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Social Issues in SoA: Gender, Race, Gun Control, and Others


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#1

TWoP Howard

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Posted Oct 17, 2011 @ 5:16 PM

I realized we didn’t have a thread like this, and we’ve certainly been discussing those issues this season. Juice’s predicament with the Sheriff threatening to reveal that he is half-black has brought up a lot of interesting discussion on the club’s attitude and dealings with race, and the club’s behavior towards women is almost always a topic of discussion after each episode.

Just one reminder: these are volatile subjects which touch pretty much all of us personally, so let’s take extra care to be respectful and not to post our opinions as facts. You all are really great about sharing lots of differing opinions without picking fights with each other, and I have hopes that we can keep that up here. Oh, and if anyone has any snappy ideas for the title, please post those, too.

This is an interesting bit from the end of the recap:

He walks out, leaving Ima coughing on her own blood, and the ridiculous misogyny that pervades SAMCRO and appears to be most rigorously enforced by the women associated with the club. Gemma wouldn't know the word "kyriarchy" if it came spray-painted on the side of Clay's bike, but she's sure a willing participant in one.

I had to look up "kyriarchy" myself, but it makes a lot of sense in context of the show.

Kyriarchy is a neologism coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza to describe interconnected, interacting, and multiplicative systems of domination and submission, within which a person oppressed in one context might be privileged in another.

That is Gemma right there—she rules the roost and doesn’t consider herself "just another old lady," but her own son regards her that way, and Clay showed her that when he grabbed her around the throat and told her not to get in his way earlier this season. It seems that this season has also been about Tara modeling herself on Gemma (whether she knows it or not) to be the next Head Old Lady and to help the club keep the other women in line. Tara behaves more and more like Gemma around the club (although it doesn’t seem to be an act), yet has been tempted by the idea of breaking away and moving out of Charming altogether. The Gemma similarities showed up in her attitude toward poor Lyla. She seemed to consider Lyla beneath her, yet Lyla (unlike Ima) has been nothing but nice to her that I can see.

#2

doomblade403x

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Posted Oct 30, 2011 @ 10:34 PM

Yeah a few things kinda jump out as contradictions to me with this race issue thing..

Number one the way there isn't no brothas on the wall. Well that's all fine a good, but when things went south not too long ago Jax was giving the order to call La-Roi. Now correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't he the leader of a black biker club? It seems to me that if they are good enough for backup, then they should be good enough to patch in. Just my thoughts on that.

As far as you Lyla thing goes you can see it pretty clearly. I think they have less of a problem with her, and more of a problem with her career. Women as a general rule aren't very keen on promiscuity. I would call Tara and Gemma pretty normal in that regards. Gemma got peeved when Half Sacks chick spent time with Clay, and we know how Tara felt when she found Jax bedding a porn star, so I think it's more them seeing a problem developing from the lifestyle more than the woman herself. In other words when you have women around the clubhouse who are too loose at the knees your going to have problems.

Lyla is nice to look at, but honestly I think her and Opie have zero chemistry together.
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#3

nicepebbles

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Posted Oct 31, 2011 @ 9:00 PM

SEXISM

The Gemma similarities showed up in her attitude toward poor Lyla. She seemed to consider Lyla beneath her, yet Lyla (unlike Ima) has been nothing but nice to her that I can see.

As far as Tara's remarks when she saw Lyla after seeing Ima in the warehouse, I was pissed at Tara. For one, as you guys have said Lyla been nothing but nice to her. Two, it just rubbed me the wrong way that she's thought of as a porn star first and not a person second like she's nothing more than her profession. I could be thinking too hard about this and Tara just threw that out there because she was mad.

As far as you Lyla thing goes you can see it pretty clearly. I think they have less of a problem with her, and more of a problem with her career. Women as a general rule aren't very keen on promiscuity. I would call Tara and Gemma pretty normal in that regards. Gemma got peeved when Half Sacks chick spent time with Clay, and we know how Tara felt when she found Jax bedding a porn star, so I think it's more them seeing a problem developing from the lifestyle more than the woman herself. In other words when you have women around the clubhouse who are too loose at the knees your going to have problems.

I think you have a point as far as old ladies and not-old ladies being around. I will say though Jax sleeping with Ima was more about him sleeping with someone else than her being a porn star. I think the fact that he purposely slept with this particular person - knows Ima likes him and was trying to take him away from Tara in front of Tara - was the bigger issue than her being a porn star. Her being a porn star certainly didn't help.

Whatever your feelings about porn, we are supposed to be in the day and age where women can make whatever choices* they want regarding work without being judged especially by other women. I would think Tara would get that in that she left Charming to pursue a career. She didn't stay back in Charming all for the love of a man. Gemma judged her for that (i don't think i'm off base in saying that) along with other reasons.

*I can't remember what Lyla said about still doing porn so I don't remember if she made it seem like it was something she has to do. If she feels like she has to do it, it's still a choice in the end.


RACISM
Someone in one of the episode threads mentioned MCs doing background checks. Presumably, SAMCRO do them on their members. What criteria are they looking for as far as being black I wonder. Being black is more than about skin color. Juice has the DNA but doesn't look it and doesn't identify as such. I think the heads of SAMCRO might just explode at the revelation about Juice's heritage. They probably wouldn't consider themselves racist because they don't burn crosses. I'm sure they can rationalize away the commentary they make.

