September 2011 Archives

The road to empowerment

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What does the road mean in "Pow Wow Highway"?

To me the road in Pow Wow highway in fact did represent a number of things, many of which have been mentioned by other classmates. I would like to examine the road as a path to empowerment for all of the movie's characters. Each of the the movie's characters is battling their own individual as well as racially related oppression. Buddy Redbow is battling political pressure from outside the tribe- Philbert is battling oppression related to his weight and his individual spiritual beliefs; Bonnie Redbow is battling legal oppression from inside a jail cell. Wolf and his wife are battling against members of their own reservation. And collectively they are battling the racial oppression felt by Native people's for hundreds of years, and trying to come to terms with life as a Native and what that means to them in modern times. Through their experiences on the road which take them outside of "normal" daily life, they forced to observe each other's battle, to examine each others reactions to their common situation. By learning how others are coping with the same challenges, they learn about themselves and are empowered by the notion that although different, they are not alone in this battle against racial circumstance.

Masculinity = defense and teaching

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

In Pow Wow highway, the two main characters are both powerful, masculine men. I do not think there is a huge disparity in the way the two are gendered, except that Buddy receives more sexual attention from women than does Philbert. I think there is a hint of romance between Philbert and Bonnie Red Bow, however, so he is masculinized in that way a little bit. It seems like the two men each fulfill different masculine modern Cheyenne roles. Maybe Philbert can be likened to a wise old spiritual guide, while Buddy is like a young, restless warrior. Both are archetypal American Indian male leaders. In the film, as in historical life, there are overlaps and other types of males, but these two are focal. To put it another way, more translatable to white masculinity, Buddy is like jaunty soldier, and Philbert is like Grandpa. Each has a certain necessary value, attraction, and masculine contribution. This is demonstrated in the glorification of Buddy's stance against oil drilling on Indian land, and the sexual attraction Rabbit feels for him after the bar fight. We don't ever see women doing any fighting, physically or politically. They just talk, if that. Philbert performs the role of cultural teacher for Bonnie's two kids, especially the son. I think this is a masculinized role in the film, since Bonnie has so far neglected to teach them their heritage; she is not directly confronted with this neglect at any point, maybe because it wasn't her "role as a woman" to teach them. At any rate, the passing on of sacred knowledge is a male deal in the film always, as demonstrated in the crude and jaded speech of Aunt Harriet, and the radio conversation between Philbert and another Native American man. I think the road narrative demonstrates the need for both types of Indian masculinity, showing how an inner balance is always necessary to maintain your identity in diaspora, and showing when brute force is good or spiritual meditation is better.

Contradictions

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How does PWH bring race and ethnicity to the road film?

Pow Wow Highway definitely brought in a different perspective of the road that contrasts to Easy Rider and Girl on a Motorcycle. We saw that Philbert could hardly afford a 'trade' for his 'pony', and even after a trade of (probably) pot, his ride was a rundown heap of junk. Yet in Easy Rider and Girl on a Motorcycle, their rides are much more attractive and functioning well. Although this film attempts to bring in a story of the Cheyenne, it is wrought with stereotypical aspects that gnaw at it's 'authenticity'. When Philbert makes his 'trade' for his 'pony', he brings out whatever he has in his pockets, but the most noticeable: the bottle of alcohol. He later shares a joint with Buddy, who is quite shocked that this heap of junk is Philbert's car. This shock only contributes to the stereotype of poor Indigenous peoples. Laderman discusses marginalized peoples when speaking of Smoke Signals and interestingly notes how one of the characters can't afford the trip (230). We see the same thing in PWH. Has Hollywood taken it too far? Of course.
Despite history of assimilation, the producers and directors interestingly want the Indigenous people's to 'reclaim' their culture. During PWH we see several of Philbert's visions, but the epitome of these visions was when Buddy was fully dressed in Cheyenne garments, launching a weapon, mid-air, into a police windshield. Laderman concludes that these films have a 'returning home', an embrace of one's culture that must be attained. For Buddy it's apparent that he finally came around to embrace his Cheyenne heritage, despite his voiced reluctance earlier in the film. When he leaped forward and launched that window in his Cheyenne garb, we see Buddy joining in on Philbert's visions and passion. We see a man who's "red" wasn't washed off.

On the Road Again

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What does the road mean in "Pow Wow Highway"?

Like Easy Rider, the road definitely represents freedom for the characters of Pow Wow Highway. In contrast however, it represents a spiritual journey as well. Phil is essentially using this journey to reconnect with his ancestors and he finds how much the historical landmarks actually mean to him. He collects tokens on the way and eventually gets Buddy to see the spiritual significance of their journey. He also positively influences the children and really connects them to their heritage. The road is a form of liberation too, especially for Buddy. He has very strong viewpoints of what is going on at the time and going on the road gives him the opportunity to protest in other places besides their home town. He's trying to spread his message as far as he can because they meet a lot of other tribes and influential people on their journey. Ultimately, at the end you realize the characters were meant to go on this journey and they've grown closer to their heritage, closer to their tribe, and closer to each other.

Noticeable Race

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How does "Pow Wow Highway" bring race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider"?

In Easy Rider, the viewer hardly notices that race is a factor in the film. The protagonists are white males, however we do not initially notice their race as a major factor within the film. In Pow Wow Highway, the viewer instantly notices the Native American ethnicity. The race of the men in Pow Wow strikes us as more important to the story because their race adds more to the narrative. In Pow Wow, the Native American ethnicity is the movie's focus and the plot corresponds to their race. The minorities are now our protagonists while white people rarely make an appearance in the film. As the viewers, we want the traveling men to achieve their goals on the road no matter their race or ethnicity. When the main characters are of a different ethnicity, we tend to notice their differences more-so than the minorities within the white, male road film.

Masculinities in "Pow Wow Highway"

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip?

"Pow Wow Highway" challenges the traditional white male roles of a road film. This film was not a journey on the road for freedom or to rebel against society. Rather, there was a journey with purpose to save someone from jail. There was also a journey for identity and a quest for acceptance. Last there was the "journey" of the warrior, a Native American male's journey of identity filled with generalizations and stereotypes, for example the car being a pony. Throughout the film the two Native American protagonists are on this multifaceted journey which we assume they return home at the end. At the end of the films we've seen the character whom cannot live acceptably within society is killed. This film challenges the traditional white male roles of a road film by not killing off the two protagonists at the end of the film, thereby allowing the characters "unfit for society" to continue to break the law and other stereotypes embedded within the film.

Race and ethnicity in road movie paradigm

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In Easy Rider, no other race was really present besides White. The first scenes in Pow Wow Highway you see is Native Americans, I am assuming living on the reservations and hanging out in the local bar. This film shows our American culture that other races besides White that can explore the open road and still feel the same feelings of adventure of owning a car.

powwow rider! (get it?)

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How does "Pow Wow Highway" bring race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider"? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

Although powwow rider was way more enjoyable than the easy rider, both powwow highway and easy rider were centered around two main characters who get on the road with a specific purpose, and their journey ended up being more eventful than their goal. In powwow rider the struggles of reservation-dwelling Native Americans in the North Central states of the US was highlighted.The dirty tricks of the corporate world were also exposed, and the corporate world was primarily composed of the whites which brings in the aspect of racism. In both movies, the protagonists had contrasting personalities. Philbert was a more sober, spiritual character whereas buddy had a macho, materialistic personality. Throughout the movie the struggle of the Indians against the whites was portrayed. Buddy's best friend was moving out of his town, as a bunch of white goons had targeted him and destroyed his shop! Buddy always stood up for his race, and tried his best to fight against the oppression. Both buddy and Philbert were very proud of their race. In the easy rider their 'race' was primarily because of their behavior/personality not because of their skin color, in other words they became social outsiders by choice, which is an important distinction.

In the film "Easy Rider" the counter culture was represented by the main characters donning alternative clothing and growing out their hair, in which case they may have easily been able to alter their appearance in order to fit in with popular culture. However in the film "Pow Wow Highway" the main characters are unable to chance their appearance to join into popular culture because it is their ethnicity which makes them different and oppressed. The symbol of their journey being their beat-up car. This car symbolizes many of the things that the motorcycles represented in "Easy Rider". The automobile facilitated as their getaway vehicle in a number of scenes, more prominently the scene in which they beat up a car stereo salesman, and while helping Bonnie escape from jail. Unlike "Easy Rider," the conflict for the film derives from their ethnicity and belonging to a counter-culture which isn't accepted by all people. It is from here that "Pow Wow Highway" is different from "Easy Rider." Interestingly, I would like to point out that of all the films we have watched, in "Easy Rider" and "Girl On a Motorcycle," the main characters have all died. However in "Pow Wow Highway" all of the main characters are able to avoid death from a fiery car crash. This effectively ends the road film which suggests that the car is what made them relevant to the road film. The end of their journey is still unknown.

To Post Bail and Find Tokens

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In the movie "Pow Wow Highway", race and ethnicity are the motivating factors behind Buddy and Philbert's journey. Initially, Buddy set off for Santa Fe to bail his sister out of prison, but along the way he discovers what it means to be a Cheyenne in post-Vietnam America. Also, he finds escape from the troubles on the reservation by embarking on this journey with Philbert. Buddy has a strong connection with his Native American heritage and this is evident with his combat style attitude and fierce pride invested in his reservation. He sees an opposite side to the fighter personality in his friend, who decides to leave the reservation for a better life with his wife and future child. This makes him question whether there is another lifestyle to the one he is living and if the fight he is giving so much up for is worth it. The scene where he begins to dance alongside others in a pow wow is representative of his transition from fierce warrior to peaceful participant. It also depicts a side of Buddy that is softer. Furthermore, Buddy is able to make an unwarlike connection with his ethnicity. Philbert sets off on the journey to find his 'tokens' and connect with ethnicity. For him the road is the way to establish a link between him and his ancestors. "Pow Wow Highway" takes the road movie one step further from "Easy Rider" by making the main characters Native American. It shows how underprivileged people of a different race are compared to the white American male.

Masculine Typing

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip?

The racialized masculinity of what is means to be a male Native American is represented in this film. Countless examples of Native American men drinking, smoking, living in run down houses, driving old cars and more. The character Redbow especially portrays the aggressive macho man, who is proud of his heritage and does not want to lose his community, however, through the road trip Redbow becomes somewhat softened as a character which transforms slightly his racialized masculinity.

Fight or Flight

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How does "Pow Wow Highway" bring race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider"? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.
-"Pow Wow Highway" is contradictory to the paradigm set by "Easy Rider" because Buddy and Philbert fight back against their discrimination rather than just acquiesce like Wyatt and Billy. Philmore and Buddy are definitely shot within a dominant white perspective but there are instances where that dominance is clearly challenged. In "Easy Rider," Wyatt and Billy ran away from the discrimination they received from the southerners, whereas Philbert and Buddy fought against their anti-Native American pressures. A good example of this is the scene where Philbert and the kids are trying to break Bonnie out of jail. When Wyatt and Billy were in jail, they eased their way out of it by befriending an important lawyer, which shows their race in the "white" and masculine road movie paradigm. To contrast, Philbert tows the wall off of Bonnie's jail cell to bust her out, which is a good example of the way that Philbert and Buddy fought back against what came to them. The difference between the scenes in the two movies is that the same endeavor was more difficult for the Native Americans than it was for the white people. The Cheyenne seem stronger and more content than Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider," based on their attitudes towards their own discrimination.

Racialized Masculinity

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip?

Redbow attributes much if his masculinity to his battle history. Throughout the film his status as a veteran is emphasized, and he seems to validate his place as a man in the tribe by his veteran status. When Redbow and Philbert arrive at Redbow's battle friend's house, Redbow's friend asks Philbert if he battled, and Philbert says "No, I heard about it, though.." It is evident that Philbert feels emasculated by his dissociation from this token of Cheyenne manhood, and he feels that, as a Cheyenne man, it is his destiny to become a warrior. Throughout the movie he transforms himself into such.

Easy Living Vs Cultural Struggle

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In Easy Rider the two men were chosen members of the counter culture, and had the option to change clothes and cut their hair to be considered normative. In Pow Wow Highway the characters were a different ethnicity then the dominant culture, and their being "racially different" or members of the sub-culture couldn't ever be changed. Shifting the paradigm of road movies as we've experienced them in class, Pow Wow Highway shows that the opportunity for escape and travel isn't given for minorities. Philbert has to purchase his sub par vehicle in exchange for the little drug or tobacco he has to offer. In Easy Rider the motorcycles (luxury vehicles) are initially present, and in the case of Girl on a Motorcycle, the vehicle of freedom is given, not earned. This shows the white privilege present in road films. It's also important to note the why these cultural differences are displayed within the road movie paradigm; In Easy Rider Wyatt and Billy often take drugs for recreation showing their freedom and dispensable income. In Pow Wow Highway Philbert has to use his drugs/tobacco as a resource to his freedom (his car/pony). At the end of the film the car crashes and blows up, but in Easy Rider the vehicles of freedom never failed the riders. Both films ended in the exploding of vehicles, but in Pow Wow Highway its likely that the vehicle would've died before the journey was over. This shows that people of color don't have sustainable modes of freedom, and although the main characters in Pow Wow Highway survived the movie they're back at square one having no vehicle of freedom. For Wyatt and Billy it really was an Easy Ride, but for people of color the journey in road films is a struggle, easily becoming stagnant, and is not sustainable for a lifetime.

powwow highway-group 1

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip?

We see white culture masculinity portrayed in shop-owners, policemen, and other men Buddy and Philbert encounter on their roadtrip. It is characterized a need to control situations and resources, a desire to colonize and expand their territory, and by a confidence they are both right in doing so and will be able to do whatever they want. The characters who present this kind of masculinity remain fairly stagnant throughout the film, as they are not on a road trip.
Buddy and Philbert represent two different types of masculinity which may reflect their Cheyenne culture. Buddy personifies the warrior. He has physically fought for the United States, Wounded Knee, and the American Indian Movement. He continues to fight for his tribe and does not shy from any sort of confrontation. Buddy also has the stereotypically masculine trait of bottling his emotions unless they are anger, though this may not necessarily have anything to do with his race's expectations for masculinity. Over the duration of the road trip, Buddy learns to control his aggression and connect with his other emotions as well as his history and culture. This embracement of his culture is another form of Cheyenne masculinity. The chief shows Cheyenne masculinity by being a generally calm and wise character. He is also the interracially-considered masculine character of defender/protector, which is shown in his desire to do what is best for his tribe, going after Buddy and Philbert and Bonnie when he realizes they are in trouble, and letting the cows loose so they can escape. Philbert is spiritually masculine. He draws his emotional strength and confidence from a connection with his ancestors and tokens he finds along the road trip. With each token he finds his spiritual connection and self-confidence increase, so one might say this part of his masculinity increases as the road trip goes on.

Putting the "Pow!" In Pow Wow Highway

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

Red Bow believes that to be masculine and Native American, one must have a lot of pride. To show his pride, he often gets into altercations with those around him in order to prove that the Native Americans will not back down from their rights. An example of his pride was shown when Red Bow and Buddy go to get new stereo equipment for the car. Red Bow assumes that the guy at the electronics store gave him faulty equipment, because of who he is. He gets into a verbal as well as physical altercation with the man. If Red Bow had taken the simpler route that Buddy did in trying to figure out the radio, there would've been no such altercation. But because of his racial masculinity, he gets into a fight. Throughout the journey, he is transformed by taking Buddy's route to Santa Fe, which makes many stops at peaceful and spiritual Native American sites. He learns that his problems cannot be solved by anger all the time, and well thought out planning can actually lead to good things, as shown by Buddy breaking Red Bow's sister out of jail.

Race & Ethnicity in the Road Movie Paradigm

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How does "Pow Wow Highway" bring race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider"? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

The film "Easy Rider" set out to tell the story of a journey of two "outsiders," but I felt it rang false because of the obvious privilege of its white male protagonists. "Pow Wow Highway," similiarly, brings us two male characters on a road trip, but their outsider status is reinforced by Buddy and Philbert's ethnicity. From the very beginning of the film, the history of Native Americans' struggles in the U.S. is mirrored by plotline in which the developer attempts to take over the Cheyenne reservation through a strip mining contract. I thought that this was meaningful because of the parallel of the tribes' loss of land at the hands of European/white settlers to the loss of land to greedy (white) industrialists. Unlike the men of "Easy Rider," whose goal is to party and meet women at Mardi Gras, Buddy and Philbert's jouney reminds the viewer of the historic struggle of Native Americans to simply claim a space to call their own. This contrasts with "Easy Rider," in which the characters' home is never a particularly an important or salient point because of its protagonists' inherent ability to 'belong" anywhere in America.

The Road To Freedom and Identity

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What does the road mean in "Pow Wow Highway"? The road in "Pow Wow Highway" serves as a means to an end. Two ends, in fact, depending on which protagonist is being examined. The road, in itself, is a white man's invention. The movie, taking place well after the subjugation, though during the marginalization, of Native Americans, examines how the protagonists use the tools of their social oppressors to gain freedom and identity. For Buddy, the road is the pathway to freedom, leading him to his imprisoned sister. She symbolizes the oppression of Native Americans, which Buddy spends his life combating. For Filbert, the road is the path to his spiritual identity. Both protagonists achieve their goal when Buddy's sister is freed from jail with Filbert's "war pony" serving as the martyr, sacrificing itself in battle. The subversive use of the White Man's avenues fulfills our heroes destinies, both becoming what they set out to become.

guns vs fists...and a pony.

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

The scenes in "Pow Wow Highway" that seem to represent radicalized masculinities to me were through methods, fists vs guns and who got to use either/or in the movie. Buddy Red Bull does have a gun, but never shoots it due to being thrown by Philbert's pony which damaged the gun. The radio shop sales guy unloads his gun on a public street after being beaten up and having his shop destroyed by Buddy. The only other characters in the movie having guns are the police, who, including the female officer(character is meaned and toughened up)are all white. This could suggest that masculinity as a white man would mean having and operating a firearm, while a Native American would be fighting with is fists and in Philbert's case, not at all. But he does have a rather fast & strong pony that plays a large part in them traveling from Montana to Santa Fe, in addition to breaking down the jail wall to free Buddy's sister. Not bad at all for and old broken down and hugely neglected pony.

race and ethnicity on the road

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In "Easy Rider" Wyatt and Billy was discriminated because society didn't think they were up to their standard of what they call normal and because of that through out their journey on the road they were treated as such. They were denied food at a restaurant, denied a place to sleep, and eventually killed on the road because they were different even though they were white like their peers. In "Pow Wow Highway" as they are on the road, they are not discriminated against because of society standards but because they are a different race. They were native Americans and for that they were discriminated against. Outsiders tried to take their rich land from them because they don't have as much power as the outsiders. there weren't many of them compared to the outsiders but they stood together to stand against discrimination. when Philbert went to the police station to break buddy's sister out of jail, another native American man who was there to visit buddy's sister saw the whole incident but kept quiet and left. As buddy, Philbert and the rest were being chased by the police after they broke buddy's sister out, their fellow native American help them go further by opening the door to a lot of cows so they can block the road and stop the police from catching them.

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How does "Pow Wow Highway" bring race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider"? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

"Pow Wow Highway" revolves around the fact the characters are Native American. The whole story centers on the ethnicity of Buddy and Philbert, while "Easy Rider" is just another example of the invisibility of whiteness. It's interesting to juxtapose the two films, especially during scenes when Philbert pays his respects to various monuments and landmarks that are quite significant in his culture. Not a single scene similar to the aforementioned scenes could be found in "Easy Rider." It's inevitable that Wyatt and Billy passed historical American landmarks during their journey, but we saw that money and tripping on acid during Mardi Gras were their only motives. Comparing "Pow Wow Highway" and "Easy Rider," it seems if the characters are not white, the characters' race and ethnicity would have to be the center of the story in order for them to not be set in the background with the props.

Tokens of Masculinity

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip?
The tokens that present themselves to Philbert on the journey represent a physical symbol of progress to become a Cherokee warrior. I think Philbert believes that the spirits are revealing themselves to him and that if he collect four tokens he will become worthy of being a warrior. An example of how the tokens have transformed Philbert on the road trip was when Philbert descended the mountain in the Black Hills and Buddy approaches him angrily. Philbert picked Buddy up by the shirt vest and proclaimed that he (Philbert) was no longer a boy to be pushed about.

Freedom isn't free, it cost 1.05

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What does the road mean in "Pow Wow Highway". Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

The road has multiple meanings in this film (as my classmates have already said). A meaning the road has that I would like to elaborate on, is the meaning of freedom. Aside from the obvious reasonings why the road represents freedom I saw freedom working on a deeper layer in these characters. A freedom that Philbert encountered was his freedom to follow his ancestors with out scrutiny. While Redbow eventually found the freedom to be vulnerable and show emotions. These two unique freedoms were found on the road, and I am starting to believe that the characters couldn't discover them anywhere else. What I'm trying to say is that the road means freedom, and not just the obvious definition of freedom, but the freedom to be "more" than when you left. The road represents the freedom to grow spiritually and mentally.

Same race different attitudes

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Though "Powwow Highway" follows the road movie paradigm as set by "Easy Rider", it brings the Indian culture of the two main characters into focus. Instead of having two main characters who embody very similar characteristics, Buddy and Philbert represent two very different modern day Cheyenne indians. One example of this is when the men are partway through their journey and Buddy sees Philbert in the middle of the river. Philbert is waist deep with his head back singing a traditional indian song. Philbert feels such a connection with his ancestry and Native American roots while Buddy finds them useless when trying to protect their reservation. This juxtaposition of emotions and opinions highlights the need for both attitudes on the road ahead. When Buddy wades into the river and starts to sing with Philbert he is at first hesitant but gives into the feeling and seems to feel no less at home then Philbert. The two men represent a joining of battles. Buddy who physically fought in Wounded Knee and is fighting again to preserve the reservation lands and Philbert who struggles to keep the Cheyenne culture alive and relevant in such a tumultuous time.

A Spiritual Journey

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"Pow Wow Highway" brings race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider" by using spiritual undertones present in Native American culture. Philberts journey is one of a search for signs and spirituality. When Philbert takes the detour that leads them to South Dakota to gain power, it is much like when Captain America stopped at the hippie commune. Although the commune represents the free love and drugs attitude of many white American's at the time, the contrasting search for spiritual power emphasizes the race and culture of Native Americans.

"This ain't the American Dream"

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1. What does the road mean in "Pow Wow Highway". Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

The road in "Pow Wow Highway" represents the American Dream. The American Dream to me means being able to live the life you want. The road is the journey to that dream for Philbert and Red Bow. Each man has a different dream, but they both ultimately want better lives for themselves and their people. Red Bow wants his community to be able to prosper and not stay behind in the slums. He is relentless and hotheaded, but underneath that tough exterior lies a very heartwarming reason. His journey is not as obvious as Philbert's. The road for Red Bow is a journey that is supposed to test him and make him realize that he can't give up his cause, which is in protecting his community. Although in the beginning scenes at the town hall meeting he seems very fiery and passionate, I couldn't help but feel that Red Bow just felt defeated inside. Philbert on the other hand does not seem to mind living in poverty. He seems very oblivious to the economic issues that surround him. His point of interest is to be able to become a warrior while being guided by his visions and collect medicine. In the end I felt that Red Bow was ultimately understanding of this pursuit and he gained a certain respect for Philbert. The thing with Red Bow is that he is very aware that the world is changing and the corporate world wants to take the Cheyenne's land and resources. On the road the pair encounter many twists and turns, and on the way to free Bonnie, the two are actually freeing themselves. Any time a journey is taken on the road self-discovery is just around the corner. The "prize" at the end of the road is nothing more than self-discovery, but at the end of the day this is something that could not be achieved any other way. To recap, the American Dream is living the life you want to live. You have to be able to know and discover things about yourself in order to realize what you really want in life. For Philbert, he becomes a warrior and for Red Bow, he begins his journey as a warrior for his community.

