Representations of Malaysian Female Motorcyclists in Online Newspapers and Magazines

Author Information

Nur Amirah Zakaria,
International Islamic University Malaysia, Malaysia

Farrah Diebaa Rashid Ali,
International Islamic University Malaysia, Malaysia

DOI: 10.47298/cala2022.2-3
The GLOCAL Proceedings:  The GLOCAL Conference in Asia 2022


Motorcycling culture is often framed as consisting of outlaws, while being predominantly a male arena, in which bikers are always assumed to be masculine. It is often assumed that women’s roles in motorcycling culture are relegated to the status of ‘bystander,’ where they exist within the community as a support to their male partners and families, rather than actively participating in the culture as prominent members of the community (Plugfelder 2009). The fact that women’s involvement in male-dominant motorcycling cultures and activities is still limited in Malaysia places a high distinction between the roles expected of men and women.

As such, this study uncovers the representations of Malaysian female bikers in online newspapers and magazines. All 20 articles available online on Malaysian female bikers were analysed drawing on Sack’s membership categorization analysis framework. We found that a greater emphasis was given to the roles of mother and daughter enacted by these bikers. Their role as wives was also suggested but with lesser emphasis. Apart from highlighting their career as female bikers, they were also represented as successful professional racers and travelers. From the findings, we conclude that, irrespective of how successful a woman is in a male-dominant activity, media and society anchors the women in socially expected roles as mothers, daughters, and wives.

Keywords: Motorcycling cultures, gender stereotypes, female, social roles, membership categorization analysis


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