Merriam Webster defines racism as:
1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2: racial prejudice or discrimination


However this Juice situation is resolved, I hope that we get some clue as to why such a rule still exists.

Edited by nicepebbles, Oct 31, 2011 @ 11:40 PM.

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#4

doomblade403x

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Posted Nov 1, 2011 @ 5:40 AM

[snip] Ima is a ho. [I don’t think there is] doubt in anyone’s mind what she is or what she's about. She likes and wanted some Jax Teller, and got it. Tara was pissed and probably has been stewing over it since it happened. Then she nails Opie who just got married and all that comes to the surface again. Now let’s gear back to Lyla. Now she worked hard to worm in with Opie. Last season Opie was doing everything he could do to keep her out of trouble and show her he cared. I think the breaking point came with the Japanese business guys who wanted to do some porn stars.

Point is she hasn't given up the lifestyle and it's pretty obvious she doesn't want to. With the cash Opie is making now why does she need to do it? Won't she still get some residuals from the porn she's already done? I know they pump out porn faster than any other media, but still she shouldve made some decent money. You can tell it's ripping him up to have his wife doing that. Even girl on girl. He was trying to knock her up to get her out and she was blocking it to stay in.
[snip]

Edited by TWoP Howard, Nov 1, 2011 @ 4:10 PM.
Boards on boards

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#5

Kel Varnsen

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Posted Nov 1, 2011 @ 7:38 AM

Someone in one of the episode threads mentioned MCs doing background checks. Presumably, SAMCRO do them on their members. What criteria are they looking for as far as being black I wonder. Being black is more than about skin color.


The thing I don't get about Juice's situation is you are right, SAMCRO would have to have done some kind of background check before Juice gets patched in. So assume the Sheriff walks into the club house and starts waiving around a picture of Juice’s dad, if Juice says “what the hell are you talking about that’s not my dad”, how exactly would the sheriff prove otherwise, at least enough to convince SAMCRO?
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#6

doomblade403x

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Posted Nov 1, 2011 @ 7:52 AM

During my many careers one of them was a truck driver. My partner was a Puerto Rican guy who told me that their skin color dramatically varies from child to child. He explained to me in pretty simple terms. He has a brother who's always mistaken for being black, and another who's 'whiter' than me. It was also an astronomical number of kids too. It was like 10-12 or something. I would also assume Unser was the guy doing the checks and a background check doesn't necessarily mean family. I doubt a badass biker club cares who your mama is, but they damn sure wanna make sure you aren't some undercover cop or snitch. That seems more on par to me with what that means than tracing someone's family tree.
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#7

elkana

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Posted Nov 1, 2011 @ 8:25 AM

Here is the thing (well, one of the things....) I don't get about the Juice storyline: isn't Juice hispanic? If SoA is "white only" to the point that the club will turn on him for having a black father, why wasn't him being puerto rican an issue? They seem to have implied that the Mayan are the latino club, the Grim Bastards are the black club, and the Sons are the white club, etc. SoA already knows that Juice is not strictly anglo, so it makes it harder for me to believe that the reveal of him having a black father (which he might not even have known about, and may have never met) is going to be impossible for them to accept.

I wish they had set up the rules about this more clearly prior to delving into this storyline.
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#8

joanne3482

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Posted Nov 1, 2011 @ 10:53 AM

Here is the thing (well, one of the things....) I don't get about the Juice storyline: isn't Juice hispanic? If SoA is "white only" to the point that the club will turn on him for having a black father, why wasn't him being puerto rican an issue?


SOATAZ has Hispanic members, including the president. I wondered about that when we saw them earlier this season. Given that I presume most of the Sons come from less than two parent families, I'm surprised Juice didn't just play stupid. It isn't like Roosevelt had a picture of Juice and his father playing catch when Juice was 15. He had the one of the dad in the uniform, although maybe he did have others.

Point is she hasn't given up the lifestyle and it's pretty obvious she doesn't want to. With the cash Opie is making now why does she need to do it? Won't she still get some residuals from the porn she's already done?


Opie's cash flow isn't steady. Her porn career seems to be steady work and she likes the money. She even said she only had a few more good years in her so she doesn't want to quit the business. Unless a porn actress is someone like Jenna Jamison or another big name, I suspect they get paid for the film work they do with no contract and no residuals.
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#9

Allie J

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Posted Nov 1, 2011 @ 12:43 PM

Here is the thing (well, one of the things....) I don't get about the Juice storyline: isn't Juice hispanic? If SoA is "white only" to the point that the club will turn on him for having a black father, why wasn't him being puerto rican an issue?


Many Puerto Ricans are part of the "white race" (in the sense of being descended from European ancestors) as far as I can tell from online research. It's a tricky subject because so many Hispanic people are multi-racial. As far as the 2000 US census goes, 48% of Hispanic and Latino people identified themselves as white. But I don't think the MC really gets into all that. As far as the club is concerned, it seems the only taboo is having black members. I mean, I don't think an Asian man would be precluded from membership, although I really have no idea for sure.

when things went south not too long ago Jax was giving the order to call La-Roi. Now correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't he the leader of a black biker club? It seems to me that if they are good enough for backup, then they should be good enough to patch in.


