Biker babes and bitches: gendered power negotiations in Sons of Anarchy




Fletcher, Tara Lynn

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Recent years have seen an increased fascination with the outlaw motorcycle subculture and its infusion into segments of mainstream culture. The fashion industry, entertainment industry, and auto industry have all benefited from the surge of outlaw popularity. Sons of Anarchy, an American crime drama television series depicting an outlaw motorcycle club, is the most recognizable public face of this very guarded subculture. This study examines gendered power negotiations in Sons of Anarchy. Using insights from gender theory, I conduct a textual analysis of thirty-four episodes purposively selected from throughout the series' seven year run on cable television. The results of this study reveal the dynamics of gendered power and how women associated with this outlaw motorcycle club experience, resist, and occasionally usurp power in this male dominated subculture. I introduce a typology of resistance that was developed for this project where refusal, retaliation and ruse are the reactive forms of resistance against domination. The popularity of Sons of Anarchy makes it a cultural artifact deserving of sociological research.


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biker, domination, gender, outlaw, power, resistance