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.