Yeah, it's strange. But I get the impression that it's not the same as Darby and the white supremacists' beliefs. SAMCRO will work with African Americans if it's beneficial, their members can marry black women, etc. They just can't be patched in. I suspect it's a case of "this is just how its always been" and not a case of pure hatred (which is not to say it's okay), and that SAMCRO will work with lots of people they wouldn't allow into their club. I imagine they'd happily work with Vivica and her family, but they're not going to patch in a woman.

Tara behaves more and more like Gemma around the club (although it doesn’t seem to be an act), yet has been tempted by the idea of breaking away and moving out of Charming altogether. The Gemma similarities showed up in her attitude toward poor Lyla. She seemed to consider Lyla beneath her, yet Lyla (unlike Ima) has been nothing but nice to her that I can see.


That frustrated me about Tara, but at least the writing's been consistent on her feelings toward the porn girls. I remember her being bitchy to Lyla at the family dinner way back in, like, season 2. She just looked down her nose at Lyla. I think she groups Lyla with Ima because of their jobs and thus the sight of Lyla pisses her off when she thinks about Jax's indiscretion, which all makes me nuts because I'd prefer she think about hitting Jax over the head with a baseball bat when she thinks about his indiscretion.

I actually think Gemma is more accepting of Lyla. She seemed to accept her as Opie's old lady way before anyone else did, and then the other women fell in line and followed her lead.

Edited by Allie J, Nov 1, 2011 @ 12:44 PM.

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#10

nicepebbles

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Posted Nov 1, 2011 @ 10:02 PM

doomblade403x: Point is she hasn't given up the lifestyle and it's pretty obvious she doesn't want to.

I'd say Opie should've thought of that before he got involved with her let alone married her. I will also say it's not fair of Opie to expect her to give up her career when he couldn't/wouldn't do the same when it was clear Donna wanted him to leave. I can't remember if she asked him directly or not. He probably doesn't think of it in terms of that being sexist. It's probably more like, 'you don't have to do porn anymore' or 'you shouldn't want to do porn anymore.' I suspect some sexism plays into as well.

doomblade403x: I doubt a badass biker club cares who your mama is, but they damn sure wanna make sure you aren't some undercover cop or snitch. That seems more on par to me with what that means than tracing someone's family tree.

That makes sense. I was going to say that since they are dealing with someone claiming Latino/Hispanic (whichever term one prefers), the club should've checked to be sure there was no black mama or papa considering Latinos/Hispanics come in all shades and can have white and black heritage. Then I thought the guys probably don't think like that. Your story about when when you were a truck driver, reminds me of an article I read years ago. In it, the subject of the story mentioned how he, a Puerto Rican who looks it, has a younger brother with blond hair and blue eyes and hated when people thought he was white, i.e., not Puerto Rican.

Kel Varnsen: So assume the Sheriff walks into the club house and starts waiving around a picture of Juice’s dad, if Juice says “what the hell are you talking about that’s not my dad”, how exactly would the sheriff prove otherwise, at least enough to convince SAMCRO?

I think Roosevelt could prove it. If not, at the very least he could plant enough suspicion that it becomes an issue. I mean look at Opie and the suspicion that he was a rat.

AllieJ: I suspect it's a case of "this is just how its always been" and not a case of pure hatred (which is not to say it's okay),

ITA. I suspect it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, if that's the right term to use, in that probably nobody that identifies as black has tried to join the club. I suspect Juice is probably the first time this issue has come up.

It's interesting because it's a different situation then someone who looks black and identifies as black trying to join. They have a stronger "this is just how its always been" leg to stand on IMO in that instance. With Juice, he doesn't look black, doesn't identify as such, and probably has zero connection/understanding to black culture. He has every right to self-identify as he sees fit. He just has the DNA, basically the one-drop rule (though in this case as far as we know more than one drop). I've always hated that rule. I will also add that in my experience, for Latino/Hispanic people culture trumps race so his dad may look black but may not have considered himself to be black either.
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#11

doomblade403x

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Posted Nov 1, 2011 @ 10:33 PM

Well it's pretty obvious Sutter isn't going by the rules when it comes to women. In a 1% club and most any hardcore club, they are considered property. In other words it would be accepted for Opie to grab her by the hair and tell her that her porn career is done. Not saying it's right, I'm simply stating that in the real world of the outlaw motorcycle brotherhood they have little influence, free will, or opinion at all. In one of the earlier seasons we kinda saw that played out with Half Sacs girl explaining her lifestyle to the chick Jax picked up outside a gas station.

On a different note I got myself a warning and I'm not exactly sure why. If I offended someone I apologize.
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#12

RisiaSkye

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Posted Nov 2, 2011 @ 1:12 PM

Well it's pretty obvious Sutter isn't going by the rules when it comes to women. In a 1% club and most any hardcore club, they are considered property. In other words it would be accepted for Opie to grab her by the hair and tell her that her porn career is done. Not saying it's right, I'm simply stating that in the real world of the outlaw motorcycle brotherhood they have little influence, free will, or opinion at all.


I can see what you're saying here, particularly with regards to Gemma, who has long seemed very empowered even for the "bottom bitch" of the old ladies--and I think that Sutter was trying to address exactly that slippage by having Clay manhandle her in public earlier this season. But, I think there's more nuance to the role of women in 1%-er life than this, too.

(Bear with me, because this is going to seem like a huge personal digression, but I swear it'll track back to the show writing and gender...)