The Road

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What does the road mean in "Pow Wow Highway"

The road in Pow Wow Highway is a zig zag journey for Philbert Bono and Buddy Redbow. It is a journey that not only brings them, the long way, to Buddy's sister in Santa Fe, but it also brings them into a realization that their heritage is truly important in their development of who they should be in the present. I think that the road represents two different things for the two friends. For Buddy Redbow's journey it represents his struggle with his inner conflict. Through this journey the film shows Buddy softening his hard super masculine personality. Like the road, that zig zags and goes out of the way, Buddy has many conflicts that are making many unpredictable turns, some being for the best and others that show his dark angry side. This journey concludes with Buddy, who was a stubborn man and who seemed to be an extremely angry man, being changed for the better by the trip. This road trip ended up helping him enjoy his heritage and in a way find some enjoyment in his life. The road also represents Philbert's journey to become a true warrior. I think the road represents a spiritual journey for him and a spiritual journey is not something that is direct it is something that takes a person in many unexpected directions. The road trip also helps Philbert in a positive way. As the two friends travel further on the road Philbert becomes more confident in himself and begins to stand up for himself and begins to take control.

pow wow highway

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I think the road in Pow Wow Highway is like a spiritual journey to seek out the real meaning of life as a cheyenne. Philbert is more into the journey than Red Bow but in order to travel along the road with Philbert, Red Bow has to have a part in the journey. Along the way they learn a lot of things that help them see the reality of things. They encounter American life and all of its challenges while seeking to help Bonnie. Philbert is on the journey to become a warrior. Red Bow is on a mission to set people straight.This movie teaches a lot of things that mean a lot. All of the characters had something to teach one another. In the end everyone came together and Philbert passed on his warrior items to Bonnie's son which signifies how Native Americans pass down things to keep tradition. Deep down this was a real eye opener and a really good movie.

Race and Pony

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The matters of race and ethnicity were explicitly addressed in Pow Wow Highway whereas race and ethnicity are not main themes of Easy Rider. The road movie paradigm set by Easy Rider is two men's journey together and their dynamic experiences on/out of the road. In Easy Rider, Wyatt and Billy is wandering around seeking for freedom and identity of America. On the other hand, Buddy and Philbert got on Philbert's pony from Montana to New Mexico to rescue Bonnie. In the similar road movie paradigm for both films, Easy Rider and Pow Wow Highway take different routes to reveal its focal point. Buddy and Philbert are actually quite different types of people and were not friends before the journey. Buddy is a politically motivated and veteran of Wounded Knee in 1973. He is described aggressive and bold. Philbert is a spiritual seeker and lives with metaphysic of things. By taking journey together, Buddy little by little finds his ethnicity through Philbert's spiritual characters. Most remarkable scene is when Philbert sings a ritual chant in a creek and Buddy at first reluctantly but soon sincerely sings the chant together. The scene especially strikes when it comes to Buddy finding his race and ethnicity identity. Therefore, the journey of Buddy and Philbert is a way of bringing race and ethnicity to Buddy's identity. Moreover, disparity of social status between races is conspicuous through the character of Sandy Youngblood. Even though Youngblood looks intelligent and professional, he is just a Native American to White Americans.

The Road in Pow Wow Highway

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What does the road mean in "Pow Wow Highway"? Group 1

The road in Pow Wow Highway is very different from the road in Easy Rider. In Easy Rider the characters see the road as their path to freedom, adventure and fun. In this American Indian road film, their journey on the road is very different. They're travelling to Santa Fe to save Buddy's sister, but the road brings them across many historically significant landmarks to the Cheyenne people. Visiting these places, and spending time with other Cheyenne, brings a more spiritual meaning to the road. Buddy and Phil reconnect with their ancestors and their history and use the power and knowledge they've gathered along the road to save Buddy's sister. While initially the road is just the path to helping family, we see a wider picture throughout the film of the spiritual side of the journey, and how it represents much more to the characters than just pavement.

Racialized Masculenities

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip?

The confrontational scene between Buddy and Sandy towards the end of the movie is emblematic of racialized masculenities throughout the film. Though over the course of the film we see Buddy's aggression (perceived as a manly unwillingness to deal with emotions and an irrationality delivered by testosterone) abate, he maintains righteous anger. Buddy beats up Sandy in a bar with clearly superior fighting moves that signify his masculinity and strength whereas Sandy's only addition is the "sissy" move of throwing his drink at Buddy. This is uniquely racialized because it seems to tie in Sandy's lack of masculinity to abandoning his Cheyenne identity. He is getting beaten up because he is whitewashed according to Billy and he's unable to fight back for the same reason. A dichotomy between white and Native American is reflected in the dichotomy between feminine and masculine. This remains static even though other definitions of masculinity are expanded by the journey like the acceptance of feelings and a willingness to settle down.

Red Skinned Men

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip?

Wolf Tooth and Chief Joseph are masculine men. Wolf Tooth is a veteran of Wounded Knee, a modern day warrior for the cause. He owns his own shop which is a significant accomplishment for the economic level of most Native Americans. This man has a wife and a baby on the way. Wolf Tooth is masculine but the road turns him into less of a man, at least by Buddy's standards. Buddy thinks Wolf Tooth is giving up on the cause by leaving Pine Ridge. We don't fully understand the situation at Pine Ridge but know it involves prejudice and shootings once a week. Wolf Tooth leaves this aggressive environment for Denver's suburbs. This does not soften Wolf Tooth's masculinity, it lowers it. He is no longer a macho man but something of a coward, a man who has accepted defeat. Chief Joseph is a strong, unyielding man in the beginning. He listens to the proceedings of the council, does his desk job and is firm in his reasoning. Chief Joseph is firm in his opinion of Buddy and believes that Buddy will get the bulls with the money- not just run off. This character of reasoning is altered a bit when Chief Joseph goes to Santa Fe to assist Buddy and Philbert. He discovered what was going on and took action. He has become a man of action who is still strong and of firm opinion, but he is now willing to make moves. The Chief Joseph who sat in a room listening to Sandy Youngblood's suave speech is not the same type of man who lets cattle out to prevent the police catching up. This chief is masculine enough to know when he has to stop listening and start taking action.

A Native Touch to Two Eggs Over "Easy"

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How does "Pow Wow Highway" compare to "Easy Rider" in the instance of the male role
and what are the differences reflected by the changes in race and ethnicity? How does
masculinity in each case effect the "journey" on the road?

Pow Wow Highway is almost a completely different film from Easy Rider, in my opinion. It is important to be able to differentiate the differences in the purpose of the
journey before reading into gender roles. We begin with Easy Rider. Two counter cultural
men set out on motorcycles to go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. They journey from
the west to the east. These main characters are immediately shown as alternative to the
socialistic norm because of their choice of vehicle, their clothing, and the direction
that they are traveling in. Motorcycles are more intimate of a vehicle than a car, giving
the main characters a greater sense of being one with nature, and being part of the
landscape. They are hippies, they have long hair, and they are constantly doing drugs.
There is no purpose to their journey, other than to show that they are freedom and living
it.

Pow Wow Highway is completely different. There are two main characters also traveling together, but both of them are completing two different journeys. Their experiences on the road are separate, but at the same time affecting each other. In Pow Wow Highway, the main characters ride in a car. The car is old and in a constant state of break down. They journey from north to south. These main characters are Native American, specifically Cheyenne. Philbert takes in his heritage and travels on a spiritual journey to collect four tokens so he can become a warrior. Buddy journeys for a more tangible purpose. His sister is framed and sent to jail. He travels to be the hero and come to the rescue.He is angry and volatile. The contrast between the two characters adds to their dynamic changes throughout the film. There is a point where Buddy begins to take back in some of the traditions of his heritage, such as the beaded necklaces, the singing, and the dancing.At the same time, Philbert begins to develop a sense of self. He begins to stand up for himself and stops feeling sorry for himself.

Both road films portray the male role as different from the norm. Both groups face adversity and unfair judgement. In Easy Rider, the male role is from counter culture and portrays freedom for freedom's sake. The purpose of the journey is to live it, to be it. In Pow Wow Highway, there are two journeys. One of self spiritual reflection and one of a purpose to save a family member. In Philbert's case, he is coming into his character, going on a spiritual journey to become the warrior he wants to be. Whereas Buddy is the oppressed "Alpha" male, type A, personality. He is quick to anger and jump into a fight. He has the "me against the world" thought process. Yet towards the end of the movie, he channels his energy to help his friends and family instead of getting into a fight for the heck of it. Pow Wow Highway adds to the male paradigm. And while both film send in a burning vehicle, it is refreshing to see that Philbert does not actually die at the hands of the road unlike the main characters of Easy Rider.

Pow Wow Highway group 3

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip?


Preceding the plot on Pow Wow Highway, it is known that the Native Americans have fought for hundreds of years to keep their rights and traditions. They have been pressed back against by the government and businessmen for years to give up their land and to become modern. Because there is so much pressure to be strong and to stand up for their tribe, the Native American men have no choice but to be extremely masculine. They have the mentality to protect their women, their people, their land, and their traditions. As all men are different, all men respond to these responsibilities differently. As the macho man, Red Bow is quite violent with protecting his people. In a certain case at the beginning of the movie when Young Blood, a fellow tribe member, tries to convince others to modernize their town, Red Bow stands up forcefully and grades him down. Later on in the movie he then takes on his anger and gets in a fight with Young Blood, to show him that the core values of the tribe do not correspond with modernizing the town. Philbert, a more humble man, takes his masculinity in a different direction. He still is gung ho for protecting the tribe, but he cares more about preserving the traditions and beliefs rather than the land. Along the trip, Red Bow gets dragged along Philberts spiritual journey and starts to realize how important the actual background of their culture is. At the end of the movie when Philbert almost dies, Red Bow realizes that it is okay to not be completely masculine all the time, and being able to show your feelings through a hug is quite all right. On the other hand, Philbert becomes more of a manly man by working on completing the journey to become a warrior. Along his journey, he rides his "pony" all around to different areas where he finds signs of his masculinity. At the end it all comes together when he breaks Bonnie out of the jail cell. Although the Native American culture has its stereotypes, this movie showed that they can all be changed through a spiritual journey.

Red Bow and Philbert.

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Pow Wow Highway brings race and ethnicity to the classic road movie with their upbringings and heritage of the Cheyenne. Along the entire journey, Philbert stops at many historical sights for the American Indian culture. It contrasts from the journey mad in Easy Rider because of the historical significance with the main character. In Easy Rider, they stop and meet new poeple. Now, while Pow Wow Highway still does that, it is focused more on the journey rather than the end result.

Race on the Road- best with a little sap

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How does "Pow Wow Highway" bring race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider"?

I find it fascinating in Laderman's chapter when he discusses Smoke Signals (albeit, a different movie, but it rang true here as well) when "it falters at times with moments of heavy-handed sentimentalism". This is due to, according to him, the fact that a movie that is culturally different than our norm is trying to be effective in both popularity and in ethnic authenticity. I find this to be a HUGE difference between Pow Wow Highway and Easy Rider. There wasn't a need for the same sentimentalism with white men. They were different than those around them but only in their choice of appearance and maybe their life choices. Not their culture/race. For Pow Wow Highway to bring race and ethnicity to the road needed more than just an observance of the race that was present (like when Red Bow said he had a red that couldn't be washed off), it needed an element of sappiness to get us all in the same boat with the characters we were trying to associate with. This is how we got the race and ethnicity of the characters into the plot- sentimental (but effective) introductions to the culture that wasn't the norm.

Philbert's Car

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

From the moment Philbert first buys his car there is a cut to brown horses roaming freely on a green prairie. He then makes a statement that he'll "take the brown one," meaning the car. The car represents a racialized masculinity in a couple of ways. First, its physical components--a dark rusting brown, broken or missing parts, nice stereo system, and faulty brakes--comprise a duality for Philbert. His masculinity is represented in the purchase of the car (owning it) and incorporating a stereo into its use. It allows for Philbert and his best friend Red Bow to somewhat engage in the freedom and independence of the open road. However the other components--its color and competence as a car are assigned to Philbert in a racialized way. The brown could be read as a signifier of Philbert's skin color and the competence of the car as an economic signifier he could not afford a new, flawless car. The car is ultimately destroyed, but is the transport for carrying Philbert and Red Bow to freedom (at least from the police in Santa Fe). Philbert has become more assertive, and Red Bow more compassionate. I think the destruction of the car eliminates both the freedom and racialization the characters encounter throughout the film, allowing for the chance to reexamine both their political and personal situations.

Paradigm of Pow Wow Highway

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Pow Wow high way brings race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider" in indirect manners. In "Easy Rider," Wyatt and Billy face direct measures of prejudice. However, this prejudice is not because of ethnicity, but because of social customs at the time. Their hair was the main difference that set them apart from society. All they had to do was cut their hair, and they would the fit back into the normal. Billy and Wyatt where never once socially pursued because of their race. However, in "Pow Wow Highway," Philbert and Red Bull are socially prosecuted for much different reasons. Their lives are shown in a "White eye." The movie shows Cheyenne life as drugs, harsh conditions, and penury. Though these were real issues the Cheyenne had dealt with, they are personified to glorify the white man. Also, when both Philbert and Red Bull go into the radio shop to buy a radio for the car, the manager treats them as if they're poor; offering the lowest costing radio. Even when Sandy YoungBlood ventures out and becomes assimilated into "White culture," he is still treated as an outsider because of his original ethnicity. Towards the end of the movie when Red Bull states, "My red will never wash off," this is the ultimate symbol showing that race and ethnicity can never detach from yourself. Pow Wow Highway challenges the paradigm of "Easy Rider," in dealing with different races intercommunicating, instead of one particular "Master race."

Racialized Masculinity

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

There are a variety of racialized masculinities represented in "Pow Wow Highway". Two of the examples would obviously be our main characters, Buddy and Philbert. They are from the Cheyenne tribe and both have their own distinct ideas on what is it to be a man and how to get there. However, the white male roles in the movie are racialized masculinities which are essential to the story being told. For example, Sandy Youngblood's superior, I forgot his name and title, seems to represent the typical white male. He holds a relatively powerful office position and wears his fancy suit everyday. He also has the ideals which are stereotypical of men of his race and age. He can care less what happens to the tribe people and results to illegal ways to get Buddy right were he wants him. Ultimately, he's that heartless man of power that will do anything to get what he wants. Unfortunately, his masculinity isn't changed in the movie the way that Buddy's and Philbert's is, which is just as important to note. As Buddy and Philbert are transforming into men with different characteristics, Sandy's superior stays the same. He is a static character who doesn't learn anything and represents the unchanging ideals that much of the country feels we have transcended.

Tough Ride Vs Easy Ride

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How does "Pow Wow Highway" bring race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider"?

"Easy Rider" introduces us to the dominate White world or the White privilege. The White privilege made Wyatt and Billy's journey towards freedom easier and more fruitful. Whereas Buddy Redbow and Philbert Bono's journey is rugged and burdened by obstacles at almost every corner just because of their color. In "Easy Rider," the camera focuses on Wyatt and Billy and the White men in general as opposed to minorities. The film makes no hidden attempts to target a non-white audience as we are introduced to Native Americans as the main characters at beginning of the film. Philbert Bono's character is essential in giving us a perspective on the Native American spiritual beliefs. Buddy Redbow's character is perceived as a more stark and macho man, however, I think that his character traits are important in portraying the emotional turmoil that resulted from the racial issues faced by Native Americans at the time. "Pow wow Highway," challenges and disrupts the dominate White environment set by "Easy Rider," by introducing non-white characters to the road film paradigm. We get to know about different Native American tribes from other places other than Montana. We are familiarized to the struggles of Native Americans, for example, Philbert Bono buys the pony of his dreams from a car dump. Also, in the scene where the sales man indirectly tells Buddy Redbow and Philbert Bono that the car radio they chose is out of their pocket range is another example of their daily struggles.

The Emotional Man

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How does "Pow Wow Highway" bring race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider"? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry

The film Pow Wow Highway very explicitly contrasts the alpha-male stereotype with the character that is Philburt Bono. Throughout Philburt and Buddy's journey, I kept thinking to myself that the way Philburt would approach obstacles was very alike to the way I would have handled such obstacles. But, this being said doesn't mean that Philburt acts in a feminine way, but instead changes our perception of what it means to be a Cheyenne male. Easy Rider sets up a complex and seemingly ignorant paradigm for male subjects in a road film; a paradigm I believe Pow Wow Highway directly challenges through the character Philburt Bono. It is obvious to the audience that Buddy is staged as the stereotypical alpha male, but I think this is only so we can see the stark contrast of his close friend. The scene that I think best displays Philburts exemplification of a determined, strong, and faithful Cheyenne man is the scene where Buddy joins Philburt in song in the river. Philburt does not bat an eye, he does not even invite Buddy to follow along, but in my eyes, his concentration and dedication is what stirs Buddy to partake. Nothing makes a man feel more inferior than his fellow friend righteously stepping forward to his beliefs - I think this scene shows a pivotal point in both of the guys' journeys.

Racialized Masculinities

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip?

One type of racial masculinity shown in the movie is the traumatized yet stoic survivor depicted by the man who threw the knife at the pow wow. Although he lets himself cry in public, he is still seen as "the man" by Buddy who commends him for his skill with weaponry. It is understood that the tears come from experiences that have been braved by this man, atrocities and massacres against his tribe, yet he still fights to protect his people. This masculinity is quite different from Buddy's ostentatious anger and violence in the beginning of the film, but by the end, he allows himself to cry silent tears for the purportedly perished Philbert. Buddy's masculinity has transformed, not softened.

What does the Road mean?

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The road represents something different to each of the characters in Powwow Highway. The road seems to represent something more meaningful and deep to Philbert than it does to his road trip companion, Buddy. For Philbert, the road represents a historical and spiritual journey. He is not driving his car from Lame Deer, Montana to Santa Fe. Instead he is riding his pony on the same path that his Cheyenne ancestors were taking and visiting some of the same spiritual monuments that are sacred in the Native American Culture. He is not so much concerned with the end destination of the trip, rather he is concerned with the journey itself, finding tokens and becoming a warrior. For Buddy the journey is much more about the destination, and getting there in a timely manner in order to get back to the reservation in time for an important vote. He sees the road more as an obstacle and an inconvenience than an adventure or quest.

"Buddy movies" and race

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How does "Pow Wow Highway" bring race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider"? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

Pow Wow Highway and Easy Rider can both be described as "Buddy movies." In these movies, two heterosexual guys hit the road together and learn things about themselves and about the world they live in together. Granted, Pow Wow Highway ends up exploring this idea in a much more sentimental way than Easy Rider, but the ideas are there in both. Where Pow Wow Highway explores the idea of race is in the way this buddy friendship is formed. The two men are not friends at the beginning, like they are in Easy Rider. In fact, Buddy used to bully Philbert when they were younger. However, it is their connection to their racial identity that eventually brings them together. It's not drugs, or freedom like in Easy Rider, but instead a spiritual connection to their past and present culture. Buddy and Philbert slowly bond over their Cheyenne heritage and the love they feel towards their cultural identity. When Buddy says, "my red hasn't washed off," we understand that he is proud of his race, it is his identity and the basis of what he is fighting for. Philbert, as the warrior hero, is also firmly set on his racial identity. This is what binds the two men together, and is the basis of their friendship. In Easy Rider it is taken for granted that the two men are white, because everyone in the film is white. In Powwow Highway this distinction is important to their relationship.

The Road in "Powwow Highway"

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What does the road mean in "Pow Wow Highway". Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

Interesting to note about Powwow Highway is the parallels it presents with our introduction to the road movie in Easy Rider. Easy Rider raises feelings of true Americana, two (white) men ride against societal norms seeing America how it really is (capitalist, racist, and discriminatory); moreover, the two discover the only place they're really free is on the road. Contrastingly in Powwow Highway, two (nonwhite) men are now behind the driver's seat, but similar to Easy Rider, the road represents a sort of freedom. Different than Easy Rider, it more precisely represents an escape from the restrictions of society. Social prejudices for the Cheyenne people are made evident from the beginning of the film, the road serves as an escape from discrimination (when Buddy and Philbert are 'talked down' to when purchasing a sound system for their car) and the many social issues associated with Native Americans (high levels of poverty and unemployment within the tribe). Additionally, the road serves as an escape for the couple Buddy and Philbert pick up on the way to Santa Fe. Because of the oppressive and overbearing society that surrounds the Native American couple, they are forced to flee using the road to escape. Also, the road serves as an escape for everyone involved when Philbert breaks Rabbit out of prison. The group is fleeing the police by car and escapes using the road. Similarly to Easy Rider, the characters in Powwow Highway see America as it really it (capitalist, racist, and discriminatory), and use the road to escape society; It's only on the road where they are truly free.

radicalized masculinities in Pow Wow Highway

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Buddy Redbow provides the obvious example of radicalized Native masculinity in "Pow Wow Highway," as an angry, disenchanted activist who feels he needs to fight the system at every opportunity. However, the more interesting side to his masculinity is the futility of his efforts. The "Wounded Knee" demonstration he references often happened twenty years back, and all the efforts of it have gotten the Native community nowhere. They still live in poverty and deal with phenomenal racism every day. Later, Redbow tries to get his sister out of jail, but not only has he spent some of the bail money already, he also flies into a rage and gets himself thrown out before he can even see her. Ultimately, his aggression and drive to right wrongs gets him nowhere. It's only after he understands the gentler masculinity of Philbert that he can channel his energies into something worthy of a true warrior (throwing the window glass at the police car to slow their pursuit) and actually help the people he loves.

The Reconsiliation with Society by Road

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In all the movies watched, the journey has been disguised as having some alterior motive other than the seeking of one's true self. In this regard, "Pow Wow Highway" is no different. As the main characters are being introduced, it is made clear to us how they journey--or road-- is necessary for a reconciliation with society. Buddy is a stereotypical, angsty man with a chip-on-the-shoulder attitude that has made little political and emotional progress. Philbert is the quintessential outcast--overweight, flighty, and behaviorally elusive at times. Both men need the road to move them towards their destination of full societal immersion without "selling out" or losing their true identity. Societal immersion does not have to be a bad thing; in these character's case it means working with instead of against the system to get their messages heard. The trip is an unorthodox one, with unintended stops but important lessons learned. Although imaginative--even by Native American folk-lore standards--Philbert begins to socialize with people on the road and share his gift of Native American history. Buddy begins to open up and remove is polemical attitude from the relationships he has in life. Both characters benefit from the road in that they begin to reconcile their personal and political differences with society, therefore rendering them more 3-dimensional and at peace as the road truly intended.

Look, look! We can make the road film diverse! Or at least try to...

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How does "Pow Wow Highway" bring race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm set by "Easy Rider"?

Jonathan Wacks' "Pow Wow Highway" is meant to bring race and ethnicity to the road movie paradigm and slightly does so by incorporating some actual realities of what it means to be a person of color rather than a white person, a white male, in America and what that means when traveling through the nation. First, the fact that the film is about Native Americans, mainly members of the Cheyenne tribe, brings race to the film paradigm in an extremely cliché way. From there, the fact that this is supposed to be a road film with race and ethnicity is demonstrated by the consistent difficulty Buddy Redbow and Philbert Bono encounter in their travel; it is so much less smooth than the journey of Wyatt and Billy to represent the true story of the lives of people of color, who have a history of being underprivileged and mistreated in a dominantly white patriarchal society. Ethnicity is also brought to the road film by the idea that Philbert (and eventually Buddy) is making this road trip to take a spiritual journey, something Native Americans value as a part of their non-white, "non-normative," lifestyle, and a dimension that Wyatt and Billy's journey does not explicitly have. Lastly, the effort to relay some history of Native American tribes throughout the film splashes the road movie with race in another slightly cliché manner, making an effort to say "THIS ISN'T LIKE EVERY OTHER ROAD FILM OUT THERE. IT CREDITS RACE AND ETHNICTY: IT'S NOT ABOUT WHITE MEN," but needless to say, "Pow Wow Highway" still doesn't offer a whole lot of diversity to the road film paradigm.

The Road in Powwow Highway

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What does the road mean in "Powwow Highway"?

For the other films we have watched, namely "Easy Rider", the road signifies freedom. This is not so different in "Powwow Highway" though I feel there is more to it than simply freedom. The road means something different to both main characters in the film. To Buddy, it is initially simply the means to an end. He wants to get to his sister and get her out of jail. In the end he learns a new respect for Philbert who he had not given validation to at all during their trip. Philbert on the other hand found a spiritual journey inside the road. Every place he stopped had a specific and profound meaning to him and his culture. Philbert was also seeking a sense of freedom but I felt this more in his purchasing of a vehicle than in the road itself.

Racialized masculinities

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip?

