Something I’ve Never Seen

Never, not once in my life, can I recall seeing a woman drive a motorcycle with a male passenger behind her. Oh, I’m sure it happens, but I have personally never seen it. (Granted, the vast majority of my life has been spent in North America, and this limited cultural context must be kept in mind.)

If you search Google Images for a “woman driving a motorcycle with male passenger” the instances seem rare. I did find this scene, though: two Indian movie stars swapping the stereotypical gender seats on a motorcycle to promote a film. That’s right: a woman driving a motorcycle with a man tagging along for the ride is so rare it works as a publicity stunt

The so-called ‘backseat’ of a motorcycle is called a pillion — which, according to Wikipedia, comes from Scottish Gaelic for ‘little rug,’ being derived from the Latin pellis for ‘skin’ or ‘pelt.’ Apparently, back in the day, chivalrous equestrians placed a few extra animal skins behind them on the horses back for their lady passengers to sit on.

Unsurprising, then, you see about as many women driving motorcycles with male passengers as you see depictions of medieval women riding horses with male knights riding pillion… which is approximately zero.

“Bitch seat” or “bitch pad” is vulgar North American slang for the pillion on a motorcycle, as is “riding bitch” instead of “riding pillion”. (Wikipedia)

Motorcycle culture, it’s time to get out of the Middle Ages.

6 thoughts on “Something I’ve Never Seen

  1. It’s pretty common in South East Asia. Everyone’s on motorbikes in Viet Nam, and there’s none of that weird “woman driver” stuff we have here in North America. Whoever owns the bike is the driver, unless the other person is much bigger or heavier, and even then. . .

  2. I’m a male and I would never have a problem in riding in the passenger seat while a woman drives, when I was teaching my girl to ride I rode on the back seat for her to get used to having weight on the backseat, and I didn’t care about what other people were thinking when they were seeing me! (I turned 17 in february)
    Matter of fact is that I really dislike terms such as “riding bitch” for the back seat, or “sissy bar” for the passenger seat backrest, it’s derogatory to women in my opinion

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