I grew up around two SF Bay Area clubs, because my father was a biker who prospected for HA when the club he'd been with since he was a teenager was patched over. My mom was a long-time old lady who married my dad after having spent a number of years (starting at age 13) with a Gypsy Joker. Growing up female in this world, I had a lot of opportunity to see how the gender politics played out, and the costs of outlaw life for the women. It's true that the men don't respect the women, and the women's preferences play very little role in the club's actions--including who the men have sex with, who hangs out around the club, and whether the club gets their sons involved in club business at a very early age (like posting kids on lookout). However, individual men varied a lot in how they treated and respected their old ladies. And, to no small extent, the women decided how much B.S. they were willing to take.

During my childhood, there were three groups of women. First, the "real" old ladies. These are, first and foremost, mothers. Somehow, having a man's child changed things enormously. It meant a LOT more than marriage vows in terms of how the women were respected by both the men and the other women. The moms got a lot more financial support, a lot less direct exposure to club violence, and a great deal of social network with the other women and their old man's buddies. Also, nobody really tried to get them into bed, because it was just not done.

Then there are the wives (both legal and common law), who are in the middle of the pack. They get sent on errands, strong-armed into helping with MC business (like hiding a cache of guns or money or drugs, having their homes used for meet-ups or safe houses, etc), and face a LOT of domestic violence. Maybe because the ones without kids are often younger, the relationships newer? I don't know, but it did seem like the wives without kids got the worst of the men's mean streaks. (So, yeah, nobody would blink if Opie slapped Lyla around and told her she was done shooting porn. Especially since, in their view, he's giving her a promotion--from "plug" to "old lady".)

Finally, there are what the men I grew up with called "plugs." A "plug," according to my dad, is just a place to stick it in. So, they're not even really considered human. They face tremendous violence, a near total lack of sexual choice (a very common club party activity being to "pull a train" on someone) and almost no options. These women almost never become old ladies, because to take one of them on as your old lady would get you laughed at--AT BEST. Usually, they get passed around for a while, and then they disappear--usually to jail, to rehab, or to the morgue. This life does not last long for them. The very few who make it into old lady status usually do so by switching clubs, meeting someone fresh from the joint (with less knowledge of and participation in their sexual humiliation), or having some other skill set to offer. For instance, I once knew a woman who had been passed around a half dozen clubs before learning to cook meth. Suddenly, she became an old lady, and her past wasn't an issue anymore.

While the show is far from perfect, going too far into sanitized and too far into shenanigans at different moments, I think Sutter and co. do attempt to show the varying levels of female influence and power. By my system of classification, Gemma is a mom, Tara has become a mom (also, her skill set is very useful, which helps). Opie is trying to make Lyla into one, but she doesn't want it. Lyla is now a wife, but has been a plug. Ima is the ultimate plug. Cherry was a plug, just a young one who hadn't made all the rounds yet. That's why she was so desperate to hook up with someone still a little naive about the life; Half-Sac made sense as a choice there.

All this said, none of the roles afforded to women in the life were roles I would want. My mother wanted something else for us than she had chosen for herself, which says a great deal.

YMMV, of course.

sorry that got so long

Edited by RisiaSkye, Nov 2, 2011 @ 1:26 PM.

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#13

joanne3482

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Posted Nov 2, 2011 @ 1:55 PM

Thanks for that post RisaiSkye, that was really interesting to read. As a daughter, how were you treated? Tig's daughters live with their mom who apparently got out of the life (I presume I can't remember what happened to her). Opie has a daughter but she like Opie's other kid - mostly imaginary. Chibs has a daughter, but she lives with her mother in Ireland. Trinity, JT's daughter, was raised outside of the life but does seem to do SamBel's bidding sometimes.

There's an expectation it seems that the sons go into the club at some point, but what happens to the daughters? And are old ladies who have daughters and no sons somehow less than those who bear the boys? (As it would be in old royalty).
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#14

RisiaSkye

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Posted Nov 2, 2011 @ 3:40 PM

As a daughter, how were you treated? Tig's daughters live with their mom who apparently got out of the life (I presume I can't remember what happened to her).


I actually find Tig's daughters to be a fairly accurate, though not very thorough, depiction of teen daughters within an MC. He has two girls: the one who came to visit and the one off-screen, who is apparently fine-ish now but has struggled enough that there was reason for Gemma to follow up and see if she is, indeed, in need of hospitalization. Both are jokingly referred to as crazy--with Tig for a dad, who wouldn't be?--but also at least grudgingly treated as family. (Notice, too, that Gemma could just casually call up their mom for a status-check, even though she's out of the life? Also accurate. You're never really REALLY out.) I also grew up with one sister and no brothers, with a dad who was all-too-frequently absent from or destructive in our lives. We also split in our reactions to the clubs, with me heading away and her heading toward a life like that of our parents. That's typical; about half the kids flee and about half join up.

Daughters are even trickier ground than grown women. The whole thing where the show depicts the guys loving kids and being really comfy with babies? Totally true. Weird, but totally on track. Girls, too, are golden...until they start looking like women. Then it gets complicated. What kind of woman are they going to be? Fresh meat? Future old lady? Mom in training? Princess (meaning, someone attached to the life, but insulated from it)? Lady (meaning, someone whose mom has gotten out, or who by other means has an exit strategy)? While it's up in the air, a lot of things can happen.