The first superficial representation of masculinity to me is the transformation of a dirty Phillbert to a Philbert covered in a jean-jacket and cowboy hat. Why a cowboy hat? It automatically brings the connotation of masculinity to the viewer because of the reinforced idea of cowboys in real life is suppose to be tough and manly. Philbert is suddenly taking control behind the wheel in his new costume, and the idea of riding a pony makes him an owner of something. These are the signs of masculinity, but as for racialized masculinity, I find it in the symbolic identity of the two men - Native American. At one imaginary scene of Redbow crushing the police's car, he is dressed with Native American traditional clothing, and he jumped up like a warrior in front of the white cops. That image of him taking pride in his ethnicity shapes his masculinity. And Redbow often showed violence in his language and action along the journey, especially at the beginning when he wants to install the radio in the car. He feels oppressed when he thinks his ethnicity is taking into account of his oppression, and he rages over the shop and accuses the owner of selling injustice. But later on, both men's masculinity is shown through their spirit and integrity. They try to protect over women and kids, and also the unjust system that discriminates against their ethnicity.

Balanced Masculinity in "Powwow Highway"

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Powwow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip?

The racialized masculinities represented in "Powwow Highway" exist within a spectrum of assimilation: different forms of masculinity appear as largely influenced by each character's status measured against Cheyenne and white culture. For example, Sandy Youngblood represents an emasculated version of masculinity, a status that reflects his rejection/exploitation of his (subordinate) culture in pursuit of belonging to (dominant) white culture, a culture which will never afford him the white male privilege he seeks. In his pursuit of power, he is ultimately rejected by both (Native American & white) communities, thus stripping him of any power he might otherwise attain. Buddy Red Bow's vet friend who is fleeing the reservation for a chance at a better life is portrayed as maintaining more of his masculine identity, though Buddy Red Bow suggests he is less noble (i.e.masculine) for abandoning his community and the fight for Cheyenne rights. In other words, according to Powwow Highway, identity politics are primarily shaped by race: masculinity is directly tied to one's heritage, and is determined by how committed one is to defending that heritage. Because of this, the primary value at the beginning of the film seems to be placed on very 'male' traits: aggression, power, action. However, the major driving force in this film is born out of the disparity between the two main characters' opposing forms of masculinity, and their converging journeys towards spiritual enlightenment: while we experience the first half of the film mainly from Buddy Red Bow's perspective, as he steers the narrative, the values shift as the roles shift and Philbert becomes the hero/driver. At first it is suggested that the more A-type, aggressive, active, traditionally 'male' form of masculinity is idealized; however, by the end of the film we come to realize that it is really a more spiritually-based ego that triumphs in the end. Of the two characters, Buddy Red Bow experiences the more obvious transformation, as his rigid worldview and machismo both soften over the course of the film. Interestingly, Buddy Red Bow is so caught up in his activism, he has grown distanced from the very culture he is fighting to protect; he is so caught up in fighting for his people's rights, it seems he's been lost to the individuals in his community whose rights he is fighting for. Philbert's transformation, while slightly more subtle, involves his spiritual journey to connect to his ancestry; in looking to the past to guide him, he is able to discover his power and do even more than Buddy Red Bow is able to to really have a strong positive impact on the people around him. Although Buddy Red Bow believes that he validates his masculinity by fighting for his people's rights, in the end his eyes, along with the audience's, are opened to the reality that Philbert's transformation through a peaceful, non-aggressive inner-spiritual journey allows him to claim the status of a true hero, as he rescues Bonnie Red Bow from jail and saves his friends' lives at the end of the movie. In the end, it is Philbert's less-traditional masculinity, one informed by his devotion to his Native American heritage as well as evolved to incorporate a balance of both spiritual and active elements, that is given the greatest value.

Meaning of the Journey

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The question is: what does the road mean in "Powwow Highway," this is a spectacular question. I absolutley loved this film, it showed a very honest truth about places in our country many don't think to much about. It's brutley honest about every aspect of the reservation, the poverty, the history , and the problems still going on to this day in the same places. I have been to these places and have seen the problems. The road in this movie is a spiritual journey and a life lesson to both characters (Philbert and Buddy) on a path of knowledge about their very own culture, Cheyene. The old ways of many Native American Cultures are very much lost through time, and like Redbow in this movie, are masked among political tributes and trials between Native American and other people people. This is a quest for them, finding and connecting with American past history to help solve a current issue, and for them finding the warrior inside to stand up for their rights and backround. I think there were many lessons to be learned in this movie, some may say it was corny, but I found it brutely honest, hilarious, and beautiful. Knowing that part of the country very well, having many native friends, and being part native myself I can really appreciate the message.

Masculine vs. Spiritual

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

In the film, Buddy and Philbert begin their journey on the road with two separate destinations in mind. Buddy is focused on securing a hopeful future for his tribe and is determined to keep the government from exploiting their natural resources. On the contrary, Philbert is on a quest to discover his heritage and connect with his ancestors. Although Buddy is proud of his heritage and committed to his tribe, he belittles Philbert and his spiritual practices. After Philbert tells a tale about their ancestors, Buddy tells him to stop with the fairy stories. Philbert finds strength and direction through these spiritual encounters, while buddy views them as useless and weak. He expresses his manliness through his aggressive confrontations which seem to only create more conflict. Although Buddy seems to embrace Philberts spiritual practices as the film progresses, it is unclear whether his efforts are genuine. Despite this, Buddy was able to reunite with his family with the help of his good friend. They all come together and continue on their journey. This sense of community is an essential aspect to Native American culture that helps Buddy set his masculine tendencies aside and embrace his heritage.

Native Masculinites on the Road

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Racialized masculinities are represented in "Powwow Highway" in a number of different yet pretty stereotypical ways. The stoic native masculinity of Buddy Redbow, and the two other male characters that were AIM members, or vietnam vets was somewhat overshadowed by the more playful, quiet masculinity represented by the deeply spiritual Philbert. Though Buddy is the more explosive and outspoken character, Philbert is the one who controls the narrative action, and establishes the aim of their journey. Redbow was asleep when Philbert decided to drive to Sweet Butte,which he described as a sacred place for gathering powers. After he feels a change in himself, which is shown by the comedic leaving of the Hershey's bar offering atop the Butte, Philbert rolls down the hill giggling. He is not one to boast about his gain in powers, this is a distinctly non-white way of enacting masculinity. Later when Philbert is telling the Plum story to their friends Wolftooth and his wife, which by the way is quite significant that we never learn her name; Redbow mocks the tradition. He insultingly refers to them as "fairy stories" which not only served to demean the practice of such storytelling, but also served to emasculate Philbert, who at this point in the film has quietly become a very powerful person. We talked a lot in class about the softening of Redbow as the trip progresses, but I think it is even more interesting to see how much Philbert gains confidence in his masculine power. He make choices bold choices, like robbing the jail vault, without second guessing, or consulting other characters. He does bold things without hesitation. Philberts utilizes his power in a way that white men do not, his is not a power over other people. he makes a jail break without batting an eye, but refuses to let a spider be killed in his presence, he is not about hurting other in order to get ahead.

The underdog wins again

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

The masculinity of the two Native American men is the main focus of the movie. One of the lead male characters is Buddy Redbow, the other is Philbert Bono. These are the two main men travelling. There are other men with lesser roles that add to the masculine roles of the Native Americans whether in a positive way or a negative way. Beginning with Buddy, he is a hard man and believes he must fight for his right to his reservation. I found it interesting that he was so aggressive about his land and his tribe's land and defending his tribe, but yet he did not seem to really believe in his background or the spiritual beliefs of his tribe. He fights so hard for something that it seems he does not truly believe in. As the road and journey goes on, he lightens up and becomes a softer character and may possibly be starting to believe in his spiritual background. They show his masculinity through his aggression and hatred for white men. It appears to be following a very strict stereotype for men, especially Native American men. For Philibert the journey is all about his spirituality. He comes off as a goofy character which is not always associated with masculinity, but he is definitely another stereotype of a Native American, through his diet and his actions. He becomes more involved in his spirituality as the journey takes twists and turns, he turns just as smoothly and becomes the unlikely hero. Philibert was unlikely because he is the goofy character while there is an aggressive male character right next to him that should be more than capable of being the hero. Their roles almost switch by the end of the journey. Buddy was supposed to save his sister and his tribe, but Philibert actually did most of the heavy lifting when it came to saving them. Their racial masculine roles were an integral part to the story line. They may have been offensive to some, but they also helped carry the story forward and depicted the racism that existed with in the time.

Racialized Masculinity

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The image of masculinity is always different depending on the era, however after the male nude played out its stay the idea of the acutely dressed businessman became somewhat of a norm. Thus the corporate native American we are introduced to in the film. He represents the kind of masculinity that stands as the normative aspiration for every race in America, and we see him deploy this against his own people. What makes it particularly racialized is that we see his deployment fail when in the company of fellow suited men who have the privilege of being white. For one of these men, it is a lifestyle. For the other, it is a costume. That is what is so crucial about his role. His masculinity is literally something that he puts on, ties twice, and wears to work. I would imagine in his own mind even he is a warrior in the traditional native sense: he is strong enough to face the humiliation of falling short of white masculinity everyday, yet strong enough to try again.

Hunt. Fight. Win.

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In Pow Wow Highway, the men are on a journey that represents a "hunt" for their people. The two men are on a hunt to help the Cheyenne people. One is more specifically hunting to get his sister out of trouble from the enemy, while the other is out to discover the customs and calling for his people. They both represent their people, but hunt for different reasons. Philbert, travels along this journey/hunt to discover the ways of his people by visiting other tribes. He does this by participating in traditions like ritual chanting and a pow wow. He is hunting to be supportive for his people and spread the word about the goodness of the Native American people. Buddy, is on the journey to try and save his sister from the clutches of his enemy, which are non Native American. The two men are protecting their loved ones, just like men are stereotyped to do. They show how masculine they are by fighting their enemies, standing tall to those who threaten them, and stop at nothing to save those who are helpless. The one thing that makes this specifically racialized masculinity, is that it is for a single ethnic group, fighting the dominant group to stay alive. They hunt for their loved ones and provide for them, but only focusing on this cultural group alone makes it specific to see the racial and masculine undertones.

"Racialized Masculinities"

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What kind of racialized masculinities are represented in "Pow Wow Highway"? How are these masculinities transformed by the road trip? Explore one example not mentioned by classmates who have already made this entry.

One racialized masculinity that was clearly displayed was the idea of a Native American man being a tough warrior. Buddy represented the so-called norm of standing up for his tribe and being rather brutal about it. He takes on the fighting role that is more common in the portrayal of "the typical man," instead of taking a more spiritual side as Philbert does. This ideal masculinity is depicted in such scenes as the powwow where Buddy argues with a group of men, as well as the bar scene. As the movie progresses, however, we see him soften up a bit. When Phil stops to admire something and chant, Buddy eventually tries it out. The final point where we really see this whole racialized masculinity sort of fall a way is at the end when Buddy begins to cry when he thinks Phil is dead, and eventually hugs him when he learns that he is not.

Highway Men vs. Easy Rider Men

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In Pow Wow Highway race and ethnicity is a factor for both of the men in the movie. They are not able to blend in to those they meet on the road, especially the white population they meet in gas station and drugstore. They are discriminated and judged because of the ethnic background and where they came from. Unlike in Easy Rider both of the men have the option to walk way or assimilate to the dominate culture.

Easy Rider turned motorcycles from mere machines to metaphoric manly members. During the movie the men and the bikes merged to become one being, culminating in a death scene without an actual body, the bike's destruction symbolizing Wyatt's demise. This breathtaking idea of a human incorporating an object as their psyche isn't missing from Girl on a Motorcycle; however, it is lacking in many capacities the sophistication Wyatt embodied. The view becomes most aware of this shabby attempt when Rebecca tells the gas attendant her tire pressures, but the camera sees her bust and hip measurements. Not only does the "shape" of the bike change, but the roads are also much more curvy in Girl on a Motorcycle. As one would expect, a different road would also imply different motives. We find that Rebecca's motivation, though also centered on an idea of freedom, is much more sexually grounded. If Wyatt and Rebecca are compared we find that the idea of a "man" is self determining, whereas Rebecca's freedom was only in the voyage between her lovers, not the destination like Wyatt's New Orleans.

death

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?

In both movies, the protagonists were going in search of freedom. Rebecca, believed the motorcycle was a symbol of escape and freedom, and used it to elope to her lover. Throughout her trip she recalled fond memories with her lover Daniel. But she realizes towards the end that she only experienced physical passion and lust thinking of Daniel. On her way back to her husband, after changing her mind she hit a truck and died. It was completely her fault. On the other hand Wyatt and Billy were shot dead. Their freedom and identity was not accepted by society. They had no fear, even when a gun was pointed at them. That showed their masculinity. Rebecca, was confused and in two minds at the point of her death.

Definition of "Object"

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

Definition of OBJECT from www.merriam-webster.com
1a : something material that may be perceived by the senses b : something that when viewed stirs a particular emotion (as pity)

I rather like definition 1b. for the purpose of our movie. One example of Rebecca being gazed upon as an object is when she is at the ski resort and Daniel is at a distance watching her with interest and lust (apparently). This would be an example of gaze where gaze is the position of the charchters on screen.

Girl on a Motorcycle

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

The opening scene of "Girl on a Motorcycle" is very powerful because it sets the stage for the rest of the movie. The film begins with a dream of the main character Rebecca where she is in a circus being an object of Daniel's, her German lover, possession. During this scene, Rebecca is balancing on a ball while being whipped by Daniel. During the whipping, Rebecca's clothes fall off one by one until she is naked. A while later in the same dream, Rebecca sees Daniel sitting on an upholstered chair in his robe smoking a pipe. By Daniel taking advantage of Rebecca in her dreams, Rebecca is seen lower than Daniel by being an object instead of a person. He is able to conform her to his wants and desires, and she will respond to whatever he has in store for her. Because Rebecca sees this happening in her dreams, she has fallen in the hole of the gaze. She allows herself to be taken over by males, and to see herself as an object of male possession, instead of taking initiative and being something other than a sex object. As Mulvey argues, Rebecca is seen in this scene also at an angle different than her male counterpart. She is twisted and turned while her clothes fall off, while the camera is stationed while it is on Daniel. Also as Mulvey describes, Daniel takes over the majority of the scene space, especially in the chair scene where Rebecca has no space in the scene at all.

Group 1: Masculinity in the movie and the 60's

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How many different kinds of masculinity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about men and masculinity in 1960s America?

I saw a lot of different forms of masculinity in this movie, the fact that she was riding a motorcycle being the most obvious. What I noticed was that this whole movie was about desirable things for a man. A man wants the woman riding the motorcycle, he wants the motorcycle itself, he wants the freedom of the journey. It's all about what a man would want. Which brings me to the point about how it relates to the 1960's. The beautiful woman who wears nothing but a tight leather suit represents a rebel and that is very attractive to men, it is now but more so back then, and that she rides a motorcycle also is an example of going against main stream society. The idea of breaking free from social norms was very attractive to many people back then, especially men. I guess I see it as the 1960's was about rebellion and casting away the norms of society, and to see an attractive woman, on an attractive bike, going on a rebellious journey is appealing to a man.

Meaning of death

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of
Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?

It is quite disturbing to see the main roles from both road movies were dead in the end of the films. Nonetheless, the deaths of the Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle" and the Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" emphasize the themes of the films. Rebecca's journey on her motorcycle is to see her lover Daniel who is living in Germany. During the journey, she recalls memories of her husband and lover. Her memories with her lover are restricted to making love with him and motorcycle. Either through her husband or her lover she couldn't find her identity. To her, motorcycle signifies freedom and therefore her own identity. That's why having an affair with Daniel makes her excited and happy. However, as she recalls memories with Daniel, she finally realizes that Daniel actually didn't really give her an identity. She sought her identity by riding on her motorcycle and gaining freedom. But, the motorcycle was given by Daniel and her identity was bestowed by him. However, the identity was not real. Having sex and getting pleasure was all with Daniel. She finally realizes it and decided to return to her husband. On the way going back to reality, she once again got high on motorcycle. It looks like her happiness and pleasure comes only from sex, and riding motorcycle is comparable to it. In short, Rebecca represents passive and pathetic woman who seeks her identity through male figures around her and having sex. The death of her stresses women's fail of finding identity. In Easy Rider, the death of Wyatt and Billy means the society's rejection to accept their freedom and identity. Also, it means their searching for America failed. It is worth noting that the person who killed them is also white male using gun. The biggest difference between the deaths of Rebecca and Wyatt-Billy is that Rebecca died due to her fault (reckless driving on motorcycle), and Wyatt and Billy were killed by someone. Rebecca's searching for her identity was futile from the beginning and Wyatt-Billy's searching for America and freedom were not accepted as "normal" and their counter-culture white male dominance is once again revealed by being killed on their motorcycles.

Woman as object

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

Even though the camera angle is low in order to create a high figure of Rebecca whenever she is on the motorcycle, the camera still positions her as an object in front of men. There are couple moments where she is seen as an object, and these moments I found are the example of the gazes from the male characters in the film, when she is stopped and inspected by the male guards, and when she is dreaming fantasies about Dan.
The camera closes-up on her body parts instead of the interaction she has with the guards. And It also closes-up on her naked body when she and Dan is having sexual pleasures. Rebecca shows her confusion of being a wife or who she really is when she asks her husband "what do you want me to do?" She loses control over herself and behaves carelessly. It's not only the camera positions her as an object, I think Rebecca herself doesn't even respect her own identity not mentioning her body suddenly becomes the focus of the whole person of her.

Group 2 blog question

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?

In "Easy Rider" Billy and Wyatt get shot on the highway by Southerners because of internal/external conflicts between them and the two main characters that originate from hostility between South and West in the 1960s United States. I'd like to point out that the place they died was on 'highway' in 'Southern' area, where they dreamed to be on, and which were in part of their entire goal of the journey. Their death is given a meaning: a closure of the journey that was planned by Billy and Wyatt to achieve their dreams, after achieving their goals of the entire journey--apparently, going to Mardi Gra, and doing what they want to do instantaneously--parading, paying women in return of sex--though it ends up to be in catastrophe. And we can reason why they'd be shot by Southerners--growing hostility between West and South coming from different perspectives on freedom and tradition, as simple as it can be. On the other hand, death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle" comes out all of a sudden--in the climax where Rebecca is enjoying her 'escape' or 'freedom ' that might have been her first rebel against plain life she had. Notice that she dies right after she makes decision to leave Raymond forever and discard the motorcycle she got from Daniel. Moreover, her death is not expected, in fact it's more of an abrupt ending, leaving this unpleasant feeling that her 'unfinished story' is ended without any reason, thus no meaning given to her death--it was just an incident car accident, and that's it. These elements differentiate the death of female characters from the male characters. Her death is described to be meaningless which makes her entire journey oversimplified. The freedom she got out of marital life with Raymond is doubtful--she's tied in the past and at the moment to make decision for future, she's gone, and so is her story. Deaths of male characters, on the other hand, is done after they enjoy their freedom for long enough time, after they do whatever they wanted to do; even before they die they express their reactions towards threatening Southerners with such confidence that till last moments they're enjoying their freedom as male characters.

group 3

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Q: Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.
A: The movie "girl on the motorcycle" is clearly directed form a masculine point of view. Although it is a story about a girl driving across countries on her motorcycle but as a viewer you can see how this movie was made solely for male viewers. As Laura Mulvey's three component to the gaze is concerned, a number of scenes from this movie contained the "GAZE". In the very beginning, as Rebecca stops to get some gas, there is a close shot of the gas nozzle going in the gas tank, right there you as a spectator are suppose to feel some sexual excitement. The scene itself is pointless and useless, but it speaks volumes about Rebecca being nothing but an sexual figure. After that when the employee bends down to check the air in the tires, the camera is positioned in such a was that we only see Rebecca"s lower half. Again, the position of the camera had nothing to do with the scene itself, it could have been just the employee checking the air in the tires but we see the Rebecca's body covered by tight leather suit. Rebecca is again just a sexual object. In addition to that, the whole scene with the gas station employee and Rebecca, you can see the man just staring at her body. Even the conversation they had was all about how lucky Rebecca's husband is that he found such an attractive wife. The movie is filled with these kinds of Gaze, in this movie Rebecca is presented as nothing but an object that every man wants to have. An object that fulfill every man's fantasy.

The Gendered Camera

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Group 3

Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

This movie if full of examples in which the way all three components of the gaze are utilized.
-The angles of the camera while she is riding the motorcycle are often cast from the ground up. Except from a distance while seeing her fly by on the road is there a view that is further away than what the viewer may see as being right next to her. Almost touchable.
-The ways the camera pans her body during scenes where she is nude whether she is with Daniel her lover or not. Her visions(flashbacks?) of the guard station where the one guard pats(rubs?) her butt.
-and of course while she is riding the bike the entire experience is dramatically sexualized suggesting that her experience on the bike enables her to reach orgasmic heights of pleasure which of course leads to her demise in the end. The angles the camera offers in this scene are of her pelvic region and shows quite explicitly her current level of euphoria while riding the motorcycle.

Group 2/Week 2

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The deaths of Rebecca, Wyatt, and Billy are very similar...the road has taken them to a place they think is better than the one they were before while using motorcycles as their freedom vehicles. But yet at the end, the road and the motorcycle they trusted so much ended up killing them. However their deaths represented something different, Rebecca died awaiting to see her lover and Wyatt and Billy died because they just wanted to have a good time and wanted the freedom of the open road. That's also how their deaths correspond to their genders, women looking for love, men looking for the adventure of the open road.

Male Gaze in "Girl on a Motorcycle"

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

The Male Gaze can be defined as an active looker objectifying the person which they are viewing. By objectifying that person with their gaze, they are creating an unequal power relationship. In the film, "Girl on a Motorcycle", within the first 5 minutes we can see several instances of the male gaze. At the beginning of the film, there is a shot of them sleeping and she looks over him. Here the camera is predominantly on the man and the power relationship between them has already been declared. Moments later we have another shot of her getting dressed in a leather outfit. There are closeups of her zipping up her clothing as well as a shot that is almost a birds eye view looking down upon her. This sequence of shots shows the position of both spectator, camera and other characters besides her as being above her. This also objectifies her as something to be looked at. This theme continues throughout the film as she lives for her man and will do everything for him, further perpetuating this idea that she is his possession and lower than him in status.

Rebecca's Got a Harley

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Similarities between the death's of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle" and Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" begin with the fact that both deaths occur at the very end of the film; and they both involve pretty good-sized explosions.
There are fairly large differences, though, in the causation. Wyatt and Billy couldn't have done a lot to really prevent the armed man in the truck from shooting them; however, in the case of Rebecca's death, she died of carelessness, and her death wasn't the fault of the car she crashes into.
There's an impression that the males have a one-up on the female gender, in comfort on their vehicles. In general, the motorcycle is seen as a more masculine vehicle as it is, so there is, perhaps, an underlying message that females(Rebecca) don't belong on motorcycles anyway. They just can't handle them.

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?
By comparing and contrasting the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" we can see that men are the subject of narratives and women are merely objects in narratives. All three deaths occurred on the road. This means that the road has a significant role to play in the narrative. They also happened while the character was in motion, which augments the dramatic part of the narrative. Rebecca's death was more cathartic than Wyatt and Billy's deaths. Her ending displays her as an object that has served its purpose and is being thrown out of the narrative. The uncertainty behind Wyatt and Billy's deaths continues to make them the subject of the narrative, even though their characters' story has ended. Wyatt and Billy were murdered, while Rebecca's death was an unfortunate accident. Spectators are left to wonder about the men who murdered them and what will happen to those men and to Wyatt and Billy's bodies. They still remain as a part of the narrative, but Rebecca is forgotten soon after her death. After Rebecca's death, the spectators are simply sympathetic towards her and shrug and say "that's too bad". Her story doesn't continue on. We also see close-ups of Rebecca's body being launched from her motorcycle and flying head first into a windshield. These character positions and camera angles establish who is doing the gazing for the film, a male. We can engender Rebecca to be a feminine because her death is so final, and Wyatt and Billy's death makes them more masculine because of the uncertainty that surrounds their deaths.

