The United States has had a rebellious streak from its inception, and its mid 20th century incarnation–Hell’s Angels—proves no exception. Photographer Bill Ray and writer Joe Bride described the leathered outlaws as a new breed of rebel that “absolutely despised everything that most Americans value and strive for. They rode their bikes, hung out in bars for days at a time, fought with anyone that messed with them. It was extraordinary to be around.”
And yet even within this rebellious sect, gender divisions bore a strong resemblance to more mainstream society. Of particular interest to the LIFE duo was the role that women played within the club. Women would come and go, and many of them were as young as teenagers. During Hell’s meetings, they would wait patiently in another room, not allowed to take part in the discussion.