A few times, as a teenager, I had one of my dad's friends grab up on me or something. I once smacked a one-eyed pirate of a middle-aged biker in the face, when I was about 15, for groping me when we hugged hello. I didn't even think about it, because both of my parents had taught me to defend myself against anyone and anything but my parents themselves. His reaction? He laughed his ass off, and said, "Good for you, kid." And he never did it again, nor were there any kind of repercussions. In that moment, in their world, I declared myself off limits and it was honored. Twenty years later, the same guy tried really hard to help me out when my dad died. Of course, his version of helping out was to offer me crank to stay up while going through his belongings, and volunteering to beat to death the man who robbed my father's corpse. Ah, chivalry.

The upshot of all this is that the kids, all of the kids, are insulated to the best of everyone's ability... until puberty. Then, a lot depends on 1) who the dads are: whether anyone fears them, whether anyone wants to bring their kids in, etc.; 2) how big a role the mom plays and whether she has blinders on about the life or not; and 3) just how absent those dads are. This is true for boys and girls, it just plays out differently because clubs are even more gendered than the other 99% of life.

I didn't see mothers of sons being treated better, or vice versa. And, it didn't seem to me that the MC dads were any closer with or more available to the sons than to the daughters. Also there just were a lot more daughters among the people I knew, for whatever reason, so I may not have a very accurate picture of the larger trends. I do think, though, there's a good reason a show based on HA went with a name like Sons of Anarchy.

This is a show, in so many ways, about absent (incarcerated, perpetually on the road, dead, emotionally removed, crazy, etc) fathers. That is maybe the single most accurate thing about the show, in my experience. Growing up 1% means growing up with a dark God for a father: scary, destructive, all-powerful, unpredictable, and too often unseen and unknown. As you rightly infer, that looks a lot different if you have the option to become the destroyer god than it does if the best you can hope for is to have him love you back. Missing Dad, though? It's an issue for all of us kids of outlaw bikers, I think. For some of us, that leads to chasing Dad forever, right into the life (Jax, Opie...I wonder a LOT about Tara). For others, it's the first step of the road out (which was exactly what Donna, for instance, wanted Opie's incarceration to be).

FWIW.

Edited by RisiaSkye, Nov 2, 2011 @ 3:55 PM.

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#15

doomblade403x

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Posted Nov 2, 2011 @ 8:35 PM

That was a pretty incredible diatribe on things and it also explained what I tried to say about IMA but got in trouble for. The question I have in this case what would an old lady think about a plug? Was Gemma and Tara's attitude pretty accurate in regards to Ima and Lyla?
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#16

elkana

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Posted Nov 2, 2011 @ 10:08 PM

Thanks, RisiaSkye, for the insight into the club life.

You also raise an interesting point regarding Tara: what exactly is it in her background, perhaps with her father, that makes her comfortable (at least to some degree) with all the aspects of club life that seem somewhat contradictory with the other sides of her life? There have been times when I have wondered how Tara rectifies her life as a doctor, as someone who has worked hard and trained to heal people, with all the violence and harm that surrounds SoA.
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#17

EmmaFrances

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Posted Nov 3, 2011 @ 2:07 PM

RisiaSkye, thanks for sharing your experience. It's a really interesting view into the "real" life, which sounds similar in some ways and different in others to the SOA life.

I don't get Gemma & Tara's attitudes towards Lyla. If I understand RisiaSkye's definitions correctly, Ima's not a "plug." She didn't hang around the club until the whole Luann/Cara Cara thing, which is where she met Opie (unless there's additional exposition on the SOA app). She didn't get passed around like Cherry (presumably) or other so-called crow-eaters. Seems to me that Tara's attitude towards Lyla in particular is based on her dislike of Ima (and I don't blame her) which Tara just extends to Lyla (and any other porn girls).
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#18

nicepebbles

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Posted Nov 4, 2011 @ 7:05 PM

Thanks, RisiaSkye. Very informative. Do you have any experience as far as the racial dynamics of MCs?

Seems to me that Tara's attitude towards Lyla in particular is based on her dislike of Ima (and I don't blame her) which Tara just extends to Lyla (and any other porn girls).

I think you're right. I also think what someone said up thread is correct - girls that sleep around, in this case doing porn, are looked down upon by other women generally.

I would've thought Lyla and Tara would be more than friendly with each, maybe even friends, with Jax in jail because
- the whole abortion thing (Lyla asking for help then doing it and Tara thinking about it).
- Opie helping Tara out with the boys, stuff around the house, whatever, which would've meant Lyla and Tara being around each other sometime.
- They are also both mothers and shouldn't be involved with the guys that are involved with. At the end of the day, regardless of their professional, they are in the same boat. Well, was since Lyla left and as far as we know never coming back. She's looking like smart one.

I wouldn't call Lyla a plug, as least not in the sense of the guys. They either don't think the same way or that's one aspect Sutter & Co aren't adhering to that closely with every woman since the guys seemed to not care that Opie was marrying her. Ima was definitely working her way to being a plug.
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#19

RisiaSkye

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Posted Nov 4, 2011 @ 10:18 PM

Do you have any experience as far as the racial dynamics of MCs?

Of all the guys I ever saw around, there was one Latino who was really in with them, who owned a bike shop, and zero blacks--male or female. Much use of the n-word. Very much whiteness. Some white supremacists, though not in any organized way. And it wasn't just race, it was any variation. My dad had a Jewish grandmother, and he was referred to as Hanukkah because of it. It's uncomfortable, for sure, but the show isn't making this up. It really is this weird about race, or it was in the 70s through 90s. I don't know about now, and most of the guys I knew growing up are now dead.

