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  • Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute

  • English. I'm Neil.

  • Sam: And I'm Sam.

  • Neil: And if I say to you, Sam, motorbike,

  • what do you think of?

  • Sam: Oh, I think of the film Easy Rider

  • with Jack Nicholson and

  • Peter Fonda cruising the

  • wide open spaces on powerful machines.

  • How about you, Neil?

  • Neil: Oh, well, I think of the young man on

  • a moped who delivers my pizzas.

  • Sam: Not quite the same image,

  • is it, really?

  • Neil: No, but in both cases we were

  • associating motorbikes with

  • male figures. Today we are

  • looking at women and bikes,

  • but before that, a quiz. In which decade

  • was the first mass-produced

  • motorcycle released? Was it:

  • a) the 1880s, b) the 1890s,

  • or c) the 1900s?

  • What do you think, Sam?

  • Sam: Tricky question! The 1880s

  • may be too early - so I think I'll play

  • it safe and go

  • for the middle option, the 1890s.

  • Neil: Well, we'll see if you're right

  • later in the programme.

  • Esperanza Miyake is the

  • author of a new study of

  • the 'gendered motorcycle' in film,

  • advertising and TV. She was interviewed

  • on BBC radio's Thinking Allowed

  • programme about the topic. First

  • she was asked about

  • the experience of travelling at

  • over 110 kph on a motorbike.

  • What world does she say you

  • are part of?

  • Esperanza Miyake: I think it

  • dissolves gender, race, all these

  • things stop mattering. It's

  • all about experience so car drivers, there's

  • a lot about enjoying the internal space of

  • the car, on the bike obviously

  • there's no interiority. You're

  • completely part of the exterior world.

  • Neil: So what world are you in

  • when travelling at speed on a motorbike?

  • Sam: The external world. Because

  • you are not inside a car your

  • experience is completely different.

  • On a bike you have no interiority.

  • That's the experience of being inside - but

  • I do have to say, although that is

  • a real word, it's not one I've ever

  • heard or used before!

  • Neil: No. Me neither. What she also says

  • is that travelling at speed

  • dissolves gender and race. It makes them

  • less important. When you dissolve

  • something you make it less strong.

  • Sam: In fact she says that at speed these

  • things stop mattering.

  • They stop having any

  • importance. If something doesn't matter,

  • it's not important at all.

  • Neil: Before that we said we usually

  • connect motorbikes with men.

  • Think bike, think bloke.

  • But what about women and bikes?

  • Esperanza Miyake goes on to talk

  • about the way women bikers

  • are usually shown in the media. How

  • many different types does she mention?

  • Esperanza Miyake: Generally there's

  • three types. So the first type

  • would be your typical

  • empowered female who's on

  • the motorbike. You do have that image

  • but having said that I

  • would also add that those images

  • appear typically very sexualised,

  • very stylised. So yes she's

  • empowered but she's in

  • a skintight catsuit. You also get another

  • type which is the female rider but

  • who's been masculinised.

  • She's kind of embodying a very masculine

  • kind of style.

  • And I think the third type is kind of silly,

  • giggly female on a scooter.

  • Neil: So she talked about three types of

  • representations, particularly

  • in movies. Sam, tell us more.

  • Sam: Yes, she first talked about

  • the empowered woman. This is a

  • character who has authority,

  • who has the power to drive the plot

  • and action and is not dependent

  • on a man to make decisions for her.

  • Neil: It seems like a positive image

  • but she does say that these

  • characters are often sexualised,

  • that is, presented in a way that might be

  • sexually appealing for a male audience.

  • Sam: The next character type

  • she mentions is a woman who is very

  • masculine. They embody

  • male characteristics, which means

  • they have and demonstrate many

  • typically male personality features.

  • Neil: And the final type she talked about

  • was showing women on bikes

  • as silly and giggly

  • riding scooters. So there don't seem to be

  • many really completely positive images of

  • women and motorcycles, at least not

  • in the popular media. Time to look

  • again at today's

  • vocabulary, but first, let's have the answer

  • to the quiz question. In which decade was

  • the first mass-produced motorcycle

  • released? Was it: a) the 1880s,

  • b) the1890s, or c) the 1900s?

  • What did you think, Sam?

  • Sam: I took a guess at the 1890s.

  • Neil: Well done, it was a good guess.

  • It was indeed the 1890s and

  • a bonus point if you knew that

  • it was 1894. OK, let's have

  • a quick reminder of today's words.

  • We started with the verb dissolves.

  • If something dissolves it gets

  • less strong, less immediate.

  • Sam: Then we had another verb,

  • to matter, something that matters

  • is important to someone.

  • Neil: What's the next word?

  • Sam: It was a rather uncommon word

  • to describe the experience

  • of being inside - interiority

  • Neil: Let's rush by that one and move on

  • to the next word, empowered.

  • Someone who is empowered

  • is in control of their own life.

  • When we talk about empowered women

  • we are talking about

  • women who are not dependent on men

  • or anyone else for the direction

  • of their lives, they

  • make their own choices.

  • Sam: Our next word was sexualised.

  • This is when something is given

  • a clearly sexual styling.

  • In the programme we heard that

  • women on motorcycles are often shown

  • in a sexualised way, dressed

  • in clothing, for example, that

  • makes them sexually attractive.

  • Neil: And finally there was to embody.

  • This means to be a clear

  • and obvious example of

  • something. So in movies

  • female bikers often embody male

  • characteristics, which means they

  • might dress or behave in a way

  • we would usually associate with men.

  • Well, it's time for us to say goodbye.

  • See you next time and until then you can

  • find us online and on our app.

  • Just search for BBC Learning English.

  • Bye for now!

  • Sam: Bye!

Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute

Subtitles and vocabulary

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B1 empowered motorbike male embody masculine motorcycle

Why are motorbikes seen as masculine? Listen to 6 Minute English

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/07/01
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