Stephen Vincent comments on my Kerouac post below. I bring it forward here because it is apposite:
At this point in history - apart from shear pleasure of much good "Beat" writing, whatever that might connote (& there is a lot of it), it's also interesting to contemplate its primarily masculine orbit and the corollary view of women with particular myths, and methods of enforcing those myths; it's mostly disturbing. That is the jarring outbreak of feminism in the late 60's was provoked by the oppressive power of those myths. In the current ongoing celebration of Beat writers & writing, I don't know that this issue gets much consideration. It was bad stuff and not good for the health of either men or women. I am still shucking it - velcro (those mythse) to the psyche as it was/is.
The maleness of the Beat Movement must be admitted. Much of the writing strikes me as simply puerile, I mean the attitude pressing the writing. The wanderlust is a fantasy mythos that directs stupidly towards stopgap goals. Kerouac wafted innovatively into Buddhism but Catholicism proved a heavy lode (awesome pun, eh?). I think I was always aware of the hip embargo that the Beats instigated. The acculturated gulag of style in the guise of freedom shows itself lacking. The Beats are worth studying,and then you move on.