Objectifying vs. Sexualizing

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

When Rebecca is at a gas station filling up her tank, the camera starts with a mid-shot of Rebecca talking to the attendant and as he moves and bends down to start the gas the camera follows him and the resulting shot is his face next to Rebecca's butt. We see his eyes move to look at it (she's wearing the black leather suit) and his hand reach out to squeeze it. Mulvey talks about a pleasure in looking that is an element in all films and I think both genders take part in it, but the camera moving to show Rebecca's butt and the male attendant's face is clearly objectifying her, and takes the focus of the spectator away from Rebecca and on to a part of her body. I think there is a difference between a female character simply exuding her sexuality (as Rebecca willingly does in other scenes) and the tendency to objectify this sexuality. In this case, Rebecca is subject to the latter.

deaths of the characters.

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Rebecca in girl on a motorcycle was not riding the motorcycle to be free but rather to be able to go where her lover was. she was portrayed as an adulteress woman with no shame. a woman who let her lover control her even when he is not around. Her death was caused by her, because of her lust for her lover she was reckless on the road and she didn't care. Billy and Wyatt on the other side was on a journey of finding freedom. Throughout their journey they were not considered as the social norm and they were killed by another person other than themselves because they were different than what society wanted. the movies tell us how men are responsible and women are not. Rebecca was reckless on the bike while Billy and Wyatt was responsible throughout the movie.

The Traveling Genders

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The deaths in "Girl on a Motorcycle" and "Easy Rider" create negative and unrealistic stereotypes of idealistic gender-roles in the 60's and 70's. Both movies share a common theme of the main characters unhappy with their reality, traveling on motorcycles to a new place in search of freedom. In both movies the characters are killed, but the difference in death shows the gaze of gender during the period of time when these movies were made. Rebecca, the main character in "Girl on a Motorcycle" is killed because of her carelessness and irresponsibility behind the wheel. Her drug trips/flashbacks/ male gaze of a scattered female psyche leads her to crash and be ejected from the motorcycle, her vehicle of freedom. Similar to "Girl on a Motorcycle," Captain America (Wyatt) in "Easy Rider" is killed while riding a motorcycle, however until his moment of death he remains in control of his vehicle of freedom. He also isn't responsible for his own death like Rebecca is. The movie endings become indicative of the gender differences that were thought to be reality, and clearly conceived by a man. "Easy Rider" shows that when a man seeks freedom, he is in control of his destiny until another man attempts to take it away through intentional murder. "Girl on a Motorcycle" shows that even when a woman seeks freedom on a motorcycle she will still be object to the masculine vehicle on which she rides. (Hence the obnoxious sexually suggestive camera angles and riding positions during the movie.) The film also shows that a woman may take on a counter culture role of becoming a motorcycle rider, but she will always fit in the stereotypical irrational, irresponsible woman who will only bring death upon herself by seeking her own identity and freedom away from her husband. Mulvey describes this stereotype as a sexual imbalance between the active male and the passive female, which describes my personal understanding of the male gaze. Kaplan explains the possibility for the story in "Girl on a Motorcycle" and many others, to be a representation of the female gaze in the case of lesbianism or the first stages of progression in the womens film movement, forcing women to initially have to take roles of objectivity. I personally have never seen a film that over-sexuallized and objectified women in the most blatent and unnecessary ways. I cant help but imagine the writers, producers, directors, and camera people in this film all being old, horny, perverted white men. Creating this awful film and in turn creating their fantasies and skewed perception of the female psyche and capabilities for freedom away from men and the typical home maker/ house wife role.

Death/Girl on a Motorcycle/Easy Rider

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In both the films "Easy Rider" and "Girl on a Motorcycle", the protagonists all meet with an untimely death. While it can be argued that their deaths were indeed similar being that they were both completing their journeys on the road before it ended, it is more relevant to argue that the implications of their deaths had different motivations and implications. In "Easy Rider", Billy and Wyatt were viewed as embodying their masculinity by embarking on a sometimes drug induced sort of road trip. They were always in full control of their motorcycles and their masculinity as well. However it was outside forces beyond their control which led to their demise. They were viewed as being different by the people that came into contact with them. Their death was the responsibility of another man that didn't agree with what they symbolized. In "Girl on a Motorcycle", Rebecca is portrayed in an entirely different way. While she too is rebelling social norms in riding a motorcycle across borders, her portrayal through the male gaze hinders any implication of social commentary that Rebecca may have had on the roles of gender and conformity at the time. The male gaze in this film portrays Rebecca as a reckless driver that is obsessed with all things taboo. For example, she is completely naked underneath her leather suit which makes no sense other than to portray her as a sexual object for the men watching her. Also, she freely admits that as a woman she is fleeing a guy that respects her wants and desires for a man that is controlling, possibly abusive, and has based this relationship off of a first encounter that borders on rape. The social commentary that is given by Rebecca is that women are truly sexy if they want to be controlled by a man and be more or less owned rather than have a voice for themselves. Her death was a result of her own actions, she was a careless driver (perhaps because she is a woman and doesn't think of the possible consequences), and it occurred after she had drank alcohol (something that maybe only a man could do and still drive responsibly). The difference between the deaths in these two films is that for Billy and Wyatt it was caused by other people, and for Rebecca, she was the cause of her own death.

Slave 4 U

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How many different kinds of femininity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about women and femininity on the road as compared to men and masculinity of the road in "Easy Rider?"

To me there is only one type of femininity represented in this film, this being the stereotypical tragic femme fatale. She craves male attention despite being obsessed with Daniel. For example at the checkpoint, when the policeman doesn't try to flirt with her, she says, "I bet he's queer." Or, there is the instance when she says about Daniel, "he never tells me I'm pretty." Despite Rebecca leaving Raymond, putting on a leather suit, and riding a motorcycle, which would seem like she's gaining independence, she's actually not gaining anything. Like Annie touched on, "she is just switching from being one man's wife to another man's." For a majority of the film she isn't even talking, it's just a voiceover. Also, these voiceovers aren't even human sounding, it's like she's under Daniel's spell. She has no voice of her own and she has no self-purpose. At one point Rebecca even says that Daniel treats her like a slave and she seems like she enjoys this. This film is very different compared to Easy Rider, despite both being road films. What this film says about femininity on the road is that they are still controlled by the masculine surroundings. First of all, it begins with Rebecca foolishly not bringing any money, leaving me to think that she thinks she can just get by on her looks and sexuality. In Easy Rider, Wyatt and Billy set off on their trip with a large sum of money and with no strings attached with not having to use their bodies to survive. Although the road ends tragically in both stories, Easy Rider's purpose was to find freedom and escape the conforms of society, while The Girl On The Motorcycle was just a changing of the guards from Raymond to Daniel.

Femininity on a Motorcycle

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The type of femininity represented in Girl on a Motorcycle is the idea of women as sexual objects without a personality or mind of their won. Throughout the entire film Rebecca rarely makes any decisions or thoughts for or by herself. From the very beginning when she decides to leave her husbands bed, it isn't to escape a bad relationship or just the need of an adventure, like in Easy Rider. She leaves to find this mysterious man, Daniel, on a bike that Daniel gave her and taught her to ride. In Easy Rider there doesn't need to be any explanation as to how Wyatt and Billy learn to ride a motorcycle, they're men so they must know how to ride one. However, since Rebecca is a woman she can't just know how, she must be taught (by a man) and this lesson is important enough to make a whole scene in the movie. Her knowing how to ride a motorcycle has to be explained. Even though Rebecca is The Girl on the motorcycle, it feels as if she is not really the main character. Daniel, whom we only meet in flashbacks seems to be the central idea throughout the entire film. Rebecca has very few speaking parts, probably fewer than the important men in the film. We mostly get to know Rebecca through her thoughts as she is riding her motorcycle with the camera with the camera zoomed in on her smiling face or on other parts of her body in her skin tight leather suit. These thoughts aren't intelligent or independent thoughts, rather she is constantly thinking of Daniel. She is not on a journey for herself, rather she is on a journey for Daniel being and being controlled by various male characters. In contrast, in Easy Rider, are in complete control of most of their journey (until the end) and on the road for no particular reason or person, just themselves.

La motocyclette

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How many different kinds of femininity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about women and femininity on the road as compared to men and masculinity of the road in "Easy Rider?" Rebecca's representation of Woman in the movie "The Girl on a Motorcycle" paints women as passive, directionless beings; void of purpose unless there is a man involved. While in the care of her nonrestrictive husband, Rebecca is confused and emotional. The amount of freedom Raymond affords her makes her stir-crazy. She longs for the strict guide of Daniel, her lover. Though Daniel degrades her, she is infatuated with him, practically hanging off every word he speaks. Even while on the road, she imagines Daniel, not happily encouraging her on her journey, but rather, scolding her when she misuses the bike. Where in the film "Easy Rider," the road gave the men free agency, the road in this film is a passageway leading to subjugation. The camera angles in "Easy Rider" mostly followed the two men at their side, or even a little behind. This made it feel as if the men were paving the way to their destiny, and we as the viewer are along for the ride. In "Motorcycle," the camera stays practically fixed to Rebecca's face. The gaze is fixated upon her throughout her entire journey. As such, her autonomy is rendered null. As viewers, we're not watching her pave her way to freedom, but rather, we're dragging her towards obedience.

Objectification of Women

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As a female viewer of "Girl On A Motorcycle" there were several moments throughout the film where I found Rebecca to be portrayed more as an object rather than a women. The film seems to celebrate the idea that she is a woman, by herself, on a motorcycle, in the 60s but I still found multiple times where the film objectified Rebecca. For instance, in Rebecca's dream, towards the beginning of the film, she stops at her first checkpoint and the officers (especially the black one) talk to her as if, because she is a woman, they can do and say whatever they want to her. They talk suggestively to her, make crude, inappropriate comments and the black officer caresses her leg. After Rebecca wakes from her dream, there are army men driving by and whistling at her; again, this objectified Rebecca. The army men whistle at her like a piece of art they like or an animal to be praised for its beauty. This gaze seems to becoming from men, the spectators, the ones behind the scenes and writing the film. They are ultimately the ones who are objectifying Rebecca in this case. Watching this scene made me upset with men, and upset at how even still today some men think that because you're a woman they can do whatever they want to you. Some still believe that they "own" women and because they're the dominant sex they do not have to be accountable for their actions and words. It seams that women have always been and unfortunately always will be objectified by men and sadly by women themselves. It also is unfortunately to see that men (and now some women) who direct and write films purposefully position women in films so that they are "gazed" at as an object.

The men died for freedom, the woman died for men

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of
Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these
deaths say about the genders of the characters?

One could say that similar to Wyatt and Billy, Rebecca's death shows what happens when someone tries to achieve freedom. However, while Wyatt and Billy were experiencing their idea of freedom and defying social norms of the masculine adult male at the time (with their long hair, attire, and lack of 9-to-5 job), Rebecca knew she wouldn't be free, since she would have to return to her husband. Rebecca was also constricted throughout the film. She claimed she felt like an animal in her leather body suit, however, she seemed to be more like a caged animal, since her character was experiencing two topics brought up in the reading: voyeurism and fetishism. Voyeurism, because she was the primary object for the male spectators to gawk at. The audience was there to view every small grinding movement she made on her bike and every gust of wind to blow her hair. Fetishism, because both the camera and motorcycle can be seen as phallic objects. Both of these objects are used to enter Rebecca's personal space (plus, if you are really into leather body-suits, you're just in for a treat). In the end, Wyatt and Billy died during their journey to achieve what they believe in, and in a more violent way (which could be seen as masculine), while Rebecca died because of her "boy troubles" and just became the stereotype that women cannot drive, therefore they shouldn't be on the road.

The Girl on the Motorcycle - group 1

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How many different kinds of femininity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about women and femininity on the road as compared to men and masculinity of the road in "Easy Rider?"
There are few female characters in The Girl on the Motorcycle, but Rebecca takes on a number of stereotypical female roles throughout the film, many of them contradictory. When she is working in her father's bookstore, she is the personification of femininity as innocence. Her clothing is conservative and is meant to make her look younger than she is. She acts nervous, unsure, and embarrassed each time Daniel enters the store, even after they have been physically intimate with each other; however, her innocence is not consistent during the film. When she is in her leather biking suit she becomes an overtly sexual being. It is not only this 'skin'-tight outfit which turns her into someone who portrays femininity sexually. In this version of her, she exudes confidence and is flirty with men (or at least does not openly show offense to their flirtations). Rebecca also personifies the stereotype of women as stupid, or helpless without a man. When she gets to the first gas station she realizes she has forgotten both her watch and her money. While in Easy Rider the lack of a watch was purposeful and a symbol of the men's newly found freedom, here it seems to be at least partially used to show how rash and unplanned Rebecca's departure was. Later in the film she ponders the designs of bridges, and decides to ask Daniel about their structure. She says even if he invents a false reason she will believe him, revealing foolishness for not knowing and for believing falsehoods and a need for a man when knowledge or insight is needed. There are very few females in this film besides Rebecca. Rebecca's friend at the ski resort is not developed, and the bartender is only seen serving a roomful of men.
While in Easy Rider, Wyatt and Billy's bikes were all but extensions of themselves, Rebecca's was used as a tool for her sexualization. The cameras in Easy Rider were usually far enough out to show the men's full bodies riding stoically, if not so far out they became only tiny details in a vast scenery. On the other hand, Rebecca was usually shot either in a close up of her face, smiling and waving her hair in the breeze, or the fact that she was straddling and bouncing excessively on the bike was emphasized. Billy and Wyatt usually do not meet anyone but themselves unless they stop. Because she is traveling through Europe, Rebecca is stopped at a few borders--each time by men who feel it is appropriate to come on to her, and who ultimately have the decision in whether she is allowed to continue her journey or not.

Femininity

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How many different kinds of femininity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about women and femininity on the road as compared to men and masculinity of the road in "Easy Rider?"

In "The Girl on a motorcycle" there are allegedly two types of femininity that are really depicted. There is one type which is shown through the character Rebecca. She is supposed to represent this woman who is "free" and sexual and does what she "wants" and believes in free love. Then there is the married woman with children who believes in marriage and love with one person. This is of course seen with a woman who has four children and is pregnant with another. This difference is depicted through how the two women dress as well. Rebecca wears a leather suit with nothing underneath it and the married woman wears a conservative dress and is covered up. However, even though there is this idea of Rebecca being free, she is completely under control of her lover Daniel. She even says in the film that if he doesn't know how to explain something he will make something up and she will believe it. So to her he is all knowing and is the master. Rebecca also wants her husband Raymond to take advantage of her. She wants Raymond to claim what is his. Rebecca also calls herself Daniel's slave at one point too. This movie might show a woman happy with marriage and another who believes in free love, but it also depicts women as objects owned by men. Women are either the object that has the man's babies and cooks him dinner or they are men's sex toys. There is a moment in the film where Rebecca throws herself at daniel and he literally touches and handles her like she is his new toy. This is so different from how the men in "Easy Rider" are depicted. The men are on a Journey that they chose and it is a journey that shows their freedom and privilege. Where in "Girl on a motorcycle" Rebecca is depicted as a brainless drone fleeing to her lover/owner. She is not free like Captain America and Billy. Rebecca is also looked at by everyone like sex on a stick where the boys in "Easy Rider" are looked at like rebels and possible trouble. The men are feared where the woman is consumed by all the men's gazes.

Femininity

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How many different kinds of femininity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about women and feminity on the road as compared to men and masculinity of the road in "Easy Rider?"
I was very disappointed in this film's representation of femininity. From the very beginning there was nothing redeemable about the character Rebecca. In "Easy Rider", the men were given a rugged and strong quality by the road. The fact that Rebecca was going on the road to see her lover made the entire film about him as opposed to her. Though we never even meet Daniel in any way but through flashbacks the film is about his pull over Rebecca. In "Easy Rider" the journey is about the men being men and finding themselves and being free. For Rebecca, she is simply going to her lover and has no thoughts of her own but this control Daniel has over her. Even the motorcycle which was a strong masculine aspect in "Easy Rider" becomes another way for Daniel to control Rebecca. She is in this over sexualized skin tight leather body suit that he gave her and riding a motorcycle that he gave her and taught her to ride. She is not her own person. She does not give women a good reputation.

Objectified

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the
position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of
the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a
Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

Rebecca becomes a sexual object within the first seconds of the film. She is shown in bed with her husband. The blankets are positioned to reveal her shoulders and collarbones to indicate that she is clearly naked, while on her husband's side of the bed the blankets are pulled up to his chin.

She, as a character, also presents herself as an object. Some of her lines while she's leaving her husband are "touch me and I'll stay," and "I only come to life when he touches me." These lines suggest that her purpose in life is to be sexual with men, and that only a man's touch can make her happy.

Daniel also continuously treats her like an object. When he first meets her he shows absolutely no interest in being introduced to her until he turns around and sees that she's attractive. Her positioning in this scene presents her as an object (she is posed on a ladder with her backside to the camera). It isn't until quite far along in the film that Daniel actually speaks directly to her, and that is when he says "congratulations." After congratulating her him and her father talk about her in front of her as if she can't speak for herself.

Rebecca again presents herself as an object when she in lines such as "he never gives me any identity, he never even says I'm pretty." She admits that her identity is constituted by the way she looks.

There are countless examples of her being objectified throughout, as it is pretty much happening during any given moment of the film.

And another one bites the dust...

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How many different kinds of femininity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about women and feminity on the road as compared to men and masculinity of the road in "Easy Rider?"

I was hoping for a better representation of femininity in Girl on a Motorcycle than was actually portrayed. The film has a surprisingly masculine view on femininity and women on the road. It's obvious that if a woman was the director she would never portray herself in that light. From the tight leather outfit to the sexual movements on the motorcycle, this has male fantasy written all over it. Besides Rebecca, there is a genuine lack of women in this "feminist" road film. Rebecca is quite clueless and delusional at times. She has no idea who she is, which she does admit so I give her credit for that, and lets herself be defined by men. She has almost no thoughts that are occupied by something other than her husband or Daniel. Bored with her married life she easily leaves her husband to find something, or someone in particular, more exciting, which happens to be Daniel. If she truly wants to find herself, she should be leaving for that reason, not to pursue this obviously unhealthy relationship with Daniel. At least she does have a reason for going on the road, unlike Billy and Wyatt in Easy Rider. However, their adventures and overall attitude on the road is still very different. Rebecca isn't pursuing freedom at all on the road. She may think she's becoming free but every flashback and fantasy about Daniel just shows how incredibly controlled she is by him. Billy and Wyatt had a more "on the road" experience because they had to stay at different places and ask strangers for help while Rebecca took the casual nap on the side of the road and continued on her way the rest of the trip. Rebecca's enthusiasm about leaving was truly frightening at times but I think we all knew how her trip was going to end unfortunately.

Customary Gaze

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

Throughout "Girl on a Motorcycle", we are seeing Rebecca as an object. One of the highlights of this objectification comes from when she passes into customs during one of her flashbacks. The characters on the screen objectify her and treat her as if she was something to play with. They do not give her any respect, and use innuendos when speaking to her. The camera is positioned in this scene to the faces of the men who are getting her through customs and bits and pieces of Rebecca in her leather suit. When she returns to the customs area during her journey, she expects almost the same treatment she received before. In her interior monologue, she says something about how she should not act as flirty the second time around, which gives the audience the impression that she deserves the kind of treatment she is getting.

gaze in "girl on a motorcycle"

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When Rebecca has her final hallucination as she hurtles toward her lover on the motorcycle he gave her, viewers are treated to a series of disjointed clips that reduce her once again to a collection of body parts. A significant part of the focus is on the area between her stomach and her knees as she sits on the motorcycle. Nothing else is visible, and the viewer has only a vague sense of where Rebecca is on the road or even of how fast she's going. The spectator, or the audience, watches her writhe and bounce on the seat in an increasingly sexual display, and the camera is level with her rear and looking at her from the side to better show her figure. These shots, along with shots of her legs clenching and un-clenching on the bike and close-ups of her ecstatic face reduce her to an erotic, doomed spectacle devoid of a personality or purpose beyond being sexy and sexual for the benefit of whoever happens to be watching.

To die in vain, or not to die in vain

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?

One obvious observation and comparison made by others is that the characters were riding motorcycles prior to their death. There were explosions after Wyatt's and Rebecca's death, which could be signifying the end of their journeys. All three characters' means of transport and obsession was the motorcycle which makes sense because unlike other vehicles the motorcycle gives them a certain distinction or raw edge that shouts for attention and it makes a clear statement of their chosen lifestyles. Wyatt and Billy as well as Rebecca were all rebellious in nature, they defied the social standards that were set by society and pursued their new found journey to freedom which later on led to their tragic deaths.

Wyatt and Billy got shot while they were riding on their motorcycles where as Rebecca crashes her motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol and due to her lack of attention to the road. In "Easy Rider," Wyatt and Billy's deaths set a more solemn mood and the accident was not witnessed by many other characters in the film other than the killers. On the other hand, Rebecca's death set a much less solemn mood and it gathered a large crowd of on-lookers in the film. Wyatt and Billy died for what they believed in. They were free and content men, who lived their life to the fullest, exhausted every possible drug and were not held down by anyone. However, Rebecca died a trapped and miserable woman, she was in the middle of a dilemma contemplating whether to leave Raymond, to stay with her lover Daniel or to walk away from both men. She did not die for what she believed but rather as an object or property of Daniel whom she constantly lusted after. Her death symbolizes defeat in that she walked away from both men. Wyatt and Billy were killed for who they were and they faced their killers without any from of defense or fear thereby, existing as heroes.

I think that in the film, Rebecca portrayed the stereotypes made against women such as being naive, careless, dependent and weak which ultimately led to her death. The fact that she engrossed almost all her thoughts over Daniel as if he was a drug that she could not bear to live without signifies her interdependence upon him. Her lack of attention to the road is evident of her carelessness. Finally, her weakness is displayed through her defeating exist in other words, her symbolic death, which I mentioned earlier.

Wyatt and Billy's masculinity played out well in "Easy Rider," they sported their manliness at every corner. All the ladies swooned over them and they posed as a threat to other men who did not share their views. They took their problems on and fought for what they stood for to their deaths. We saw masculinity in action when Wyatt went back to a wounded Billy, well aware of the danger ahead, then drove by the shooters and got shot soon afterwards. Nevertheless, they certainly did not die in vain.

She blew it.

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How can the death of Rebecca in "The Girl On A Motorcycle" and the death of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared or contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?
-It is obvious that Rebecca, Wyatt and Billy are totally different characters, but in their deaths we see the nuances in how our society saw gender in the 1960's. Wyatt and Billy were shot by men that deemed them not masculine enough, because of what they represented in the counterculture. Their long hair and "anything goes" attitude scared the Southern men enough to make them angry, and to commit a hate crime. This would be seen as a more "manly" death because it was a crime against men, by men, and the two guys could not have escaped their fates. In "The Girl On A Motorcycle," Rebecca is killed because she gets tipsy before riding her motorcycle, and once she's driving she doesn't pay attention to the road. She is focused on having fun on the bike and getting to Germany as quick as possible because she is a little drunk. Rebecca ran into a truck when she met her demise. This is much different than Wyatt and Billy's, because her death was her own fault, by her own carelessness and stupidity. In the 1960's, women were usually looked at as being weaker and less intelligent than men, and Rebecca is playing right into this idea. Rebecca shows her femininity by not thinking through her decisions and by being reckless. The film, "The Girl On A Motorcycle" felt like a slap in the face, because at first it was about a woman seeking out her own happiness, but she ended up just being oversexualized and made to look unintelligent in her death. Wyatt and Billy's story made me sad, but Rebecca's made me groan.

Girl through the front windshield.

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?

In "Easy Rider," Wyatt and Billy were shot intentionally. Their death was not the fault of their own "stupidity" as that of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle" who was being careless. In a way, this seems to illustrate that women don't belong on the road. She was giggling and sitting up on her bike and kept thinking to herself about how Daniel would yell at her. Wyatt and Billy were stoic and driving "correctly" like men on the road. The similarities between the two are that they were nearing the end of their journey and were killed by something that had been building up over the movie. In "Easy Rider" it was a man from the South who did not agree with their lifestyle. In "Girl on a Motorcycle" it was her own preoccupation with Daniel.

(Silly) Girl on a Motorcycle

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How many different kinds of femininity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about women and feminity on the road as compared to men and masculinity of the road in "Easy Rider?"

