by Mark Vayne
Will the real outlaw biker babes please stand up?
The Devil Dolls female motorcycle club is hot as hell and, baby, don’t they know it. This tiny five-member self-proclaimed “outlaw biker babe” motorcycle gang was the subject of an hour-long PBS TV special and a 6-page cover story in one of San Francisco’s top weekly newspapers. Their booth at the annual December Harley-only Swap Meet was awash in gawkers, wanna-bes and well-wishers. They’ve generated a smokin’ media buzz that’s completely out of proportion for such a small club less than 2 years old.
The Devil Dolls–Goth Girl, Calamity, T. Rexxx, Angel and Shewolf have a carefully crafted public image of sneering, hard-ridin’, hard drinkin’ and druggin’ independent sexy femme outlaws who care not one whit for anything the establishment has to offer. They call on their Hell’s Angels boyfriends to solve problems sans intervention by the hated local police. I would make double sure not to block a Devil Doll’s driveway with my car; chances are you’d return to find a small pile of smoldering ashes instead of your new Mercedes coupe. These are not women who exude an aura of peaceful, calm, happy, warm, fuzzy satisfaction about themselves or the life they choose to lead.
For outlaws they’re highly image-conscious, slick, media-literate and overtly capitalistic. Their sexy, simmering, red-drenched web site–www.devildolls.com–has lots of branded merchandise for sale, including t-shirts, hats, and the ubiquitous glossy calendar. This is a classic Easyriders-style “Hot Girls ‘n Hotter Harleys” product that’s identical to many other male-fantasy pinup calendars except that the women portrayed here actually ride the motorcycles instead of merely posing provocatively semi-nekkid atop them. If it seems like a small distinction, you’re probably right.
As a red-blooded American hetero male, I’m a stone-cold sucker for lithe, sexy, leather-clad women on bikes, so I buy into the Devil Dolls’ image and escapades 110%. Actually I’m afraid that I’ll encounter them on the road one day and they’ll beat the living crap outta me for not riding an American machine. But I also wondered how other female motorcyclists felt about their club. So I asked three of my female riding acquaintances to look at the Devil Dolls’ website, view a tape of the PBS TV special and read the newspaper articles. I wanted a woman’s perspective and some frank female opinions of the Dolls.
Bettina lives in Redwood City, California, owns 5 bikes (2 actually run) and has been actively riding over 15 years. She’s done dozens of track days and races in both AFM and AHMRA events on borrowed bikes. She’s a computer help-desk supervisor for a Silicon Valley corporation, and is active in a large national female motorcycle club called WOW (Women on Wheels.)
Shari fettles her Ducati Monster 900. She’s owned two older mid-sized Japanese machines and uses the Duck for her only means of transportation, logging over 12,000 miles/year in the process. As a long-distance bicyclist, she often competes in centuries (100 mile rides,) double-centuries (200 miles of the same) and even the much-feared Markleeville Death Ride, thousands of vertical feet of multiple mountain pass climbing in one staggering16-hour pain-a-thon. Shari also belongs to WOW.
Jayne is a native San Franciscan. She’s married to a Harley-Davidson mechanic and they both ride Big Twins. Busy raising her family, Jayne still finds time to run a growing small business that publishes motorcycle-specific touring books. She goes on runs, toy rides and attends every Harley event she can during the season. She most closely fits the “female outlaw” description, but doesn’t hate cops, use drugs or drink.
Here are their opinions of the Devil Dolls:
Shari: “This seems more like theater than anything else. The hair, the makeup, the hard facial expressions, the prepackaged bad attitude… are they a throwback to the days when being an outlaw actually meant something?”
Jayne: “I think anything a woman can do to better her position in this male-oriented society is okay with me. These chicks know exactly what they want, and they’re out getting it the best they can. God bless ’em.”
Betina: “How come I never see these women on the race track? Looks like all they do is talk, act out, dress up and pose. Anyone can ride a bike down Haight Street and set off car alarms… where’s the danger, the risk, the accomplishment, in that?”
Shari: “I don’t care if they all ride nude all the darn time. I’m disturbed by the abusive backgrounds, that party lifestyle drugging and drinking and hating authority figures as their message. That might influence younger girls to think that stuff is ok. Well, it’s not ok…”
Betina: “Can we get real here? The real outlaws these days are Asian high-tech kids who hack into DOD computers, steal internet data on 50,000 credit cards, send out viruses, stuff that has a huge impact on straight society. The nasty-looking Harley-riding biker guy next to you on the freeway is probably your accountant or a corporate lawyer or a geek dot.commer…the traditional outlaw thing is just a middle-class lifestyle choice now. ”
Shari: “The Dolls’ web site is great, but the longer stories are impossible to understand, too many teeny-tiny red words on a black background. They should try to actually read it themselves once in a while.”
Jayne: “They have created their own community, and I respect that. Not all of us can fit so well into boring mainstream society… they’ve found some soulmates in each other, and it really shows.”
Shari: “I don’t get why they are so proud of being arrested. Getting arrested isn’t cool or hip or glamorous, it’s just a clear indication that you are really screwed up, and how many problems need to be fixed in your life. Being a woman in jail is pretty much the lowest rung. It only goes up from there.”
Betina: “They know how to use the media, that’s for sure. I hope they make lots of dough from selling their stuff.”
Jayne: “Freedom is what I see here. Freedom to make their own lives, to say “screw you” to anyone who doesn’t respect them.”
Shari: “Oh, well, what’s so free about having to get down on your knees and beg a male-dominated motorcycle club for permission to wear your own colors? Is that any different than needing to ask your boyfriend for permission to wear a sexy dress? It looks like there are the same old tired rules for girls here that apply in straight society… I don’t see any enlightenment at all.”
Betina: “They do seem to watch out for each other. That’s good, there’s a lot of camaraderie in their club. These women really care about each other and they would go to bat for each other no matter what…”
Jayne: “Yes. They seem to have a great bond.”
Shari: “I don’t know… these are low-achieving women. They don’t know how to make things happen in a bigger way, in terms of careers or education or becoming successful, cultured, worldly individuals. Shining shoes for a living, and then making fun of the clients who actually support you, seems pretty juvenile and defensive. They want to be judged on limited terms, like they’re afraid to belly up to the bar with the rest of us.”
Jayne: “They’re having a lot of fun doing this, I’ll bet…”
Betina: “Oh yeah, I’m sure they’ve all got dates whenever they want ’em…”
Jayne: “Not for me, but I do respect them for shaking things up.”
Shari: “Just as long as they don’t beat up my boyfriend…”
Betina: “Can I try your Harley, Jayne?”
Shari:” Sure, let’s ride down to Stormy Leather (local sexy clothing store -ed.) and buy us some leather corsets!”
So there you have it, three different female rider’s reaction to the Devil Dolls motorcycle club. Love ’em or leave ’em alone, one thing is for sure- the Dolls know how to make a splash in the media. The next time you hear the rumble of a big Harley, check your rear view mirror and move over, baby, you just might see the Devil Dolls m/c club on a midnight run to fame and fortune.