'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 Representation of Masculinity in 'Easy Rider'
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