How many kinds of femininity..... One? The dumb blonde kind? Even as the protagonist we didn't get to know much about who she was except through what she meant to the men in her life. But we knew she was: sexy, irrational, emotional and dependent on men. She painted a portrait of women as needy, indecisive beings who need to be dominated by men (hence her leaving "weak" Raymond in favor of her iron-fisted "lover"). Her journey on the road didn't represent freedom unlike that of Billy and Captain America- although the male writers tried to present it that way. Freedom in Easy Rider meant pursuit of personal liberty from normative society. Freedom for Marianne Faithful meant leaving a "boring husband" for an exciting lover, who admitedly wasn't even in love with her and treated her poorly. As opposed to the many scenes in Easy Rider of the two rebellious, strong pair of rugged men in charge of their bikes going steadily towards their destination, the scenes on the road of "Girl" involved a lot of hysterical laughing (or laughing/crying) poor control of the bike (which became a sexual object between her legs, and incidently which she had explicitly been taught to drive by a man) and lots of confused, gibberish like voice-over compared to the philosophical musings of the men in "Easy Rider." She also gets manhandled (instead of the other way around) and thinks nothing of it. Basically the message is that women shouldn't be given this freedom because look what they do with it- they need to be controlled or they will literally and figuratively destroy themselves.

Death by Motorcycle: A Common Theme

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?

First and foremost, it is obvious to say that the most similar comparison between the two deaths is the fact that they both did indeed die on their motorcycle. Throughout the entire film I was thinking about Rebecca's character in reference to her motorcycle. Was it really just a woman riding a motorcycle? Why was it a bike and not a flashy and feminine convertible (a vessel that, in my opinion, equally exudes sexiness to the motorcycle). My conclusion was as follows: the motorcycle became embedded in the story because of the fact that it was a gift from this forbidden fruit, Daniel. But, the motorcycle itself really had no place besides that. It could have been that flashy feminine convertible and remained true to Rebecca's character. Whereas with Wyatt, the motorcycle was imperative to his character; the whole badass rebellion guy, of course a motorcycle is prevalent to his life! So in my conclusion, I came to believe that the motorcycle was simply to enhance the spectacle that is Marianna Faithfull. Kaplan discusses the idea of the voyeuristic spectacle in her article 'Is The Gaze Male?'. Kaplan states,

"Two basic Freudian concepts--voyeurism and fetishism-- have been used to explain what exactly woman represents and the mechanisms that come into play for a male spectator watching a female screen image."

She is to standards of attractiveness, on a rebellious journey to meet her lover for once and for all. The entire film is a work based around the idea that this woman is a pleasure to watch, and because she cannot interact with her audience, this further pleases us (specifically the typically male crowd). In an attempt to create a female protagonist through this seemingly free-spirited journey, it in the end became a story about another 'chick' babbling about a man who she knowingly does not care about her. This movie displays that a female protagonist is eternally weakened by the hand of others/men, so much that even in her death she is not alone or independent of others help.

Death on a Motorcycle

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?

The first and most obvious comparison is that all three of the characters die on the road, on motorcycles and very suddenly. The differences appear when one starts to look at why Rebecca was on the road versus why Wyatt and Billy were. Rebecca was in pursuit of a man, more specifically her lover, while Wyatt and Billy were living out this grand adventure.  Rebecca's lover Daniel and the other men in her life consume her thoughts and her identity leaving her to think about little else. She doesn't die living out this realization of her dream. Instead her obsession with Daniel causes her journey to be destination orientated and she never reaches it, dying before she is happy and liberated. In comparison, Wyatt and Billy die while living out their rebel aspirations of roaming the countryside and having no responsibilities. They meet a range of people from lawyers to hippies, having conversations about life and happiness. Consequently each of their deaths is gendered by their journeys. Rebecca's death is in pursuit of a man who is shown in scenes throughout the movie as her superior. She dies riding the motorcycle he has given her and taught her how to ride. She is leaving one man for another and is not leaving for herself. These actions portray her as being very dependent, which is a normative trait of the female gender. Comparatively, Wyatt and Billy have fairly masculine deaths. Just the fact that Wyatt dies en route to getting help for Billy shows the masculine trait of taking initiative and control of a situation.

Woman at the Discretion of Men

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How many different kinds of femininity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about women and feminity on the road as compared to men and masculinity of the road in "Easy Rider?"

I found this week's film to be wildly more interesting than Easy Rider. Although the film predominately objectified the main character, Rebecca, the plot was much more concrete than Easy Rider. Feminity within The Girl on the Motorcycle could be described as two contrasting ideas throughout the movie. One could postulate from a description of The Girl on a Motorcycle that this movie could be an epitome of female empowerment; A woman's story of leaving her husband in the midst of the night by motorcycle, driving across countries to see the man she loves; however, after reading Kaplan's article, I'm viewing this movie with another lens. Rebecca's 'escape' from her husband in a black, leather body suit seems more correctly aligned with a voyeuristic male fantasy played out on screen. Throughout the movie, Rebecca seems to be a simple toy, the object of two men's affection, rather than the story of an emancipated woman set free from her demonstrative ex's clasp. Kaplan also discusses that more films should show a level or sorority; women connecting to one another for the benefit of females, however, the film displays women like mice running between male cats who desire her. There is no sense of "strong female screen images", which Kaplan asserts is imperative from a feminist's ideology. So contrary to the idea of female empowerment that is somewhat displayed throughout the movie, the other contrasting type of feminism is the "Damsel in Distress" representation of women, which is displayed through Rebecca's indecision and helplessness in deciding which man to be with; She's at the mercy of these men. The greatest contrast between The Girl on a Motorcycle and Easy Rider seems that Easy Rider represents two white male belonging to an American counterculture truly free of societal and social laws, while in The Girl on a Motorcycle, the main character, Rebecca, isn't actually free due to her female status; she's cast inside societal's social hierarchy of being a female, which therefore limits her ability to truly escape her husband's, or man's control.

Gender even in Death

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There are several comparisons that could be made from the movies Easy Rider and Girl on a Motorcycle. The most noticeable relation however, is the endings. Billy and Wyatt are on a masculine motorcycle ride across the country seeking freedom. They are free willed, free spirited, and fearless. In contrast, they are breaking several social norms such as the "Long rebel hair" and drugs. From this, their ultimate quest for freedom becomes a reality too fast. Freedom needs boundaries, and since the men had none, their death was inevitable. Comparing this to Rebecca in Girl on a Motorcycle, she too was a rebel amongst social norms. She was a woman riding a motorcycle, which represented masculinity. Also, she was leaving her husband to find her lover. Rebecca also faces the reality of her decisions in a head on collision with a car. Her death was seemingly inevitable too. Rebecca as well as Wyatt and Billy, had too much freedom and no boundaries. The social norms of freedom exemplify the ways in which standard people live their lives. When anyone, be it Rebecca, or Wyatt and Billy, try to defy the formalities of freedom, they seem to only face death. Thus, be it women or men, all must follow some type of social norms, or death and destruction will be lurking in the background.

In the Restaurant

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

In the scene where Rebecca stops for a drink at a restaurant, we see her objectifying herself, and the men around her gazing at her. As she's in the restaurant, she has a flashback of going with Daniel to a hotel room. In the flashback, their sex is equated with his teaching her how to drive--They're clothed in the room, then another flashback to him teaching her to drive, then cuts back to them naked in bed, smokin cigs. He is the master of both biking and sex, and she is incapable without his guidance. This dependence shows her position as a sex object and undercuts her role as a biker. The scene of him teaching her to drive poses her driving as very different from, or inferior to, that of Wyatt and Billy in Easy Rider.
Back in the restaurant, Rebecca has a hallucination of unzipping her suit and revealing her chest to the entire room. I think it doesn't really happen. It does happen, however, for the film viewer. Rebecca craves the attention of those around her, and we are forced to see her naked. This underscores our opinion of her as a slut, and identifies her as a sexual object. Her secret desire is to be exposed. In this scene, camera angles give us the viewpoint of Rebecca as a self-made object, as when it pans around the room at the leering faces of the men. It also gives us the perspective of the men, as when she is shot from across the table and across the room. I do think that the waitress in the restaurant, though she treats Rebecca with some disdain, seems to bring up Rebecca's potential for subjectivity. It's like she asks Rebecca whether she ought to drink that much or go out alone in such an outfit, by her questioning look. However, she in no way imparts authority to the protagonista. Even Rebecca's drinking happens because Daniel "taught" her to do so, and the drinking overpowers her and possibly leads to her death.

A Heroes Death and an Entertaining Demise

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When Billy is shot in the end of Easy Rider, Wyatt doesn't think twice about jumping back on his motorcycle. We may be thinking that he should get the heck out of there, but his decision to leave his friend is purely in his friends best interest. He is going to get help. This decision can be seen as heroic, but as we all know the "heroic" path takes him directly into danger. Wyatt knows he must drive in the direction of Billy's attackers, and when he sees them turned around and driving back towards him, he must know what is coming. But he keeps driving and faces his "heroic" death. Rebecca on the other hand dies a coward. Or so we are manipulated to think. When she is in the bar we see her writing a letter to both of her lovers, seemingly grappling with the decision to leave them both behind. But we know she cannot, and she knows this too. She decides against the freedom of independence and continues along the road to her lover's house, even while shouting that he is a bastard from her seat. Her demise is a mixture of her bad driving and that of those around her. She not only causes her own death but a pile up, most likely resulting in other deaths. Her final leap from the motorcycle into the window of the car is comical. When the car blows up you feel no sense of remorse and you certainly don't feel cathartic. The image of the burning motorcycle and the image of the burning car create opposite emotions. In one you mourn the loss of a hero, and in the other you're relieved you don't have to listen to anymore of the whining. In the end the men are portrayed as the heroes, the subject, whereas the woman is the object flying through the air in an interesting way. We can watch her death, but don't feel much emotion around it. It's merely entertainment, like a circus performer riding on the back of a horse and falling off for the excitement of the crowd.

Gaze at a Motorcycle

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

When Rebecca first dresses in her motorcycle garb, all components of the gaze reveal Rebecca as an object, some more obviously than others. The camera is close to her and focuses on chest and torso area, emphasizing parts of women that are often sexualized in visual media. The camera looks down on Rebecca, removing her face from the view and thereby removing all individuality or personality that she possesses and reducing her to an object. As a spectator, we focus on the only part of her body that we can see and are unconcerned with her internal feelings as the monologue leads us to focus only on external features. Though she is the only character in the room, she is still an object, though also of her own gaze. Because as a subject she is able to objectify herself through talking about her body in purely physical terms divorced from deeper meaning.

Joker mouth is "To-be-looked-at-ness"

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

The gaze positions Rebecca as an object during Rebecca's dream about crossing the border and is felt up by the security guard. It is important to note that it's Dream-Rebecca who is thinking "he knows I'm naked under this.... he'll make me prove I'm not carrying anything" and, still in the dream, the guard comes onto her and feels up her butt. Kaplan's article talked about the woman placing herself as passive recipient of male desire, or as watching a woman who is passive receipt of male desire (p.126). This is true in both sense, Dream-Rebecca does nothing to stop the guard's advances or pick up lines and the real Rebecca is watching this scene in her dreams. The camera focuses on Rebecca's body parts as the guard watches her. When she drives away the other security guard follows her with his eyes. Mulvey argues that women's appearance is coded to connote "to-be-looked-at-ness" (p.40) and the leather suit demands attention from these security guards and us, as an audience (even if we're in revulsion). Additionally, the scenes of Rebecca riding with her mouth open reminds me of the Joker from Batman and that certainly demands my attention as part of the gaze.

Group 3 - Woman as Object

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From the very first scene in this movie, our main character is clearly an object. The way the camera follows her from foot to neck. The way her leather acts to fetishize her feminine nature. It all flows into the gaze's channel of turning what we see into no more than an object. But the scene that most portrays this is when she is passing through the international check point and the African gentleman both references her, and touches her as if there is no person behind that leather. In fact, she herself, through the use of directed dialogue, draws attention to the fact that "underneath this leather I am naked". This bypasses everything about her thus objectifying her entire presence as she is no more than a naked body with clothes on -- very tantalizing clothes no less. Not only is the gentleman (if you can call him that) inexcusably given free reign to touch her, but so are we, as the camer follows his hands across her body, as if to guide our own fantasies. Furthermore, upon return, she implies that she actually likes it, possibly interpellating all the women watching -- in a way she gives them credence to feel alright with being objectified. She is clearly an object here.

'Till Death Do Us In, Men Still Win

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?

We've been forewarned that road films end in shocking ways (and that most of them are torturous to sit through) so it comes as no surprise that "Girl on a Motorcycle" ends in an equally as disturbing manner as "Easy Rider." What is surprising is how the gender of the protagonists changes the meaning behind their demise. Rebecca, Wyatt, and Billy all meet their fate on the road in aggressive ways: violent and intense "accidents" on the road. However, there is a difference between the two: Rebecca is out of control of herself when she dies while Wyatt and Billy were in control of themselves. This seems to make a comment on how women handle the road versus how men handle the road. This comment is simply that women are less capable of handling the road (freedom and power) than men are: when you consider that Rebecca is seriously intoxicated (she is slammed) and is weaving like a demon on her motorcycle by the time she meets her end, and that Wyatt and Billy are still masters of their motorcycles regardless that they might be high when they die, it's pretty obvious that the director aimed to convey the message that the road is too much to handle for women while men can handle it under any circumstance. To add to that, the fact that Rebecca is wasted and dies by her own stupid mistake and that Wyatt and Billy were taken out by another man comments on gender and responsibility too: women are responsible for the bad that happens to them while men are not. All in all, men still manage to be the better, more powerful, and more reliable sex under any condition. Well that's a surprise...

Gender Roles Portrayed Through Death

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The deaths of Rebecca and Wyatt/Billy have many similarities and differences. All of the main characters die when they are on the road, trying to reach their destination. They have dreams and goals to reach the other side of the bridge, but they are not able to complete their journey. The main characters are also all on motorcycles, which are more intimate of a vehicle than a car or truck. One last similarity is that all of the characters foreshadow their deaths. Rebecca states that the air is cold once she leaves the country of her husband and enters the country of her lover. The cold air is what killed her mother and then she asks herself, "How could I be so stupid?". She also has a close encounter with death before her actual demise as well, and throughout the film she swerves and forces other cars to do so as well. Wyatt and Billy have a same series of events. There is a little blip of the motorcycle in the ditch on fire way before the actual event happened. There is also Wyatt saying of "We messed up".
But within these similarities, there are also significant differences as well. Rebecca is traveling alone, yet in her accident she takes others with her. Wyatt and Billy are traveling together and Billy dies before Wyatt, as it is assumed. The boys were also killed, murdered. A human man pulled the trigger that caused their hearts to stop beating. Rebecca, on the other hand, was in a crash with other people. There is also the differences precursor to their deaths. Rebecca had some alcohol which caused her to become even more irrational than she already was. This caused her first brush against death. Wyatt and Billy smoked weed, a drug. They had their first brush against death when their friend was beaten to death right next to them. The two substances effect the brain and emotions differently. But both parties had effective "trip" scenes in their respective films.
The differences and similarities of the moment of death speak volumes of the gender roles of the characters. The death of Rebecca is quick and relatively neat. She is flung from her bike into the windshield of a car. Nothing is shown of her but her legs sticking out of the car, and then the attention is focused onto another car that has caught fire, and people rushing to look. Billy still has some lines after he gets shot, and Wyatt races to go find help, which is when he gets shot. The final scene of the film is Wyatt's bike blazing on fire in the ditch. Wyatt and Billy's deaths become masculine because they are killed, forced off the road if you will. They suffer because men are tough and can handle it. They are given deaths of heroes. Men who make their own rules who are not afraid to be eccentric, to live outside the society norm. While Rebecca, out of her own lack of attention, dies quickly and then the focus of the camera is turned elsewhere. She is given a feminine death because it is quick and only her legs remain in view. Throughout her journey she becomes more and more demented. She comes off as weak and emotional in her final seconds. She is brushed away like wind blowing the leaves on a tree.

Mulvey v. Faithfull

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What is an instance in Girl on a Motorcycle that positions Rebecca as an object? As Rebecca crosses the border into Germany, the two guards see her as another girl to take advantage of as she waits for them to approve her crossing. One officer pats her butt and makes crude innuendos to Rebecca and she just sits on her bike and takes it. In this way, Rebecca seems to be a sexual toy to the officers. The officers, the camera, and the audience therefore see Rebecca as a sexual object in this scene, along with the majority of the rest of the movie.

Three Motorcycles, Three Deaths

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?

In both films, our protagonists die while in search of freedom. Their motorcycles are the vessels that take them away from their lives, and take them towards a new adventure. All three characters die in their search. We may assume that their searches for freedom may have yielded no results, and that their deaths on the road were inevitable. However, while Wyatt and Billy were innocently shot down, Rebecca shows signs of wanting to die. She drinks and drives her motorcycle recklessly just after she has a mental dispute over her feelings for her two lovers. Wyatt and Billy truly wanted pure freedom, whereas Rebecca wanted to escape her life.

Gaze in "Girl"

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

I think one of the parts that ties in particularly well with what we were discussing in class is one of the book shop scenes. The scene opens with Rebecca being smacked on the butt (by her father? What?) and pans out. We see her standing on a ladder and then Daniel comes in. At one point I recall the camera going up her legs and then focusing on her upper half. This is a PRIME example of Laura Mulvey's "gaze." Not only are the position of the camera and what we the spectators see very much components of this gaze, but the position of Rebecca and the male characters as well. Rebecca is above them, but I do not see this as a way of placing her at a more powerful level. No, the ladder in this case, I believe, serves more as a type of pedestal. Rebecca, as a woman, is in a way being presented like a piece of art- a.k.a. an object.


Men are noble victims. Women are bad drivers.

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?

May I just say what a brilliant piece of work we saw this afternoon....

Anyway! The most apparent compare that I could set up was the correlation between, "Person tries to be free. Person is riding a motorcycle. Person ends up dying in flames." (it could be argued that the impact killed Rebecca and the bullet killed Wyatt but there was fire at the end of both deaths). Another comparison is the foreshadow of death in both movies. For Rebecca it was her constant inner monologue and observations on cemeteries/death and for Wyatt and Billy it was just the visual flash of the burning motorcycle.
As for contrasting...there's a very clear difference in who is at fault for the deaths. Wyatt and Billy were shot for who they were as individuals. Rebecca died because she was a bad woman driver and didn't turn in time. The death was incredibly private and solemn for the men, it was public and a bit of a freak show for the woman. There was something violent and raw for the men and a bit comical for the woman. These, of course, are assumptions that I might be putting on, but from my experience of watching the movie, the death of a man is a much more grave event than that of a woman.

Femininity on the Road

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I thought there were a few feminine cues in this movie but not as many as I was hoping for. This in my mind was a movie still most definitely in a male view which showed. The femininity I saw was in the way she was thinking on the road the whole time, instead of talking she is always in deep though, which I think of women. I also noticed the way she dressed outside of the leather suit; skirts, pretty clothes, ect. There was also different times when she was thinking about the feelings of her husband and how he didn't deserve to be treated so. Those in my mind were very female.

Comparing Easy Rider to this movie, there was much more feeling, her sense of freedom seemed way different than the men in Easy Rider. She was very happy and glowing and exciting looking on the road while Wayette and Billy had more of a badass smirk while riding. I think this helps to show the man vs. woman difference in their excitement of being free on their bike. For her it seemed like a bigger deal, to them it was more a way of everyday living. We also knew her passed and got more in touch with who she was a why she was escaping, in Easy Rider we really were not told that much.

I feel though this movie was still very masculine. She was naked a lot! It seemed like it was showing her to be way too vulnerable without a man controlling her, and it was like she was being viewed through some mans fantasy.


Objectifi[ed]

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Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

As noted, Rebecca is a willing object to the male gaze in every scene she is in. Many scenes play out like the beginning of a cheesy porn flick. When she stops to gas up for the first time, she flirts with the attendant when she has no money. The pathetic & awkward shot of him sliding the nozzle into the fuel tank implies sexual favors about a simple stop for gas. He also checks the tires (because that's what Daniel would suggest) and the shot is framed with Rebecca's leather clad butt, which he then grabs or pats before she "hits the road" again. Rebecca notes twice about her concept of living: "Rebellion's the only thing that keeps you alive" and "I only come to life when he touches me," were prime examples of her being an object that only is used when needed, when "Dan-e-illl" touches her. In relation to Mulvey's concept of three looks, we as the audience see Rebecca as an adulteress, a hussy. The montages in Easy Rider are set to rock anthems of the '60s. Rebecca gets bubbly, twangy, lyric-less songs with shots of her face enjoying the ride. As the audience, we can't see her in any other "light" than a floozy. The male gaze affects this film where if another director had taken this story on, perhaps she would have seemed likable, relatable, or god, even bearable. But we see her as such a sexified version of a real woman, that she is turned into an object of the male gaze.

Girl on a Motorcycle

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How many different kinds of femininity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about women and femininity On the road as compared to men and masculinity On the road in "Easy Rider?".

As Rebecca makes clear throughout her journey to be with Daniel (of course she is pursuing a man) the film "Girl on a Motorcycle" explores the ways in which people venture down the open road in order to find their identity. This theme is similar to "Easy Rider", however this film depicts a woman's characteristics through a masculine perspective rather than how most women see themselves to be. For example you have the sexy leather riding outfit that she is given to wear so she appears "feminine" when handling the traditionally masculine piece of machinery. She is constantly posing herself whenever she is around men in order to appear more desirable. And she uses her body to get what she wants and gets upset when this doesn't work to her advantage as in when she was treated coldly by the boarder control men. The contrast between a male and female road trip will be inherently different as we all have different motives, but this movie implies that a woman can't have a road trip without a man being involved somehow. I think this film is almost some sort of sad attempt at creating what a man would think a version of "Easy Rider" for women would be like.

Rebecca as an Object

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

Rebecca, the main character in "Girl on a Motorcycle", is most definitely seen as an object throughout the entire movie. However, I feel that one of the best scenes that captures this is when she is seen having sex with Daniel for the first time. He comes into her hotel room, takes of his clothes, then takes of hers and just has sex with her. He does not ask for her permission nor does he say a single word to her. When they are done, he simply hands her a cigarette and, even when she speaks to him, he still does not say a word nor does he turn around to acknowledge that she has spoken. This clearly exemplifies Rebecca's role as an object. She's a sex toy, there when he needs to get his jollies off and when he's done that and doesn't need her anymore, she's cast off to the side. I think the worst part is that she's totally okay with it. She allows herself to be taken like that and even enjoys it. Also, Rebecca herself even talks about how she doesn't have an identity and she's identified through Daniel and her parents, further driving home the point that she is an object and not a subject.

Men get shot, Woman just don't pay attention.

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How can the death of Rebecca in "Girl on a Motorcycle," and the deaths of Wyatt and Billy in "Easy Rider" be compared and contrasted? What do these deaths say about the genders of the characters?

Both of the death in an obvious sense where death on the road because the characters had contact with other vehicles and people. In Easy Rider Billy and Wyatt deaths are constructed around the fact that they just met the wrong people, they were minding their own business driving on the open road. There death is shown with the spectator feeling bad for Wyatt and Billy because of that fact they were just riding. Rebecca also had a carefree feel to riding her bike toward the end. But that fact that she was fantasying about a man it was her fault that she died because she wasn't paying attention. The way in which Rebecca was being shown before her death was close-ups of her grinding on her bike thinking about Daniel. These death say that women die because they are thinking of frivolous things as the men died because they bumped into the wrong people.

play-thing

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.
I agree with previous blogs on the fact that Rebecca is seen as an object through the entire film. It begins in one of the first scenes of the film during her dream where she is riding on the horse in her leather body suit and her lover, Daniel, is whipping her and slowly shredding her clothes. She laughs like this is completely normal, granted it is a dream sequence, but it still depicts her as an object that he may do what he pleases with. Then right after this scene, when she wakes up, she goes to actually put on her leather body suit and the camera slowly pans up her body making her vulnerable to the spectator, as well as a simple object, because there is no connection to her character. All three components of Laura Mulvey's gaze are present. Rebecca is either zoomed in very close on or seen from so far away she is simply a spec. These are both ways of making her more of an object to the viewer from the camera angel. Also, during sex scenes she is rarely seen on top, and if she is it is for barely a second. This is another example of how the male characters dominate her through their physical position to her, just making her a sexual object. Like I said there is no connection to her character because of the gaze that is placed throughout the entire film.

femininity on a motor bike

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How many different kinds of femininity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about women and feminity on the road as compared to men and masculinity of the road in "Easy Rider?"

