Masculinities, Class, and the Making of Motorcycle Users in Taiwan, 1930s-2007
During the 1930s, motorcycles symbolized elite masculinity in
Taiwan. Today, however, motorcycle riders do not only include wealthy
men, but also men and women from different class backgrounds, marking
an important historical shift. In this article, I explore what led to this shift:
the changing relationship between motorcycles, masculinity, and class. The research materials I use in my analysis include advertisements, newspaper articles, and interviews with motorcycle users.
This article is divided into three periods: 1930-1963 , 1964-1980, and 1981-2007 . In the first period, motorcycle riders were predominately
wealthy elite men, with women riders constituting only a small minority.
At the time, men rode motorcycles to display their identity, status, and
masculinity while women rode motorcycles to embody the new image of
‘the modern woman’.
In the second period, riders were no longer predominately elite men,
but men of diverse class backgrounds, including the working and peasant
classes. Through owning a motorcycle, the latter were now also able to
display their masculinity and prove that they were responsible men; for
women, on the other hand, the motorcycle became simply a means of
motorcycles, STS, class, masculinity