About the idea that women in general just look down on porn chicks: I agree, but only amongst women with very conservative gender role assessment. Then again, women who accept the Madonna/whore binary also seem more likely to accept a world with such strict gender rules--so long as they are in the privileged female position. As the thread originator said, kyriarchy. Totally. Those women who are comfortable gaining their limited power by holding down other women, sure.

(Just, you know, as a woman, I bristle at the notion that we are all of one judgment about anything. Also, I don't care if people make porn.)

Edited by TWoP Howard, Nov 4, 2011 @ 10:26 PM.
Cleaned up formatting

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#20

TWoP Howard

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Posted Nov 4, 2011 @ 10:43 PM

Yes, talking about or for women in general breaks the boards on boards rule, so let’s not do that, please.

I see the club dealing with race and gender with the old, "We’ve always done it this way, so why change now?" Or, "the rules are the rules," as Chibs put it. It’s so ingrained with them that they aren’t even considering whether the rules should be evaluated, because that’s the way it was done by the original nine, so there’s no need to change it. The way their attitudes towards race and gender are frozen in time is a huge blind spot for them. I can see it in the way Jax was startled that Tara commented on the way the club treats women. For that matter, it took her umpteen years to bring it up. She just accepted is as a price of being with Jax rather that seeing how crazy it is.

At least I don’t feel these attitudes are presented by the show as a good thing. For the most part, I feel as if I’m supposed to be disturbed by them, rather than think how cool they are. But that’s just me.

#21

elkana

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Posted Nov 5, 2011 @ 8:24 AM

I don't have the general impression that the show is condoning racism within the club, or endorsing the objectication of women or violence toward women as much as it feels like they are shining a light on it and showing it for what it is.

I think we are clearly meant to feel sympathy toward Juice, for example. And Ima, to me at least, has had an equally interesting trajectory as a character -- in all honesty, and I am speaking as a woman, I disliked her at first and frankly, I related to Tara's condescension toward her. But at this point I have sympathy for her and felt bad for Ima when Jax beat her up. And it affects how I feel about Jax too - I am definitely rooting for him but yet he repulses me sometimes as well.

But this is part of what is so fascinating about this show for me. These are complex characters with lots of layers, some good and some bad, living in a complicated world.
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#22

Autumnslumbers

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Posted Nov 5, 2011 @ 6:10 PM

First off, thanks TWoP Howard for creating this board.

During my many careers one of them was a truck driver. My partner was a Puerto Rican guy who told me that their skin color dramatically varies from child to child. He explained to me in pretty simple terms. He has a brother who's always mistaken for being black, and another who's 'whiter' than me.


I would say this isn't solely a Puerto Rican thing. One of the complicated issues of black (and in this instance I am speaking specifically of African Americans) and non-white Hispanics that the majority of people don't understand is that we are a mixed people. I am black, but I have relatives who are every color of the rainbow. While I was in college, I met a girl who was baffled by the fact that there could be blonde Hispanics and that black people could have blue eyes so I'm not surprised that someone would look at Juice and think Latino and not understand that Afro-Latinos exist. Btw, has it been clarified that Juice never had a relationship with his father? I think it would be a hell of a lot more compelling if he did have a relationship with his father but still chose to move to California and join a white biker group. My question is, would the Sons have a different outlook on Latino members if they were not in California, a state that is heavily populated by Hispanic Americans? I'm wondering if the club would be more "white only" if they were in a state like Montana where the population of Hispanics is 2.9% vs. California's 37.6%.

As for the club's race rule, I think they don't change it because they are a bunch of white dudes in a small town in California who are not, and will not ever be, impacted by racism. It's pretty easy to no think about something that doesn't affect you. This goes hand in hand with the way the club treats women. Not women, don't care. "Their" women are protected by their own sexism but only sometimes, i.e. Clay manhandling Gemma and Jax's decision to stay in the club indefinitely rather than live on his wife's cash while they high tail it out of there, etc.

Opie's cash flow isn't steady. Her porn career seems to be steady work and she likes the money. She even said she only had a few more good years in her so she doesn't want to quit the business. Unless a porn actress is someone like Jenna Jamison or another big name, I suspect they get paid for the film work they do with no contract and no residuals.


I agree. One of the reason I really enjoyed Lyla was how little she allowed Opie to interfere with her career. The club may (hilariously) look down on her for doing porn, but she has a legitimate career. The Feds will never be looking into her for having sex on camera and she has no chance of going to jail for the work that she does. Lyla has been a very self aware character and part of that awareness seemed to be her reluctance to allow Opie -- a felon whose "career" is very likely to end him locked up again -- tell her how to earn her money. I'm really interested in Tara's back story because of all the women on the show, I would have thought that she, not Lyla, would have the strongest back bone. Tara is a woman who at 19 new damn well that the MC life was not for her but as a 30-something year old professional woman decides to get into bed, pun intended, with the club to the point that she will always have a connection via her children.

As far as you Lyla thing goes you can see it pretty clearly. I think they have less of a problem with her, and more of a problem with her career. Women as a general rule aren't very keen on promiscuity. I would call Tara and Gemma pretty normal in that regards. Gemma got peeved when Half Sacks chick spent time with Clay, and we know how Tara felt when she found Jax bedding a porn star, so I think it's more them seeing a problem developing from the lifestyle more than the woman herself. In other words when you have women around the clubhouse who are too loose at the knees your going to have problems.