I believe there are very few forms of femininity in this film. Rebecca is the only main female role and she does not change much as a character. The one thing that really I found to be interesting in this film was the way we got to know Rebecca. We learned everything through her thoughts instead of interactions with other characters. When she did have conversations everything that was said was either irrelevant or didn't make a progression in the story line. This just goes to show the differences between this film and "Easy Rider" where we learned everything about the main characters through conversations with others. I think this says a lot about femininity in this film or the lact there of.

Apple of My Eye...

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One example when Rebecca was positioned as an object in "Girl on a Motorcycle" is when she is laying in the woods sleeping, and a group of military men on trucks pass by. The men start to yell things at her, and stare at her as if she is something sweet to eat. Without a doubt, throughout the film she is an object by all the men she encounters, but it is especially so with these military men. These are men who only socialize with other men on a daily basis and happen to come across an attractive woman on the side of the road. She is vulnerable, sleeping next to the road. The men come upon her and don't hesitate to approach her by yelling at her and staring at her sexually. The way she is sprawled out on the ground also makes not only the men on screen, but the spectator in the audience to view her "parts" as objects. We focus on her breasts, and hair and objectify these parts for the viewers pleasure. During this moment, Rebecca is only meant to be there in order to be pleasurable to the men. She is a possession, a thing to satisfy us during that specific moment and then to move on to another person or time to become an object to look at again.

Girl on a Motorcycle: A Voyeur's Dream

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

Although the entire film may be qualified as being under constant direction of the male gaze, the most blatant instance of a dominant patriarchal agenda was in the final, climactic montage leading directly up to Rebecca's death. The camera dances around Rebecca speeding towards Daniel on her motorcycle, as the scene at hand is interspersed with flashback moments and bits of psychedelic-tinged dreams. Throughout this entire sequence, Rebecca is only represented in highly sexualized pieces: her butt bouncing on the seat, a crotch straddling the motorcycle, her hair whipping around, her hand revving the handle, her thighs clenching the seat tighter. We never (/rarely?) see her entire person at one time. Flashes of her in the circus, Daniel her ringmaster, whipping her with a frayed horse whip cut in and out. All the while, we see cuts of her smiling breathlessly with her mouth parted in a sexually suggestive manner, tossing her head back and laughing. As she speeds up it is a very heavy-handed metaphor for racing towards a (sexual) climax, and between the editing, positioning of the shots, and swelling score, we (the audience) feel a thick, rising tension. But despite belonging to a genre of film built on the notion of the road as a representation of freedom, she isn't even allowed that temporary experience of autonomy a woman claims when she 'reaches her destination'/orgasms. Just as Rebecca only experienced sex throughout the film from the position of an object (as we experience in the way it's filmed, the submissive role she plays in each sexual encounter, the way her character's entire drive/purpose is constructed around the desire to throw herself across Daniel's lap so he may paw at her while he provides her with "an identity", along with many other outrageously sexist constructs) so she remains an object even as she transcends her character to become a symbol. The audience gets to experience a highly eroticized build-up, leading to a violent, lethal climax (a juxtaposition I found deeply unsettling, and which unfortunately continues to boost ticket sales to this day); Rebecca, meanwhile, is stripped of her final climactic moment, finding her release instead of in pleasure, or liberation, in death. She was the vessel for the audience's pleasure, for the pleasure of the men around her-- especially Daniel. She did not seek pleasure for herself, as any male character in her position would have; rather, as the final scene suggests most clearly, she served merely as an object for the audience and men around her to desire and draw pleasure from.

How Daniel uses Rebecca

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.

Rebecca is portrayed as a sex object throughout the movie. Her looks are what define her and her body is an object that men are free to look at and touch. Although she is the main character the movie revolves around Daniel, and Rebecca's journey to him. When Rebecca and Daniel are together their relationship is purely sexual. Daniel shows no emotional attachment to her, and it is clear that the relationship is purely physical. In one of her flashbacks, Rebecca runs to Daniel and throws herself across his lap. Daniel proceeds to seduce her as she lays motionless. When he speaks he says: " Your body is like a violin in a velvet case." Rebecca replies, "Skin me." In this scene, Rebecca is an object whose only purpose is to fulfill the sexual desires of Daniel. He compares her to a violin, which is an instrument used for enjoyment and entertainment. Rebecca accepts this and lets Daniel use her body for his own pleasure. Mulvey talks about women as sex objects and asserts, "She holds the look, and plays to and signifies male desire." Rebecca plays to his male desire by allowing him to use her body. Daniel exploits her body throughout the movie and is able to do so because she is strongly portrayed as a sex object.

What Men Want to See

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Laura Mulvey argues that there are three components to the gaze; the position of the spectator, the position of the camera, and the position of the characters on screen. Give an example of a moment in "Girl on a Motorcycle," when the gaze positions Rebecca as an object.
In the film, "Girl on a Motorcycle," the main character Rebecca is seen as a object of desire throughout the entirety of the movie. One moment in particular where Rebecca is seen as a sex object or symbol is when she is stopped at the border by a black officer. He feels her up as he takes a look at her passport, completely taking advantage of his authority as a man of the law. Through out the entire film Rebecca's sexuality is a main focal point. The camera lens focuses on her body such as her legs, butt and breasts. The fact that they rarely show her entire body shows how the film is from the perspective of the male gender. She is a highly sexualized character, but does not seem in control of what happens to her. While she is on the road at her free will, she is still at the disposal of Daniel, who just uses her for sex, while she wants more. There are numerous examples of what Laura Mulvey calls the "gaze" and it weaves a picture of how women were suppose to be during that time in the eyes of men.

Femininity in Girl on a Motorcycle

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Group 1: How many different kinds of femininity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about women and feminity on the road as compared to men and masculinity of the road in "Easy Rider?"

Although most of the film is Rebecca driving on her motorcycle, we also see flashbacks from her life which show us some different kinds of femininity. The main femininity represented is the sex symbol girl who is obsessed with Daniel and is also obsessed with being his object of desire. She is "rebellious" against marriage and suburbia and feels trapped in her life, but yet she wants to marry Daniel which would probably give her a similar kind of life. But we also see memories she's reflecting on while travelling, moments with her husband Raymond and also with her father in his bookstore when she first met Daniel. Before meeting Daniel it seems as if she would've been the stereotypical 60's housewife- pretty and fun and a nice young lady. She seemed to be a good, respectful daughter who did what her father told her to do. She also seemed to love Raymond but turned into a sex-crazed woman after meeting Daniel and was no longer satisfied with her life. Although it is only one female character, we see her evolve into different kinds of femininity- from innocence to an object of sexual desire. The road to Rebecca does represent freedom similar to in Easy Rider for Wyatt and Billy. She sees it as a way out of her unhappy life to go and join her lover. But it is definitely not the same kind of freedom, she is just switching from being one man's wife to another man's. And for some strange reason, she is attracted to Daniel and would rather be with him even though he tells her to shut up and doesn't care about anything besides their sexual relationship... It was interesting to me when she was arriving in Germany and said, "I'm now leaving Raymond's country and entering my lover's." Where is her country? Why can't she make her own identity instead of relying on the men in her life to give it to her?

Girl-Thing on a Motorcycle

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One of the most obvious points in the movie in which "the gaze" repositions Rebecca as an object is when she pulls over on the side of the road to break from her journey so as not to reach Daniel too early in the day. As she pines over him, thinking about how he ought to enjoy his breakfast and other such nonsense, the camera fragments her body. It is often a close up shot of her face, lips parted sensually with a strange narrative voiceover happening through out the scene. She has nothing to do but lie down, looking sexy for the invisible spectators, and though the words and voice narrating the scene are her own, they are taken out of her mouth. She does little speaking out loud in the film at all, which seems very strange. Unlike in the buddy type road films, she travels alone. Without any one to talk to, or share adventures with her trip seems sad and difficult, rather than fun and exciting as it was for Wyatt and Captain America.
This scene devolves into a corny fantasy which is interrupted when Rebecca is awoken by a caravan of army trucks, the soldiers cat call her en mass, which is an ultimate act of objectification. She was not even conscious when they started, they saw her as a beautiful thing on the side of the road, that aroused their sexual interest, even though there was no participation on her behalf.

Death on a Motorcycle

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In "Girl on a Motorcyle", Rebecca is portrayed as the sultry, almost whimsical woman in lust with her lover. The entire ride, she has an inner monologue running in her head, clearly distracted by the male of the film. In the last moments of her death, she is driving drunk, completely wacking out over Daniel. She is portrayed as the "object". In contrast with Wyatt and Billy, who died out of sheer prejudice by the southerners, Rebecca dies out of "silly girliness". The same can be said about the genders of the characters, because women are "distractions" while the men are serious and responsible.

The Representation of Femininity in 'Girl on a Motorcycle'

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To me, this film inhabits two and only two kinds of femininity. They are so few because besides Rebecca, there are only two other women in the entire film with speaking roles: her friend on the skiing trip and the German waitress. I believe these roles to be direct products of the Madonna-Whore complex. Rebecca is the Madonna in scenes such as the book shop and the skiing trip:still a child (her father bosses her around) and evidently a virgin; young and untouched. After Daniel takes her virginity, she is now the whore, and even she admits this in one of her many soliloquies on the motorcycle. The entire movie/journey revolves around her betraying her loyal husband to pursue her lover in a leather jump suit, all things that label her as promiscuous, unfaithful, and whorish. The Madonna is the only shared femininity, for we see it in the friend at the skiing trip as well. In 'Easy Rider' the purpose of the journey was for Cpt. America and Billy to--although not explicitly said--find themselves through the journey whether that be through the actual riding or the experiences that came their way. For Rebecca, it wasn't to find or discover herself, but in pursuit of a man whom she felt held the key to the real her. What this movie is saying about women and femininity vs. men and masculinity is that although a woman can epitomize heteronormative femininity, her purpose is to seek man, or a male. Both movies, though delivered in different forms, are in pursuit of man and man's approval.

Group 2

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The women and men of different ethnicities in this film shape Wyatt and Billy into more than just some hippie bikers...they shape them into caring individuals. They respect and trust people wholeheartedly, especially Peter Fonda's character (Wyatt). For example, they pick up a complete stranger and understand the necessity of food for some of the groups they encountered. They are socially matured people for the time and when they are down South they really come to terms with this.

Captain America and the Silent Women.

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I would consider Easyrider a male dominated road film. The entire film is focused on men and their own journey. Sure, that may include coming across teenage women and a couple prostitutes but the women in this film are merely furniture. They are there to provide the background to the journey. Even when the women speak, they are not even shown in the camera frame. Same goes for people of color. They are considered lesser than white males and are only shown in the background (without dialogue). They counter the masculinity of both Captain American and Billy.

Group 1

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I think people have done an excellent job pointing out the differences between "counter-culture" Captain America and Billy, and their southern competition for representing the 'male species.' In the 1960s a new wave of masculinity was appearing, breaking old gender stereotypes of the rough and stoic family man in favor of a trouble-free adventurer. So I would like to point out some of the ironic similarities that I see between these polar groups, the "old-school" vs "new age" representations of masculinity. In the end, both thought the other inferior, and even the open-road loving "hippies" were extremely mysoginistic. Both groups viewed the other as threats, the southerners saw the California Dudes perhaps as a threat to their old system and order of things; the Dudes felt the southerners and threats to their safety and perhaps even their freedom to 'progress' and morph as men. Either way they were still groups of white men exerting their dominance and superiority, meanwhile marginalizing women by using them as playthings but never taking them seriously, showing a common thread of masculinity through female domination.

Reasons to Run

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?
Women and people of color never play a lead role in the movie. Instead they are seen in the background or in short scenes alongside the main characters. The only people of color seen in the film are Hispanic; however, African Americans are referenced in the film by the white males sitting in the café in the south. They are mentioned to degrade Billy and his physical appearance. This defines what is accepted as 'male' by society and places Wyatt and Billy as outsiders. Three kinds of women were seen in the film: the Catholic wife with a devoted husband, the irate wife with the hitchhiking husband, and two prostitutes. The unmarried women have a kind of freedom that attracts Wyatt and Billy. They stay the longest with the prostitutes and even enjoy an acid trip together. The married women illustrate how identity is defined and fuel the fire of roaming free in Wyatt and Billy. The hitchhiker's wife demonstrates how a man can become oppressed when married. The hitchhiker says little about where he is going. We only know upon arrival that he is going home and to his wife. On the journey there he seemed unenthusiastic and even a little unhappy. Upon greeting her husband, she immediately jumps into a rant about domestic and hospitality issues that are of little concern to the hitchhiker who just wants a kiss from his wife. We only hear her voice and see Wyatt looking around the tent like how a prisoner looks around his new prison cell. After staying for only a little while Billy is intent upon leaving. It seems that he feels suffocated by the environment. The farmer's wife is only seen for a few seconds. She never speaks when spoken to or about and never engages in conversation with Wyatt nor Billy. When the farmer asked her to bring more coffee she obeys with only a nod of her head. Not having a voice of your own and doing what others tell you display another type of oppression to Wyatt and Billy. It also leads them to question identity. To avoid both types of oppression and to not lose their identities Wyatt and Billy roam constantly and never stay too long in one place.

In the Background: Women and People of Color

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Women and people of color are given minor roles revolving around the main characters, Wyatt and Billy. Women are always in the background, while the men parade around in the spotlight. It is the same with colored people. Mexicans have a short dialog at the beginning of the film, in Spanish. So people who don't know Spanish don't really understand them. African Americans are shown as entertainment during the Mardi Gras scene. Women do not have any real dialog. The longest talking part a woman has in the movie, she isn't even in focus. The contrast between these groups and Wyatt and Billy is so diverse, that Wyatt and Billy stand out from the "background". The "background" referring to people of color and women. They exert a masculine presence because everyone else has lack of presence. It was particularly interesting to me, that during the "trip scene" that a prayer is being told by a feminine narrator, giving Billy and Wyatt an even more masculine presence, because they are the only image of "male" in the scene.

Easy rider!

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?
Both women and people of color had a very minor role to play in the movie. Women and people of color remained submissive throughout the movie. From the farmers hispanic wife to the prostitutes, they all were submissive in their own ways. The colored people only remained in the background, they never played any major roles. Wyatt and Billy were very interesting characters in the film. As many people noted in class, they behaved the same with all women, it didn't matter to them even if they were prostitutes. Throughout the movie I noticed their counter-culture masculinities attracted women. For example, in the rural restaurant in Louisiana the women seated nearby instantly fell for them. But the men were against their 'counter-culture' and they faced a lot of mocking, racist, and homophobic remarks from them in the same restaurant. They were even physically attacked the same night. As far as the colored people go, they were a couple of harsh remarks by George towards colored people, reflecting on the racist culture in the 60s.Lastly I would like to add that the carefree attitude of Wyatt and Billy, and their larger purpose to make money also added to their masculinity.

Group 2 blog question

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How are women and the people of color placed in the film? How did those groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?
First of all, the portraits of women and the people of color in this move are in parallel that their roles taken in this movie are apparently and obviously minor roles. Women's passiveness, permissiveness, and irrationality, in an absence of independence to express rationale or perspectives other than speaking up for by-passing moments of completing details in the plot makes me think that themselves are recognizing the relationship between women and male as vertical and pyramidal rather than horizontal. At the rancher's house where Billy and Wyatt stop to fix their motorcycles we see the first woman role on the screen, however, she doesn't seem to have an authority to express--that every individual is born with-- in this case, curiosity towards strangers out loud nor in presence of willing to be treated as any'man' else. For colored people it's even more--not even in presence in the film, but a sense of them only melt in characters' conversations as a means of expressing hostility and harassment on Billy, George and Wyatt--which makes them leave the dinner. Especially, regarding the fact that the film often shows exposure of physical body part of women and that the film does not show any bit of nakedness of male figures, women in this movie are portrayed as not more than a means of fulfilling one of the masculine ambitions that Billy and Wyatt have started off from the beginning--luxury of enjoying moments of freedom, away from any responsibility, under a fancy title of the Southern journey to Mardi Gra.
All of these highlight the masculinity of Billy and Wyatt because this whole story of hitting the road to South was able to dream and achieve only since they weren't women or people of color. Guys are always in pace--even in the jail--because they are in aware of the fact that by being a man they hold an authority enjoy such adventure, even if it ends up in a merciless and dreadful accident.

Road as the infinite linear progress

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

Men are never satisfied. So they go on this journey, bumping into people and places, but always moving out of there as soon as they still grasp the meaning of the road - life always happens somewhere else. I'd say that the road also represents the killer of their freedom while many people seem to only tie the road to freedom. Yes, they are on their bikes, exploring new territories but also being rejected by the local culture and the discrimination of their appearance and values. Note that they are also killed on the road which they found so exciting, and the road is almost a narcissistic symbol of man ego that mixes with the stimulating visual landscape and the carefree music. I've noticed that along their journey, there are constant shots of American flags in every town they visit, the consistency of the road links all these images to one nation. Whereever they visit, you get the idea that it is in America. Why do you think the main character is referred as Captain America? I think he is a walking symbol that his traveling with other men on the road is a way of leading the beauty of the American landscape and also the problematic struggles of race, class and gender. Meanwhile, there are also shots where they build campfire and stay outdoor instead of dropping in a motel. I am convinced that the road also manifests that the wild west lifestyle should be maintained and it might be jeopardized by the invasion of growing cities, the manipulation of filth and the objectified women. Therefore, I see the road as a transitional link from America's past to its current age, which embraces freedom, but at the same time, has to deal with inequality and violence.

Road--Freedom for White Males

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From reading other posts it has become apparent that others and I share the belief that the road symbolizes freedom, and that freedom is perceived as a right, not a privilege for white males. While the road symbolizes freedom, the freedom is only allowed for the white male. We never view women, blacks, children or any other ethnicity on the road enjoying their right to freedom and this tells us a lot about what was going on in the United States at the time. Women, blacks, Native Americans etc. were all fighting for the right and privilege to act as a free person. In the film, Wyatt and Billy get a taste for what minorities and women were fighting for at this time and perhaps see that freedom really is a privilege and luxury others didn't have. They experienced this while off the road (and on the road towards the end) when they were constantly criticized for their long hair, which is something viewed as a feminine attribute, and easy going attitudes. However, when they would reunite with the road once again they felt the advantages of being free. They had the luxury of being able to sleep on the side of road or pee on the side of the road; if someone saw a black man or white woman doing that it would be criticized and frowned upon. So while I believe the road does symbolize freedom, it does not symbolize freedom as a privilege for all, which exemplifies the struggles going on in America at the time.

Free sex

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In "Easy Rider" women and people of color fall to the background of Wyatt and Billy's journey along the road. In particular, solely sexual relationships with women help support the idea of the counter culture and the "hippie" lifestyles of the two main characters. There is limited convsersation between men and women, as if to symbolize its' unimportance in a relationship. Free sex was a common philosophy amoung the counter-culture.

Wyatt and Billy do not interact with any black people, although they do see them as "scenory" particularly in the South. The black family along side the road and the black musicians in the city do not engage in conversation with the characters, unlike in CA when Wyatt and Billy bough coke from the hispanic men. I think this is important when considering the relationships between minorities in the South and minorities out West with the majority populations.

White men in the South do not interact with black men and women. This gender role is much different than how white and hispanic people interact out West. Wyatt and Billy's journey took them to a different part of the country with different perceptions of how men should interact, and they seemed to follow this custom. From this perspective they take a step away from their counter-culture into the culture of the South.

Man, oh man.

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

I was intrigued by the opening scene and its strange silence. Of course, this scene was just all men: Wyatt, Billy and the Hispanic bystanders. Just from the bystander's looks, you can sort of see who is dominant and who is not. Wyatt has the cash, the coke and the hook ups. On top of that, he invokes interest from the bystanders. Although you don't see anyone bowing to the White man, the small action of allowing him to consume your interest, your awe and envy, feeds to the hunger of superiority. Laderman calls this "American expansionism and imperialism" (22). While Wyatt and Billy did not impose superiority throughout the film, this single scene revealed who has the upper hand.
The earliest mention of African Americans was from a southern man. The sheriff and local man were discussing a lynching of an African American man, while Wyatt, Billy and George are still sitting in the. Many of us can infer what would have occurred if Wyatt, Billy and George were African Americans. Later we hear Jimi Hendrix, but it wasn't an exact surprise to me because the song was rock, and that may be the only reason why his song graced film. The only other song sung by African Americans was in the Mardi Gras scene, where you could see an ensemble performing a song. We only saw them a few times while hearing them and seeing Wyatt and Billy and their prostitutes.
In Driving Visions, Laderman stated that women in road films were "...passive passengers and/or erotic distractions" (20). This is quite true in Easy Rider where women were mere objects of pleasure. In several scenes we see men induced into a state of ease and pleasure; indeed women were very much erotic distractions, especially at Mardi Gras. We have the overbearing and needy woman to fit the mold with the bold and badass man. We can see this coupling, this comparison in the entire film: who is dominant.

Race and Women

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

From the very beginning of the movie where Wyatt and Billy are eating lunch with the farmer's family, women especially take a backseat role. The two men are on an explorative journey not only of the road and landscape but seemingly of themselves. The women that the meet on their trek, while taking a direct part in many of their experiences, it seems that they are unable to fully grab the moment as the men are. An example of one of these times is when Wyatt and Billy take the two women across the canyon. The women are laughing, undressing and not being at all serious. They never talk about anything deep or with weight possibly because the men do not think them capable of such conversations. Portrayed as frivolous and unenlightened, the two women living a the mime camp, though part of the counter culture as well, do not impact the men past the moments where they are with them. It also seems that the women at the mime camp and later the prostitutes emphasize Wyatt and Billy's masculine qualities. Many camera shots are of just Wyatt or Billy and often times they are looking quite thoughtful or meaningful. On the other hand there were close to none singular shots of either women or people of color.

Easy Rider: The Road

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

Within the film "Easy Rider" the main characters Wyatt and Billy are riding for freedom. The film attempts to display the fact that the road represents freedom throughout their journey. With each stop the men get in trouble, are treated poorly or are taking advantage of people who have less than them. This is contrasting to the long scenic shots of the men driving through America with what seemed like little to care about other than making it to Mardi Gras. The only thing that strays from the idea of the road being freedom is at the end when they are both shot and killed. I interpret this as within their society they are unable to be free to ride motorcycles with long hair without discrimination. When one of the two men said, "we blew it" he was talking about how they made it to their destination and still aren't free to be who they want. Death was the only way for them to truly be free.

potrayal of blacks and women

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?
in easy rider women were not respected and they did not play a huge role in it. through out the movie women didn't really say much and they were referred to as pork chops. example of female not having much of a stand in the movie is that every time a female asked Wyatt and Billy for ride their motorcycle they wouldn't allow it like when they went to the restaurant and the girls there wanted a ride, but through-out the movie they picked up male strangers along the way. Blacks was also not represented in the movie. the only place where blacks were seen is the entertainment section of mardi gras. i think Wyatt and Billy felt discriminated against by the society because of their long hair. in some ways the discrimination was similar because to the society they are out of the norm. They were discriminated against because society didn't think they were normal just like them because they had long hair. The film is male gender based and can also be color based and these two together made Wyatt and Billy feel powerful and free. we never saw a black person or woman riding a motor cycle, so when it comes to those two groups then Wyatt and Billy had a higher stand in society.

Maculine Riders

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How many different kinds of masculinity are represented in this film?

There are numerous kinds of masculinity shown in the film but I for one noticed the badass testosterone part the most, however there was the role of men verse women typical role play of the time also. I first noticed the motorcycles, different for each of the men. One chopper having overly tall handle bars with the American Flag Painted on it, and the other more of a classes Harley style. Their atire one with all black leather and the American flage the other buckskin. All saying I am bad ass with not a care about what anyone thinks, sort of. Although I think thats what they wanted people to see, the I am bad ass. Very Masculine. I also noticeed the the difference in the Southern men who were all very similar with short crew hair cuts and sleeves rolled up to show muscles talking smack about the long hair hippie freaks. While the southern women were swooning over these new men. The Southern men were very defensive and horrible to strangers with longer hair that they knew nothing about. There again the trying to be badass masculinity and testosterone. The other type I noticed was the women dont have a huge significance they are here to make babies, cook dinner, tame urges, and take care of the kids..attitude typical of the time and throughout the movie. This was shown all through the movie as the men traveld across the country on their trip.

What is the movie saying about men and masculinity in 1960's America?

