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.