Interesting, I would have to disagree though. Gemma and Tara seemed, IMO, to be redirecting their anger towards their male partners to some pretty convenient standins in Cherry and Ima. Gemma even said that Cherry being in the clubhouse was like waving it {Clay's infidelity} in her face. Gemma knew she couldn't pick a fight with Clay, because apparently sleeping with various women whenever he so chooses is his right, so she slams Cherry in the face with a skateboard. The thing with Ima that so bugged me was that Tara was playing the same high school, super dramatic game that Ima was. Ima got in her face and Tara acted as though she was above it all yet reveled in the fact that Ima saw her schtupping Jax in the bathroom. Tara also shot up Ima's car when Ima got mouthy with her. So when Jax and Tara break up and Jax turns to Ima, it all seems part of the ridiculous charade they have. It's easy for Gemma and Tara to hate these particular women than to hate Clay and Jax for putting them in such a crap situation.

Edited by Autumnslumbers, Nov 5, 2011 @ 11:07 PM.

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#23

doomblade403x

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Posted Nov 5, 2011 @ 7:57 PM

Autumn: Well I'm simply going by what i saw on the screen. They had their little tussle with Ima inside and Gemma and Tara walk out to let her get her crap and split. Of course Tara is mad at Ima because as we all know she got it on with Jax. Then here comes Lyla wanting to know where Opie was because he didn't come home last night. As soon as they saw Lyla neither of them said 'Hey here comes Lyla...' Nope. They said "Here comes another one." Another what? I think it was pretty obvious it was another porn chick, specially since they just got into a verbal throwdown with one inside. Was it unfair to lump Lyla in the same basket? Well it seems that way to me since it is Opie's WIFE, but in the moment she was just another porn star. It didn't really dawn on them until they saw the Lyla/Ima drama unfold and then they got on her side.
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#24

Autumnslumbers

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Posted Nov 5, 2011 @ 11:04 PM

Doom, I get where you're coming from. I recall the scene when Lyla came to pick up Opie's kids and Gemma and Tara looked at her like she was a piece of shit stuck to the bottom of their shoe. In that moment Lyla told Tara that she was pissed at Lyla because she knew Jax watched her in films and got off on it. Tara was incredibly defensive in that moment because Lyla makes a living off of appearing sexually available. I think there is anger from Tara/Gemma toward the women in porn because of their sexual availability wrt the men in their life. It doesn't matter that Lyla would never willing sleep with Jax or Clay, IMO, it seems like the anger is about Jax and Clay's ability to sleep with the women in porn (and any other "loose" woman around) and Tara/Gemma's inability to neutralize the threat of having another woman sleep with their man. I mean, why would Gemma and Tara care about a promiscuous woman being around Clay and Jax if they know their men won't cheat? I'm thinking of it now in terms of how this scenario would play out on a show like Friends. Chandler is working with some Young Hottie and Monica is super jealous; Monica gets in some sort of ridiculous altercation with Young Hottie to ward her off Chandler; Young Hottie hits on Chandler and maybe even kisses him; Chandler turns Young Hottie down, professes his love for Monica and they go have hot sex. It's all about trust. The Chandlers and Monicas of television shows have no right to distrust their partner. Yeah, there may be jealously, but they don't live in MC life. Jax may say he won't sleep around but maybe he gets mad one night, goes on a bender and sleeps with half of Charming. He can always excuse that as just another part of MC life that Tara needs to accept. It's probably why there needs to be a stratum of women in the MC. As long as Gemma and Tara hold fast to their positions as "old ladies" in the MC, they can believe to be above the treatment of other women by the MC. And more importantly, Tara and Gemma can believe that they will never be treated like those "other women."
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#25

TWoP Howard

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Posted Nov 6, 2011 @ 1:29 AM

That’s a good point. Tara and Gemma aren’t on the top rung of the ladder and they know it, so they look down on the people on the next rung down, i.e. Lyla. They don’t have control over the way the club treats women, but they do control how they treat Lyla. Aside from the knowledge that the club atmosphere practically promotes cheating, it’s a case of getting ragged on by the boss at work, and going home and kicking the dog. Power games.

#26

doomblade403x

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Posted Nov 6, 2011 @ 5:50 AM

I'm not so sure it's the APPEARANCE of them being available at all. If you think about it Lyla is cheating on Opie with other women in making these movies. The fact that it's not a man, nor that she might not be gratificated as much as she likes, is not an issue. She's by definition sleeping around. Opie's body language and attitude about it spoke volumes on his feelings about the issue. When the rest of the club is knocking each other out of the way to get into porno set central, Opie keeps his distance, and in almost every scene he had with Lyla revolved around her getting out of the business. In some ways maybe Opie slept with Ima subconciously to make that point.

Lyla: "I'm only doing it to make money Opie. It's only porn so its ok."

Opie: "I laid pipe to Ima. She's a porn star and she doesn't really matter to me so it's all good."

Glaring double standard there.
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#27

Autumnslumbers

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Posted Nov 6, 2011 @ 10:46 AM

I'm curious if Lyla considers it cheating simply because the sex she has on camera is her job. It seemed like that was the reason why she was so interested in Opie initially. He was understanding of her job, I recall when he told Tara off for complaining about Lyla being in porn, then quickly spiraled into being incredibly jealous like when she was about to "service" those Asian business men.