I was not sure on this but the parts I picked up go as this:

Men were different in rebellion at the time across the country. These men were rebelling with their long hair from California while men in the South still were stuck in their ways with the short hair and racist old school thoughts. The two characters were not afraid to let strange men cuddle with them on the back of a bike..which now a days would be odd to see to be honest, and yet they never let women on the bikes. They still refered to women as an object more over than a person. It seemed a period of change for both men and women, but still had a very old school atitude devided by old wartorn lines in the country.

Movin' Down the Road

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

There is a physical road the men are traveling on to get to a destination and there is also a metaphorical road or path they are on to changing their lives so that they don't have to conform to "normal" society ways of living their lives. Physically leaving down the road on a motorcycle was a way to escape the requirements that society has placed on them. The viewer watches two men that appear to be buying and selling drugs to set up their finance for their leaving. However, it's not clear what they are trying to leave from except that along the physical road they travel on they come upon people and try to conform to their way of life. However they never want to stay and conform. Instead they continue down the physical and metaphorical road to find something. The movie ends with the men still moving down the physical road and being murdered which ends their path to change their lives.

Let's hit the road Dude...

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

My interpretation of the usage of the road in "Easy Rider" is being a representation of freedom from those factors of life that back in 1969 were looked at as being far more conventional than liberal. Being free of a wife, kids to support, wasting away at a Monday through Friday job are only several things that come to mind that traveling the road of freedom enables an escape from.
Wyatt aka Captain America & Billy are two guys from L.A. in a road trip in which in one area of the film it's stated by one of them that they "only have a week" to accomplish their goal. What their goal is is not clearly stated. They have made a large amount of income on the trip in which financially, Billy at least seems to feel rich & set for a life of whatever he may decide it's to be. Wyatt doesn't seem as fazed by this financial aspect but rather seems to appreciate the landscape & nature associated with the road as he travels it.
Wyatt is impressed by the farmers ability to live off the land in addition to being supportive of the other community of people they meet who are struggling much more so but continue to hold strong in their faith and that it will enable them to be successful with their attempts to continue.
Hearing the term "dude" throughout the movie caused me to remember another good movie "The Big Lewbowski" in which the main character is referred to as "The Dude".
This term is still widely used in our society today and the meaning has not changed much at all. In "Easy Rider" it's the dude's who travel the road freely without the limitations and constraints of others they come into contact with. Despite the fact that they are ridiculed and mocked, refused service, beaten and eventually murdered on this journey, they remain able to have a level of respect for others & humanity that was not always extended to them while traveling the road.


Let's hit the road Dude...

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

My interpretation of the usage of the road in "Easy Rider" is being a representation of freedom from those factors of life that back in 1969 were looked at as being far more conventional than liberal. Being free of a wife, kids to support, wasting away at a Monday through Friday job are only several things that come to mind that traveling the road of freedom enables an escape from.
Wyatt aka Captain America & Billy are two guys from L.A. in a road trip in which in one area of the film it's stated by one of them that they "only have a week" to accomplish their goal. What their goal is is not clearly stated. They have made a large amount of income on the trip in which financially, Billy at least seems to feel rich & set for a life of whatever he may decide it's to be. Wyatt doesn't seem as fazed by this financial aspect but rather seems to appreciate the landscape & nature associated with the road as he travels it.
Wyatt is impressed by the farmers ability to live off the land in addition to being supportive of the other community of people they meet who are struggling much more so but continue to hold strong in their faith and that it will enable them to be successful with their attempts to continue.
Hearing the term "dude" throughout the movie caused me to remember another good movie "The Big Lewbowski" in which the main character is referred to as "The Dude".
This term is still widely used in our society today and the meaning has not changed much at all. In "Easy Rider" it's the dude's who travel the road freely without the limitations and constraints of others they come into contact with. Despite the fact that they are ridiculed and mocked, refused service, beaten and eventually murdered on this journey, they remain able to have a level of respect for others & humanity that was not always extended to them while traveling the road.


Masculinity in Easy Rider

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There are multiple versions of Masculinity portrayed in Easy Rider. The most prominent version is displayed by the main characters Captain America and Billy. There form of masculinity has no regulations or boundaries. They are men and as so do what they please without having answer to anyone or caring what the consequences may be. They feel that this is in a sense the freedom given to them by being male. Another form of masculinity is seen in the "southern gentleman", although, there isn't really anything gentlemanly about them. They define there masculinity through adhering to the standards set forth by previous generations of what is considered manly. They have no freedom to question and they are threatened by those oppose the standards they have set. These two types of masculinity clash violently in the film. Masculinity in the 1960's was extremely varied and debatable to the point of having no actual definition except for a males personal beliefs of what the definition should be and they do not question it.
Layla Park

Daredevil Purpose

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

The road symbolizes a time of no worries. Wyatt is a complex character who is in search of meaning but while on the road he is portrayed as happy. Wyatt was filled with thoughts about freedom and what to do with life when stopped on the road. I won't argue that Wyatt was searching for the philosophical meaning of life, but he was struggling to find purpose in his life. Klinger said the road montage and music cue the audience to take pleasure in the spectacle. We are watching and enjoying the scene before us filled with men, motorcycles, open road and beauties of nature. Wyatt and Billy appear to be happiest while riding their motorcycles. There is no dialogue on the road but we have music to convey life style and attitudes of the characters. Laderman quotes Lopez, "protagonists are either rugged individualists who make the road their home and use it for some daredevil purpose or challenge, or they are solitary individuals who embrace the road as a way of life". Wyatt and Billy perform bike tricks and ride all long before the scene cuts and it's dusk again. The plot of the story takes place when camped in the woods, or in the towns but a large chunk of the story takes place on the road. The road is where there are no worries, just the pleasure of going somewhere.

Easy Rider

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How many different kinds of masculinity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about men and masculinity in 1960s America?

I think that there are many different types of masculinity in "Easy Rider" in the sense that there are many types of cultures within the film. First there are the two main characters Captain America and Billy,who are from L.A. and who embody a more open form of masculinity that is not so worried about what other people might think of them. They are less restricted and more free. They are the type of masculinity that even though they have long hair and wear tight pants they are still rugged and tough looking. This is because of their bikes and their rock star like demeanor. There is also the hippie that they pick up on the side of the road, who in most cases would be considered more feminine. He also embodies almost complete freedom, because he is from no where and does not conform to any rules or standards. In the film there is also the traditional thought of masculinity, which is shown through Jack Nicholson's character (to a point) and also the men in the south. With their short hair, T-shirt and jeans/ slacks and their use of violence and "smack talk." There is also a commonality with all of these men which shows that with masculinity come privilege and dominance. I think that this shows that in the 1960's America that there was a change occurring with what was thought to be masculine. "Easy Rider" shows that masculinity was changing into something that could be considered more endogenous and not so hyper masculine. This is shown by the more progressive main characters and the southern men who seemed to be stuck in the past. I think it also shows that men (especially white men) were looking and taking advantage of a certain privilege that they felt they had to, which was to experience this freedom that they believed America was all about. They were perhaps starting to question the rules and were starting to look at the world in a different light.

Sluts and Landscape

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Group 2

How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

It's captivating that the women at the hippie commune, the young girls in the southern town who ask for a ride, and then, at the end, the paid prostitutes, all engage in and relate to an identity that relies on men for support- in particular, these counter-culture men that show up in their lives. As for the people of color- they became almost an auditory and visual landscape for Wyatt and Billy to roll past. Like the rolling hills and the seemingly endless highways set to an idealistic soundtrack, anyone who wasn't white was pasted into the film like another prop or part of the scenery (the drug deal, the quiet wife, the African American people standing by their shacks). These two identities- the prostitute and the landscape- create the support for these men to ride on in their own masculinity without interference. Laderman's "What a Trip" calls it an "overinvested white male point of view" and the only way that that would be noticeable would be for the contrast to be available to look at and engage in as well. The women and the person of color represent the "other" to what is represented as the "other" to society (these counterculture men) creating an interesting counterculture to the counterculture. From my perspective, these women/people of color actually diminished the so called "counter-cultured masculinities" by revealing our modern eyes to a much deeper analysis of the time period that it was set in.

The Soul as a Sunset

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

"Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's not." Martin Scorsese

I think that this quote best sums up what the road represents in this movie. It represents the central journey of our central characters, and furthermore, it represents the mysteries that lie ahead. We often, in fact, see only long shots of the road and very barren land, with only the two characters' motor cycles traveling this road. This sums up the experience, as what's in the frame helps shape what is not in the frame, and thus the journey here takes center stage. This is a road movie after all, and in this case, the pavement -- the very foundation of the characters -- are one with the road they travel. Also, the camera seems to often follow the road along with the characters in low shots, instead of high crane panning shots. This suggests that not only are the characters on a journey, but that the audience is also supposed to feel a sense of forward momentum. Finally, the road represents time, and how we cannot undo the past. When "the American dream" quips "We blew it", I think what he means is that while on this road -- this trail of time -- they never took the time to stop and question just where there road might lead, and now it is too late. The road is the journey to ones soul.

Easy rider

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

The road in "Easy Rider" implies ways to freedom, strong desire to be free, and attitudes toward the life of young generation. There are two main objects that need to be focus: roads and motorcycles. The figure of riding motorcycle without falling and motorcycle itself goes along and associates with insecure, confused, and dangerous attitudes in life of young generation. Also, they represents lonely and risky aggression of hippie culture, rock n roll, and drugs, which are all found on the road. Strong aggression is counterevidence of desire from deprived freedom that challenges Wyatt and Billy on the road. The road itself, which constantly extends to an unknown distance through sense of infinite, reveals young generation's way of life or I'd say intolerable, bottomless, and endless thirst of freedom. Moreover, it can only assume freedom that runs through the young generation, but cannot assure it because Wyatt and Billy who were trying to find a way out of conservative social atmosphere, biased ideas, and violence of the society, failed to reach the place. Failure of their way also showed what Wyatt mentioned about their journey at the end.

Easy Rider, group 1

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How many different kinds of masculinity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about men and masculinity in 1960s America?

Masculinity is represented in a variety of ways in Easy Rider. The type of masculinity most frequently portrayed in the film is the counter-culture masculinity seen in the characters of Wyatt and Billy. They are made masculine with their constant use of motorcycles (traditionally masculine vehicles) and taking of both social and physical risks such as drug use and rejecting various aspects of mainstream culture.
Most of the other ways in which masculinity is represented in this film are more traditional gender roles than Wyatt and Billy's characters. For instance, the rancher they meet in the first few scenes of the movie is the epitome of the traditional family man. He is clearly perceived as the head of his family, as he is the only one of them who speaks during dinner, where he is seated at the head of the table (which has been reserved for him by his already seated family). We see the privilege of being a man portrayed further in the seating at the table as Wyatt and Billy sit next to the head of the table rather than the rancher's wife or children. Furthermore, Billy and Wyatt compliment him on his many children. Though he blames his large family on his wife's religious faith, having many children also shows his virility and potency, traits which men desire in order to be perceived as more masculine.
Billy and Wyatt's new friend George represents the traditionally masculine role of a defender of those weaker than him. As a lawyer he is a defender of the rights of citizens. As the only lawyer we meet in the film, his character suggests this is a masculine profession. In addition, he defends Billy and Wyatt to the prison guards, ultimately securing their release.
Another prevalent form of masculinity in Easy Rider clashes with Billy and Wyatt's version of masculinity. This is seen in the men who live in the small Southern towns they pass on their road trip. Men, including officers of the law, in these towns are portrayed as bullies and attackers. They are fearful of differences and act out against those who do not follow social norms. They insult Billy and Wyatt's appearance and lifestyle choices, because they deviate from the way they believe men should look and behave. A trend of insults heard throughout the film are aimed at the length of the men's hair. Long hair is a traditionally feminine feature, and long hair on men in the 1960's was generally socially unacceptable.
While masculinity is presented in various ways in the film Easy Rider, I believe it is the interactions between the type of masculinity seen in the Southern men and that seen in Billy and Wyatt which says the most about the general state of masculinity in America in the 1960s. In the 1950s and 1960s there were very strict social rules about how a man should look and act. This perception of masculinity greatly mirrors the characters of the Southern men-- short haired, hard working, tends not to show emotion besides aggression, etc. However, in the 1960s there was an emergence of a new take on masculinity, as seen in the free-spirited, risk-taking nature of Wyatt and Billy on the open road. In Easy Rider, we see that not only were new versions of masculinity forming, but the men of the traditional conservative American culture were extremely rejecting and fearful of these new versions of masculinity.

They Danced down the Road like Dingledodies...

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What does the road mean in Easy Rider? The road in Easy Rider represents the means to an end. The road's connecting function has been mentioned a few times, and it does indeed connect them to their illusion of freedom. It enables Wyatt and Billy to travel to Mexico for drugs, which they are then able to sell for a massive amount of money. As Billy put it, "you go for the big money and then you're free." And their motorcycles, a crucial part of their road experience, are the vessels allowing them that freedom, as they harbor the cash and get them to the promised land of New Orleans. The road is their gateway to Mardi Gras, another illusion of freedom for the boys, particularly Billy. At Mardi Gras they'll be free to do basically whatever they want without the major criticisms they encountered along the way.

Group2-Easy Rider

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How are women and the people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

Despite the lack of presence in the film, women and the people of color play important roles in the film when it comes to address one of the themes of the file which is counter-culture in 1960s. Counter-culture represents the behaviors that do not conform to social norms. Wyatt and Billy are rejected at the motel door by the owner; they are considered rebellions and trouble makers. On the other hand, the farmer with a Catholic wife and many children actually got interested in them and wishes he is as free as them. Automatically, this scene addresses that the wife and children are burden to him, and due to them he cannot wander or move as he wishes. The lack of mobility and power is the main characteristic women possess in this film and it was a reality in the 1960s and 70s. The woman they met at the commune of the hitchhiker needed Wyatt's help to get out of the commune and it demonstrates her lack of power and mobility. Most of the women in the commune too are dependent on men and their presence means a lot to women. The teenage girls in the diner also admire and desire Wyatt and Billy's absolute mobility, but more importantly they cannot be welcomed to the absolute mobility. Women's depressing stability contrasts to Wyatt and Billy's mobility and it subsequently emphasizes their masculinities. Most importantly, women and the people of color represent simple joy and pleasure. They do not have meaningful voice in the film but only were shown as company for pleasure and fun. The people of color barely appear throughout the entire film except for the scenes at Mardi Gras. All the women in the commune of the hitchhiker were mingled with the children and they only focus on simple life matters. The prostitutes, last female figures in the film, were just for ephemeral joy and desire not friendship or serious relationship. In short, even though their presence as a whole was short, the role of women and the people of color in the film explicitly address the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy.

Masculinity in Easy Rider

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How many different kinds of masculinity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about men and masculinity in 1960s America?

There are a few different representations of masculinity in Easy Rider. What the male characters all had in common was freedom; whether it was a desire to be free or actually being free, I feel like it was the theme of the film. Though there was not a strong point or purposeful plot, the men seemed exhuberantly manly. There could also be an argument for masculinity represented in vessels that were not the male characters. For example, the type of vehicle that was chosen for the road trip. While females are certainly capable of riding motorcycles, in the 1960's this was not so much the case. This is masculinity coming from inanimate aspects of the movie. Another example of inanimate masculinity is within the music. From Steppenwolf playing during the credits to Jimi Hendrix, the soundtrack is filled with male themes and male artists. There was no female representation whatsoever in the music for this film. Even the persistant drug theme in the movie gave off a masculine feel, though at least women were participating in the drugs. They were, however, shown as uneducated in a sense when it came to this. The men were able to lord themselves over the women before doing drugs together. While they were allowed to participate, they were not being treated or displayed as equals.

Reason to Run

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Masculinity isn't putting the word man after everything you say

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How many different kinds of masculinity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about men and masculinity in 1960s America?

From the first five minutes of Easy Rider viewers are bombarded with all sorts of masculine references and stereotypes. From the motorcycles, the leather jackets, and Born to be Wild playing in the background, it's clear where this movie is heading right from the start. It's also only natural that Wyatt makes a rebellious statement before their departure, taking off his watch and throwing it into the dirt as if he's throwing away all responsibilities for life on the road. The idea of leaving town on motorcycles to road trip across the US is very masculine itself but I don't think the characters necessarily masculine at all. However manly and tough Billy and Wyatt seem in the beginning, their images only become less masculine as they become more vulnerable on the road. They soon realize how unaccepting people can be if you're different and not considered part of the social norm. It's also important to note their masculinity changes along with the scenery. While they might be alpha males in California, their hippies looks, outlandish behavior, and annoying dude/man language turns them into outcasts as they get deeper south. They're called queers, harassed about their long hair, and ultimately shot for being different. What was acceptable in California was definitely foreign anywhere else and they struggled the entire movie to fit in where they didn't belong. George on the other hand, represented the southern masculinity perfectly. He was well educated, had a sturdy job, and was dressed in a suit and tie even after leaving jail. He was a polar opposite of Billy and still very different from Wyatt but because he associated himself with them he ultimately got killed while they were camping. This movie calls to attention the prejudices of the 1960s very well. Racism and sexism are definitely a part of Easy Rider since there is no African American characters in the film, although they are still mentioned, and the women serve no other purpose than to entertain the men. The rebellious looks and attitude of Billy and Wyatt ultimately leads their downfall and the downfall of George as well.

Good Old Fashioned Boys vs. Dudes

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How many different kinds of masculinity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about men and masculinity in 1960s America?

Masculinity in the Easy Rider was presented largely as two main types. The first being this new kind of masculinity, which Billy and Captain America represented. They gallivanted through the country with their long hair, and new age ways. On the flip side there were figures that represented the old school masculinity; the clean cut Southerners who drove pickup trucks and carried shot guns. Throughout the film it's an us vs. them mentality that creates such hostile relations between the two different types of men. This is a commentary on the state of masculinity during the 1960's. The emphasis wasn't on muscles and shooting guns anymore, but more so finding the so-called freedom from the constraints that traditional masculinity had on the new generation of males during this time. I would maybe even be so bold to say that it could almost be viewed as a reverse feminist movement. While women during the feminist movement were fighting for the same rights as men, Captain America and Billy were almost trying to escape the privileges they had in search for this "freedom." It could be interpreted as the two trying to get out of the "responsibilities" society viewed that men had a duty to fulfill--settling down, providing for a family, teaching the kids how to throw a football, etc. The traditionalist men were very afraid of the feminizing effect on masculinity and they felt severely threatened. I viewed George as the middleman in all of the calamity. He was brought up as a traditional Southern gent (with a bit of a penchant for the booze), yet he was open to expose himself to this newfound masculine identity. I viewed his death as if the film was telling us to either live in the past or live now, but not both. Change or be changed was the moral in this tale.

Easy Diers

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At the start of the film "Easy Rider," I found myself waiting around for the first lines to be spoken-the first lines of the film. When they finally come, what we hear are the lyrics of a song that comes in as background music. They are: "You know I smoked a lot of grass...oh Lord I popped a lot of pills.." -first words we ever hear. I think there is an added emphasis put on these lyrics especially when they are the first words the viewer has to comprehend. We hear them twice as loud.
As the start of the film continues, we definitely get the message that these motorcycle-riding, hippie dudes are very comfortable in their spaces and surroundings...hair blowing in the wind, no worries-time is no issue here- taking in the landscape by bike...until they come into contact with other people. Right away, the shiny metal of the motorcycle clashes with the organic country farm scene, kids kind of scatter, but yet the men are almost unaware of this. They don't seem to feel the out-of-placeness they have with their surroundings.
I noticed that Wyatt was the daydreamer of the film-lost in thought most of the time. I kept thinking that he was going to become this really significant character, go through all these changes, become influenced by all these people, to see things in life clearly. It was a bit of a let down that he was killed in the end.
I tend to go back and forth about the idea that a film is supposed to say something/have a message all the time. A film, to me, is just another form of art-and we all know the variety of artistic styles that are out there. Each is going to mean something different to each person. I saw, in this film, a lot of what being on the road is. It has a simplicity that you ride, stop now and then, and repeat. Easy riding, and then tiresome. I felt myself getting tired just watching-I felt very "in it." I thought the dialogue in the film was very well done in that it matched how real life just is- segmented, sometimes not thought out, like you're living the script.

How open is the road, really?

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

A lot has been said here about the road as freedom in Easy Rider, and how the protagonists blithely seek "the good life" and criticize the immobile people and circumstances they find on the side of the road. Obviously, a lot of time and fancy camera work was put into glorifying the trio's travels (Billy, Wyatt, George). Also, the road was an obvious improvement for George, from the bigot-infested town where he was stuck under his father's mysterious thumb and oppressive alcoholism, etc. We get hints that the road is an escape for Wyatt, too, from his love-hate relations with his parents. And maybe Wyatt and Billy are both fleeing the possibility of legal trouble, because of their drug dealing in CA. At any rate, the road seems like a welcome alternative to past lives. However, the road also seems like an addictive drug that does not allow Billy and Wyatt to either gain satisfaction or recognize desirable opportunities for happiness. Though Billy is able to forget George's death and express happiness over their Mardi Gras partying, Wyatt never seems at ease after the nighttime attack, and says that they "blew" their whole trip. Wyatt doesn't express a whole lot of legible emotion throughout the film--he's the strong silent type--but he seems to pine over the stable homesteads that they leave: the ranch w/the dinner, the commune. He really considers staying at the commune, and he seems envious of the rancher. Ultimately, the road brings our hero no satisfaction and serves to keep him running from something unnameable, until he goes too far into the wrong place, and gets killed. What he really wants is freedom- the freedom to settle down and make his own way, as a rancher would on the frontier. Since he gets addicted to the extreme freedom available on the road, he can't grasp the stability for which he longs. I think the hippie commune is also an example of people trying to form an ideal, self-directed community, which will probably fail as compared to industrialized society.

masculinity in 'easy rider'

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1)How many different kinds of masculinity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about men and masculinity in 1960s America?
In 'Easy Rider' there are several different types of "masculine" men. It ranges from the stereotypical hick/country kind of masculine, the hippy/druggie masculine, the biker/rebellious masculine, all the way to the small town lawyer/alcoholic kind of masculine. In the cafe we witness one kind of typical masculinity, small town sheriff and other locals gawking at the three newcomers. They make comments about their long hair and clothes, and call them "yankee queers" because of the flag on Wyatt's bike. This kind of masculine character typically makes fun of and excludes people who are different and considered odd by social standards. Besides making comments about them, these men actually go out and beat them in their sleep and end up killing George. As if they had to prove just how greatly these men were not welcome in their town. Then we have the masculine characters like Billy. More free-spirited than the small town folk, Billy still posessed lots of "masculine" characteristics such as being excited and willing to go to a whore house, and being disruptive in the town's parade which led to Billy and Wyatt's arrest. Wyatt himself displayed a different kind of masculinity than Billy. He was supposed to come off as a troubled outlaw. Although at the whore house he did not immediately want to do anything with Mary, once they got to the cemetary you saw that Wyatt and Billy both asserted their masculinity and took control, telling the girls to shut up and take the acid. Then there was George. Although all three main characters served some jail time in the film (what masculine journey would be the same without some jail time?!) George was a regular at the jailhouse. He was powerful, threw money to the guards to keep their mouths shut, and he was an alcoholic. His type of masculinity was similar in the sense that he gave them the address to the whore house in New Orleans (not for pork chops but for US prime!), and he also had the typical "guy talk" in the jailhouse ("I can get you guys out as long as you didn't kill anyone white"). This film gave many different examples of masculinity in the 1960s. Even though most of the characters were rebellious and breaking social rules, you can tell that it was an era of change because most of them still were not willing to step outside the gender roles laid before them by society, although they were trying.

the road in "easy rider"

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In "Easy Rider," the road doesn't just represent freedom or the need for constant movement, but also the desolation and isolation that comes with those things. The two main characters encounter a variety of people on their journey, but none stay with them. They are momentary entertainment at best, and distractions at worst. The movie juxtaposes this with the road itself, with wide, sweeping shots of deserted highway and desert landscapes punctuated by scrub brush and the occasional small town or way-station. Even when they stop where others are, they are always outsiders and are more or less chased away. To gain their freedom from the mundane-ness of everyday life, the main characters lose the ability to belong in any of the communities they encounter. They have to keep moving, keep returning to the road and the isolation it represents, in order to retain their freedom.

