned American motorcycle to get their blood pumping again (Dulaney, 2005). The biker club culture was born in America. How the Media Portrays Bikers
The largest percentage of bikers and clubs today are anything but the vigilante hoodlums negatively portrayed by the media. In fact, of the roughly 25 million bikers (Motorcycle Industry Council, n.d.)...