I can imagine one of the difficulties of women in sex work is that people believe that they are sexually available to everyone when in reality, they too have a choice in who they have sex with. It's probably difficult for someone not in sex work to distinguish between "business sex" and strictly for pleasure sex. Ima choose to sleep with Jax and she choose to sleep with Opie but that doesn't mean Clay can walk in and demand sex from her. Also, Lyla and Ima are to very different people. I'm sure Opie did sleep with Ima to "make a point" but frankly, dude was just pissed that he couldn't control Lyla the way he wanted. She gave no indication, before their marriage or during their dating, that she was going to prematurely exit the porn industry and Opie--erroneously-- thought he would be able to :cough:knock her up:cough: gently persuade her to leave after they were married. Opie was doing to Lyla what Donna was doing to him, asking her to leave a career that she had been in long before he came along. And she is doing legitimate work.

Edited by Autumnslumbers, Nov 6, 2011 @ 2:32 PM.

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#28

doomblade403x

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Posted Nov 6, 2011 @ 6:36 PM

Like any actor or actress you try out for parts and you go by the script. Once you get that part your freedom of choice is out the window. By this I mean if Lyla and Ima were in the same film together and had to work with one another in script, it's pretty much going to happen. They might rewrite for a very EXTREME circumstance, but for the most part they have a job to do and she has to play her part in the script.

I simply assumed there must've been an off camera conversation involving all that. He brought up her leaving porn several times in the first few episodes. She never once said "I'm not ready to get out" so it's my guess sometime off camera they discussed having kids, which again was implied, and attached to that was her being done with porn. Yes he knew what he was marrying but he it's obvious that he was expecting some fairly sweeping changes in her career and their relationship. He didn't get them and it was chaffing and people saw it.

You know business sex and pleasure sex have one common denominator...SEX. I'm a guy...40 years old...been married 20+ years. When I was younger I thought it would be cool to watch my wife in some girl on girl action. Age and experience has taught me that I wouldn't really be comfortable with it at all. That's my wife and her naughty bits are my playground. No one...male or female...has a right to be there. I would imagine a large portion of the population...male and female...feel the same way. Sex is sex no matter how you slice it, especially if your the cuckolded spouse. You think if Opie was the porn star Lyla would be packing his lunch and happily sending him off to work? Inviting his co-workers over for dinner? It's going to be VERY few people who would do that because in the back of your head your going to be imagining your spouse with someone else.
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#29

Autumnslumbers

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Posted Nov 7, 2011 @ 9:11 AM

Like any actor or actress you try out for parts and you go by the script. Once you get that part your freedom of choice is out the window. By this I mean if Lyla and Ima were in the same film together and had to work with one another in script, it's pretty much going to happen. They might rewrite for a very EXTREME circumstance, but for the most part they have a job to do and she has to play her part in the script.


Maybe I was unclear but I wasn't speaking specifically about the sex she had on camera with regard to her choice -- although considering she is a fairly popular actress in porn that works in a small studio I would venture to believe that she has a hell of a lot more choice in her partners than someone who worked at a place like Georgie Caruso's. I was talking about Lyla in her everyday life. Yes she makes a living off the appearance of being sexually available to every man, but that doesn't mean that some random dude off the street can assume she is hot for him. That's how I saw Tara and Gemma's feelings about her manifest. Like TWoP Howard said, it's a show of power that they can demean "those other women" {i.e. women like Cherry, Ima and Lyla}.


You know business sex and pleasure sex have one common denominator...SEX. I'm a guy...40 years old...been married 20+ years. When I was younger I thought it would be cool to watch my wife in some girl on girl action. Age and experience has taught me that I wouldn't really be comfortable with it at all. That's my wife and her naughty bits are my playground. No one...male or female...has a right to be there. I would imagine a large portion of the population...male and female...feel the same way. Sex is sex no matter how you slice it, especially if your the cuckolded spouse. You think if Opie was the porn star Lyla would be packing his lunch and happily sending him off to work? Inviting his co-workers over for dinner? It's going to be VERY few people who would do that because in the back of your head your going to be imagining your spouse with someone else.


I'm definitely not disputing that being the spouse/lover/significant other of a sex worker would be difficult and that is a prime example why Lyla is no longer with Opie. She clearly wasn't willing to change careers and he was getting more and more agitated with her work. Opie made the mistake that many people make, expecting that they will be able to change their partner.
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#30

TWoP Howard

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Posted Nov 7, 2011 @ 11:22 PM

Yes, I think he was deluding himself in thinking that she would no longer work, despite all evidence to the contrary, once they were married and especially if they had a baby together. I’m not sure that he was completely honest with himself about how much her job bothered him, either. Marrying a porn actress seemed to get him some cred from the rest of the club, and that might have led him to sweep some feelings about her job under the rug.

As you said, he’s not the first person to go into a relationship thinking they could change their partner, or thinking that marriage and a baby would be the solution to all their problems.

I find it interesting that Lyla’s career in porn, a profession that Gemma and Tara look down on, gave her more autonomy than either of them. It also looked as if Lyla’s income was the only steady one for her and Opie’s family, up until this infusion of cartel cash.

So many of the club’s attitudes towards gender and race seem frozen in time. It’s a weird situation, because they still have to function in the real world, where society has moved on, but are clinging to some vestiges of the fifties in their club rules and structure and their "Oh, that’s how we’ve always done it" attitude.