Women and Color: An Insight to "Easy Rider"

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

Although the roles of both women and people of color are quite absent in the film, each have important positions to help understand the masculinity of Wyatt and Billy. Both groups show fascination and interest in the protagonists due to their lives of freedom on the road. However, the women are able to express their desires to get a taste of freedom, especially when seeing the men on the road, passing through. The women are able to express their desires to indulge in the counter-culture masculine ways, while the people of color remain as socially inferior. With each encounter, the women seem to be impressed by the men, and desire a sort of sexual relationship. Here, the women remain inferior and are seen as an object for protagonists.

Women? People of Color? Masculinity.

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

As many have stated the lack of women present on screen or in speaking roles show how both Wyatt and Billy have the control over the situation. In the Barbara Klinger reading she states that, Easy Rider "...concentration on hippie life and its twin social themes of freedom and repression (180)." The lack of women and especially people of color could be the reflection of that time period. Women were repressed in that and were considered beneath men in the 1960s and African American were even father below women and white men in the 1960s. It is noted they women and people of color are placed to further the two men's journey on the road. At the beginning of the movie when Wyatt and Billy are dealing the drugs they are in control of the situation, they have a sense of freedom when they get all the money. When they stop at the farm the wife serves them lunch, as is the same at the commune. Then in New Orleans both women and African Americans are there as entertainment. The women and people of color in a sense "bow down to them" which reinforces their masculinity and Wyatt and Billy's freedom.

It's Not An Easy Road, Man

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

The road in "Easy Rider" is symbolic of many things including revolution, freedom, and rebellion. It is a sign of a revolutionary way of life. Living and surviving in the rougher parts of the United States is a "manly" thing to do. The paths that the men traveled weren't always on the straight and narrow, yet until the end, they always seemed to make it out alright. The freedom of the road and the exploration of new places meant that the road in "Easy Rider" is a vast place where a man could find himself. The uncivilized nature of the road leads the viewer to believe that it should be a place to be conquered and only lived by the rougher sort-of people. This was conveyed to me as a viewer by the amount of sparse shots and the amount of time they spent on the motorcycles in general. The area they traveled was very unpopulated, and seemed like a place that they could play by their own rules. Due to the amount of drugs that were done, the viewer also got the idea that the road was this hazardous place that could only really be experienced from afar. A lot of the music that was played while they were on the road also brought about this idea of rebellion as well as freedom.

One More Landscape; People of Color in Easy Rider

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

The absence of the black voice is a glaring issue in Easy Rider. The pursuit for equality that African Americans faced in the 60's is not an issue within the film. Klinger writes about several points in the beginning of Easy Rider that "rhapsodize the American landscape via the picturesque road montage" (188.) However, when Wyatt and Billy reach the south, the enthusiasm that was reflected in the landscape before, is abruptly turned to something uneasy and jarring. (Klinger also points out that the abrupt shift to Jimi Hendrix's If 6 was 9 makes this transition more powerful (193). He is also the only black voice we hear in the entire film.) The choppy shots move back and forth between idyllic white town centers, to graveyards, and then to the African Americans living on the side of the road in shacks. It is representing a world gone from good, to bad, to the worst. In this film African Americans are just scenery, another landscape for Wyatt and Billy to drive by, or wander by during the parade. Not meant to feel sympathetic for, but instead stand as a contrast to the freedom of the two privileged men on their manly bikes. The diner scene also backs this point. One of the white men expresses a desire to "mate them up with black wenches," which his companions appear to think is too far. They will kill Billy and Wyatt, but will not stoop to force them on a black woman. There is certainly no respect for African Americans in the film, especially if they are women as well.

Freedom of the road

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

Freedom of the mind and body are reoccurring themes throughout the film easy rider. Captain America and Billy don't have a definite plan of action, but their ultimate goal is to find somewhere to spend the rest of their lives living in freedom. (Billy suggests retiring in Florida). Evidently their quest was in vain because the road for Captain America and Billy is their freedom. Laderman notes, "Captain America and Billy become vulnerable to society's shackles when they stop moving." These "shackles" include women, the law, and violence. When women are presented in the film they are portrayed, as Laderman states, " as either burdens or sex objects." They keep Captain America and Billy from continuing their quest and evidently men from attaining their dreams. At dinner the farmer divulges that he used to want to go to California, but could not because his wife is catholic and had so many kids. Here religion and ultimately his wife kept him from experiencing the road and freedom. Another encounter with society's shackles is when Captain America and Billy are on their way to Mardi Gras and end up in Jail. Here leaving the road of the open country once again leads to the loss of their freedom. As soon as they resume their travels, they are free once again to smoke as much weed as they want and essentially do as they please. When they stop and camp at night, however, they are vulnerable and attacked. This reinforces the idea that the only time they are truly free from society's confinements is when they are on the road.

Women, Minorities, and Counter-Cultures

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

In Easy Rider there were few people of color, with little or no real speaking parts. The Hispanic man in the beginning of the film who sold Wyatt and Billy drugs spoke no English, and although there were subtitles provided on screen, his Spanish had no translation. There were no African Americans present in the film with speaking roles, however a Jimi Hendrix song was played as background music. (This provides evidence that minorities were only relevant when capitol could be made through interactions, or when they were entertainment.) Although white women were given some speaking roles in the film, they had no supporting dialogue to show intelligence, independence, or social superiority. Women in the film were objectified as sexual commodities and homemakers tending to the needs of the men, children, and animals. These observations are all evident of the time period the movie took place in. Wyatt and Billy rode masculine motorcycles, and displayed masculinity in their rebellion against the dominant cultural norms (Klinger). By showing their ability to survive on their own, objectify women, and have social superiority over minorities, their masculinity was present on film. American militancy created social norms and conformity during that period of time making men with long hair and the rider life style a sub or cross culture(Klinger). In the dominant culture Wyatt and Billy wouldn't be considered strong masculine figures, but in the cross culture their masculinity is without question.

Rockin' on the Road

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer? Based on the Laderman readings and my background as an English major, the birth of America rests on the notion of the journey. It is part of our national history and the urgency to constantly be "going" somewhere is expressed by the protagonists (coined Captain America and his friend Billy) in their haste to get to Mardi Gras. Laderman discusses how automobiles and films were mass produced in the same time period and that transportation (in the case of Easy Rider, the motorcycle) became linked to representing the will to exceed boundaries. One sees this in the the two's behaviors of being "wild" on the open road--meeting girls, selling/taking drugs, and the contentment of having a wide-open agenda. The film repeatedly plays rock music while the two are driving down the highway, cut with images of the landscape and skies they pass by. Shots of their faces reveal the pleasure gained from simply enjoying being on the road and going to a destination. While reaching Mardi Gras is important, it is their adaptability to new situations and people that encompasses the freedom equated with the road.

A serving of female with a dash of color

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

While watching Easy Rider, I noticed the editing style, grim ending, and storytelling tools were reminiscent to that of French New Wave films, which had garnered popularity a little before the time Easy Rider was made. Although Easy Rider appears to be heavily influenced by French New Wave, it was missing something: the bold, outspoken female character. In fact, Easy Rider didn't have one major female character. It seemed the most important female figure in the film wasn't physically present, but left a huge mark in the film, since she was able to shed Wyatt's masculinity during the acid trip montage. Other than Wyatt's mother who seemed to have abandoned him, the purpose of women in the film was to serve the men. From the first woman we see (the rancher's wife) to the prostitutes in New Orleans, the purpose of women was to serve men. Either by serving food and bringing coffee, or by serving as eye candy and bringing physical pleasure. People of color face a similar situation; they must serve the white men by providing entertainment (Mardi Gras) or providing drugs for them to sell at a higher price (Mexico). The women allowed Wyatt and Billy to be dominant, since they relied on the men for transportation and were put in a vulnerable situation during the acid trip and presumably got raped. The people of color, on the other hand, gave Wyatt and Billy the security of power, since they had the luxuries of being a white man, which also fed their biker masculinity.

Meaning of the Road in Easy Rider

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

It is impossible to discuss the meaning of the road in "Easy Rider" without using the word freedom. The movie is set on classic American highway and even Captain America's jacket and bike are decorated with the American flag, making the word impossible to not bring up. However, it also represents life's journey for our main characters. In order to get to where you want to go, a person needs to go on a directed path and, almost always, things get in the way and slow you down. In our character's journey those things are imprisonment and hitchhikers, as well as southern hostility toward anyone different. Captain America and Billy want to get to New Orleans and then Florida because they finally have money, but just because you know where you want to be does not mean that you can just be there; you cannot take shortcuts because in life there aren't any. This is made clear to a viewer through the constant mention of New Orleans. The fact that that is their destination is nearly beaten to death from being brought up so much yet we still have to watch the long journey through an immense number of video montages of them on the road. It is tedious to watch essentially the same video montage over and over again when we know that the end result is going to be death for our characters, it's almost pointless. However, I believe the director was trying to show that, just like in life, the journey to wherever a person is going is not always going to be exciting, sometimes it's just about enjoying the view.

On the Road Again

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The road in Easy Rider represents freedom and more importantly, a release from society. The ability to stop whenever Wyatt and Billy choose, to pick up whomever they choose, and to having the obligation to do anything society would deem as "productive", is how I think the idea of freedom is framed in the film. Wyatt and Billy do have a primary goal, getting to New Orleans, however, New Orleans can be seen as a symbol of fun, good times, and to some, a pointless waste of time. Another possibility for what the road symbolizes is the start and end to a new life for the protagonists. They live on the road, and in the end they die on the road.

Men > Women + People of Color (according to "Easy Rider" that is...)

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

Women and people of color are portrayed as being less important than Wyatt and Billy all throughout Easy Rider and are used as tools to measure the masculinity of the counter-culture behavior Wyatt and Billy express. Women mainly demonstrate the privilege and control of Wyatt and Billy, thereby ensuring that Wyatt and Billy's counter-culture actions are indeed masculine, and people of color demonstrate the power Wyatt and Billy have even with counter-culture behavior, thereby acting as a tool of measuring just how masculine or not masculine Wyatt and Billy are. In scenes where women can be found, the women are usually silent in the presence of men; they are talked about as though they have no opinion and are powerless objects, but on occasion speak as long as they are never the focus of the scene. The lack of women related focus and power shows the privilege Wyatt and Billy still have as males to be the center of attention even though their behavior is considered counter-culture. And when women actually interact with Wyatt and Billy, the interaction starts off or ends up sexually in ways that women are portrayed as being incapable of controlling their sexual desires. Take, for example, the two women that Wyatt and Billy meet in the commune: from the moment they meet, the women immediately want to have sexual relationships with Wyatt or Billy and as the film progresses, that want is quickly realized. This relays the message that women have less control than men. As I mentioned initially, people of color are also vital to determining the masculinities of Wyatt and Billy. The opening scene where Wyatt and Billy take advantage of a Spanish speaker by buying cocaine from him at a "cheap" price and selling it for profit to another white man speaks leagues for how, even though southern white males see Wyatt and Billy as not very masculine counter-culture males, Wyatt and Billy still have enough power over people of color to be considered masculine at all. It is the level of power generated by taking advantage of colored people that confirms that Wyatt and Billy's are indeed some what masculine at all.

Not So Easy

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

As others have commented on, the road is typically a sign of freedom. Whether you are escaping from something or in search of something new, you need a means of getting there. However, Captain America and Billy took to the road looking for an adventure, unburdened by the mundane. Though fundamental to the plot, the road wasn't really anything out of the ordinary for them, it was simply their chosen lifestyle. Many characters in road movies will go on a road trip because it is uncharacteristic of their personalities, they break bad from the norm. The main characters were not deep, but the general association with bikers is one that the viewer understands as a troubled soul, with no place that he (they?) will fit. The road is glamorous, we see montages, almost music videos of them riding with no time frame, no notion of where they will sleep for the night. Their life on the road is done artistically, so we glorify the characters. Even when Captain America dies, Laderman notes, we never see the body. We only see the flaming bike representing his death.

No nagging women? A man's dream.

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

To answer this question quite plainly, women and people of color are not placed in any kind of admirable positions in this film whatsoever. One scene in particular that struck me in reference to the place of colored people in this film was the quick pan of several New Orleans residencies. They were seemingly slung next to the road with very little to their property or net worth. Although in my opinion, these qualities have nothing to do with the credibility of a man, this film seems to present these images AS the true worth of a person. Klinger states in her article The Road to Dystopia, "The film indulges in picturesque road montages..., which allowed spectators to 'experience the vastness of America's physical beauty' (Brode 20)." (Klinger 186); this, I can somewhat agree on. But I must argue, did the film really allow us to see just how vast and beautiful the landscape is? Or was this attempt diminished by the racist and sexist discussions throughout the film? This exact lack of placement or undignified cameos allowed Wyatt and Billy to continue their journey with a nonchalant attitude. There were no women to "tell them what to do", no wives to come home to, and they were not directly faced with any challenges or encounters by a person of color. The lack of these typically plot-developing characters or themes allowed the journey to continue without any real consequences or responsibilities.

Manly, Masculine Dudes

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How many different kinds of masculinity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about men and masculinity in 1960s America?


Masculinity is defined by Collin's dictionary as "possessing qualities or characteristics considered typical of or appropriate to a man." In other words, masculinity can be defined as what a society considers 'normal' for the male species, and Easy Rider presents itself with three distinct masculine characters; Billy, Captain America, and George all represent a type of masculinity in the film as well as the 1960s. Billy represents an epitome of anti-societal norms. His long hair and free spirit attitude reject 'standard' ideas of masculine upkeep, wardrobe, grooming and represents a social reject of sorts. Contrastingly, George is the quintessential representation of an accomplished, standard male found within the '60s. He dresses in businesses casual, is neatly shaven, and attended a major university (University of Michigan). The 'standard' George and 'reject' Billy are polar opposite representations of masculinity in Easy Rider. Captain America's masculinity, however, falls between Billy and George somewhat, but leans more heavily towards a hippy stereotype. His hair isn't excessive in length, his wardrobe isn't a rejection of standards (as is with Billy), and one character even describes Captain America as "beautiful." These three masculine forms of standard, hippy, and social reject represent the varying types of masculinity found in Easy Rider. The film suggests that the boundaries of masculinity are clearly marked, and if crossed, there is no place for you. For example, George's death, which was committed by an unknown group of spiteful citizens, and the attack of Captain America and Billy who are shot at after their saboteur says, "why don't you get a haircut." The idea of not belonging is further proven with the final scene of Captain America's crashed motorcycle and idea of freedom burning on the side of the road.

Masculinity Represented in Easy Rider

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Masculinity is shown in many different ways in the film Easy Rider. Everything from their low-rider motorcycles to the apparent pointlessness of their journey to their cryptic surface level conversations screams "I am a manly man, I do what I what and I am in control." Their complete lack of an agenda or planning of any sort for a cross country road trips shows that they see themselves as completely free men with no family, woman, schedule, or care for that matter to tie them down. They're able to pee on the side of the road and stop for the night at any place of their choosing without fear. Crossing from California to the prejudiced southern states of the 1960s, suddenly they loose much of their masculinity. They are no longer the free men with complete control, but now are long haired hippie queers. They challenged the social norms and stereotypes of the day with something as simple as a "feminine" hairstyle. They weren't what was seen as manly in that time; they didn't go hunting and didn't farm or provide for a family. Because they were so far from what that culture thought a man should be, they paid with their lives.

What the Easy Riding Road Means

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

I believe that all in all, the road is a symbol of power and the white male advantage. In the film we never once see a woman traveling on the road, nor do we see a person of a different race. Throughout the plot, these two male characters only come in contact with such people when they are either passing them completely or getting off of the road. When the women from the desert area wish to travel across the canyon, they do not travel along the road. Later in the film, when the girls from the little cafe want to ride, the men do not take them. This just illustrates the idea that back then (and still today, even) there are certain things that are not granted towards women--specifically in "Easy Rider," the road and all of its vast opportunities and liberties. These things are only available for the dominant white male.

easy ride on a bumpy road

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In "Easy Rider" there are several meanings to the road. The road has always been a symbol of freedom which is enhanced by the fact that they travel on the road by motorcycles. I think a more important and literal meaning is that the road is a connection to the country as well as life. The road connects all types of people and views whether negative or positive. This is shown through their beginning on the west coast where they stop at a farm and the family there is interracial. This is significant within the movie because of the time period and the major turmoil with race. There was no direct comment on the fact that the farmer's wife was not white and they did not seem troubled by this fact. They then get back on the road connecting them deeper in the south. After they pick up the hitch hiker and end up back at the hitch hiker's home. This family lives in the desert in an unconventional way, a group of people all surviving with one another. Then in another town down the road they are confronted with deeply racist and conservative views. The road then leads them to New Orleans which, again, has another style of living. The road connected them to several ways of life, views and experiences. This was their way of living that the road connected them to, but the road also ultimately ended up connecting them to their death as well. The road is a literal and symbolic connection and how it leads anyone through life, whether they live on it or are simply an occasional visitor.

Death of American Counter-Culture on the Road in "Easy Rider"

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What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

The road holds a special place in American nationalist culture: it is a symbol of freedom, of possibility; it's suggested to be the key of any quintessential American transformative experience. Life on the road encourages living in the moment, a lifestyle hailed by many but lived out by few, a disparity George Hanson addresses in their stoned fireside chat. It also serves as a reflection of the characters' inner journeys as they seek to explore their individual ideals (largely classified as a "carpe diem" mentality, reflected at one point in the film's score as Hendrix sings, "If the mountains fell in the sea, let it be, it ain't me") and ultimately find their place in American society. Just as it physically unites segregated units of the country, the road symbolizes the unity of numerous, contrasting cultures. In the first half of the film, the road is presented as the ideal: a trail leading through a wide-open landscape, endless opportunity ahead, a place to escape to which serves as an aid in one's own inner journey. We gain this impression through the use of many slow, wide shots focusing on vast, beautiful landscapes where the characters remain primarily isolated (the major exception being when they spend time at the hippy commune.) It's peaceful in the West, land of liberal ideology and progressive lifestyle. However, the meaning of the road shifts as the characters travel deeper into the bigoted South, moving away from the ideal, romanticized version to a more realistic depiction: we see more towns, more people, more homes (belonging to both privileged and poor segments of society), culminating in Mardi Gras, a temporary usurping of the road for celebration, with masses of all sorts of people swarming the street. The shots reflect the new chaos, with quick, sharp cuts and effects-laden montages. It's not just the physical scenery that has changed: it's also the culture. The movie has a rather tragic, cynical end, as the characters ultimately fail to find the freedom the road had promised them; the counter-culture ambition to seek one's own version of independence and happiness looses life to the dominant culture of the time, as the divides of the so-called "united" nation are brought to the foreground once more in the closing sequence.

The Representation of Masculinity in 'Easy Rider'

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'Easy Rider' displays several types of masculinity that are indicative of the climate of men's lives and masculinity in 1960s America. The most apparent perhaps--and the one that is shown from the start of the movie--is the unencumbered, white, American male. Even the all-American names such as 'Billy' and 'Captain America' embody the journey that these protagonists were born to take and the privilege that comes with their gender and race. Juxtaposed to the 'free' men are the 'enslaved' men. These men are depicted in the southern white males, who embody a masculinity that is no less all-American, but more exclusive by projecting their prejudices. Although Billy and Captain America do not perform overt prejudices to people of different races or genders, they are more accessible and personable, perhaps a more "sensitive" male that is more self-aware but still exercises their privilege with no reservation or guilt. Lastly, George Hanson represents a type of repressed masculinity. He does not fit into the group of the road men or the Southerners--although he is both--because he has not chosen a side and is instead caught between the two worlds. He is free at heart but is enslaved by the perpetually oppressive South. The 1960s were paramount to the challenging of gender roles for both men and women, where new definitions and personal identifications were key. What this movie is saying about men specifically is that it came in a time that was intolerant of the different interpretations and subjectivity of what defines 'real' men and their masculinity.

The Road in "Easy Rider"

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The road in "Easy Rider" is the symbolic representation of the ever-changing traditions and customs of our society. It was conveyed how the two men keep on riding and riding without ever ceasing to stop their journey. They are in constant motion and never stay long in one spot. They leave California (past) representing a new rebellious generation. The viewer follows them on their travels throughout the South and encounter conflicts along the way (present.) We watch them in the moment, and resolve the conflict at hand. We don't know where they are going, or what will enfold for these rebellious men as they continue to travel down the road (future.) It was supposed to tell us how we were moving from a past filled with strong conservative views and norms, to more radical and liberal views and norms. We specifically see the conflicts between the battling of the old ways of living with a new way of living. By following this specific road in "Easy Rider" the viewer can see one specific journey of cultural changes in 1969.

Women and People of Color

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How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

Women and people of color do not have a significant acting role in the film. However, plot wise they play a significant role. Their plight is used to magnify and justify the progressive masculine counter-culture actions of Wyatt and Billy. In the film, women are reduced to naive, help-less and simple-minded beings with the sole purpose of serving men sexually and domestically. The sexual exploitation of women is evident in the scene where Wyatt and Billy go to the whore house and each pay a woman in exchange for sex. In another scene, we are introduced to a farmer's wife, who remains silent throughout lunch and is ordered by her husband to get Wyatt, Billy and himself coffee portraying her domestic duties. In the presence of women, Wyatt and Billy are privileged in that they can openly express their masculine counter-culture actions. Although, these counter-culture actions defy the standards set by society also known as the 'All-American White men', women do not have influence in the integral part of society and so they can not oppose or challenge the actions of Wyatt or Billy unlike the White men.
The very few instances we see people of color in the film make it obvious that they are nothing more than subhuman and as a result they are segregated from the rest of society. George is a Southern lawyer and ideally his opinions are influential, when he tells Wyatt and Billy that they would not have a hard time getting out of jail for killing a colored person it confirms that the American public is accustomed to the suffering of non-white bodies. Wyatt and Billy display an indifferent attitude towards people of color and do not engage in racial discourses in the film. Nevertheless, as White men their masculine counter-actions are justified when dealing with people of color since their existence is considered to be irrelevant.

Easy Rider & the meaning of the road

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In "Easy Rider" the road represents freedom, movement, the privlidge of mobility, and an imperialistic drive for gratification through conquer. It recreates a lot of the tropes of classic representations of rugged individualistic masculinity found in Western films, which is a precursor to the road film genre. In one of the many cheesy scenic riding to an overly sentimental soundtrack scenes the two main characters ride on their motorcycles on an overpass, while two cowboys on horses pass by in the valley below. A literal visual nod to the masculinist identity they are representing. Both the "road warriors" and the cowboys of a bygone era represent Americana, a "nostalgia for tomorrow" as Cohan and Hark put it. While the masculinist journey is on it's surface an escape from the normative, a freedom, it is also a drive to conquer the last frontier, the empty spaces of "wildness" between spots of civilization, and domesticity. As middle class white men, they have access to this type of mobility, to be able to own and freely operate motorcycles, access to fast money, and the sense of entitlement to camp without permission, to break the law without serious consequences, and to invade people's domestic quarters without offering more than mild gratuity. They take what they want, and need and never give anything back to those who help them along the way, even though they are temporarily wealthy. The road is the platform from which their personal enactment of manifest destiny can play out.

GWSS 3307 Blog Directions and Prompt(s)

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Completing a Weekly Blog Assignment:
If your last name starts with a letter on or between A-G you are in group 1; if your last names starts with a letter on or between H-M, you are in group 2; if your last name starts with a letter on or between N-Z, you are in group 3. This means that you will be answering the specific blog question assigned to your group. Please note that this blog is in public domain, although only students registered in the class can make blog entries. After class, the TA will post three questions - one for each group. When you write your blog, write out the specific question you are answering as your first sentence and then submit your best answer or reflections into your blog entry. Each entry that comes in after others must find something new to say so as not to repeat the content of earlier blogs within your group. Early bloggers have the advantage.

Student Blog Assignment:
This assignment is due 48 hours after the end of class. Incorporate at least two ideas from the readings as you explore your own reflections on these questions. Maximum length is one full paragraph. Each blog entry is worth 2 points if you do an adequate job. Assume you have two points unless you hear from us. Each blogger in each group should not replicate the content of previous blogs -- say something new. Add to the conversation. You may decide to do this by agreeing or disagreeing with previous blogs but keep adding something new, uniquely your own ideas.

Group 1

How many different kinds of masculinity are represented in this film? What is the movie saying about men and masculinity in 1960s America?


Group 2

How are women and people of color placed in the film? How did these groups shape the counter-culture masculinities of Wyatt and Billy?

Group 3

What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?

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