The TV show Sons of Anarchy puts the lives of motorcycle club members on full display. This gritty, realistic look at the inner workings of a motorcycle gang shows the important role of women - or "old ladies," as they're known to the men they live with and ride behind. What do the old ladies of a biker gang do? As you'll see, their duties are somewhat nebulous, but their lives revolve around keeping their partners and the rest of the club happy - regardless of what they have to do.
The following facts about the duties of a biker's old lady come straight from the source: Reddit AMAs, blogs, and other sites that feature these women's stories. Their anecdotes are a fascinating look into a subculture native to America that remains a mystery to everyone who doesn't ride.
Old ladies aren't involved in the club's day-to-day illegal operations, if there are any. Bikers who rely on illicit activity for cash are similar to any other entrepreneur - they know too many cooks in the kitchen makes for a lousy meal.
Keeping illegal activity on a need-to-know basis is wise. Redditor /u/FormerOldLady said her husband and his crew were into "drugs big-time," but she knew "next to nothing about the specifics."
It doesn't matter if you're an old lady, a prospect, or a hang around - if you're riding with a club, you have to be all about the club. This means you help out however you can, and if a patched member tells you to do something, you do it.
Redditor /u/FormerOldLady, holding an AMA in 2011, said everyone is "100% about the club." She thought Sons of Anarchy was "very accurate" in portraying this aspect of biker life.
In her AMA, Redditor /u/FormerOldLady admitted that despite the club having a family atmosphere, they got into fights all the time. This is not surprising when you're in a motorcycle club.
The Redditor wrote about women getting into "plenty of catfights about anything you can imagine. Just bruises and black eyes." Regardless of the women's no-holds-barred attitude, "members would never let it get out of hand."
As much as women are a central part of any motorcycle club, this doesn't mean the men consider them official members. While they travel and party with the group, they can't make any of the decisions.
In fact, they're essentially beholden to the men in the group. During her Reddit AMA, /u/FormerOldLady explained how women are "100% submissive to their man, and awfully damn respectful of the others."
Her situation isn't unique - a woman named Catherine doubled down on those claims:
These clubs are not democratic organizations... They are run very firmly by men who usually clawed their way to the top of this primal food chain, and considering the general savagery of the ordinary member, that's impressive... Women must be outwardly submissive, be thick-skinned about sexist attitudes, and be able to get along reasonably well with the other women.