Performing the 'fun' self: how members of the Red Hat Society negotiate cultural discourses of femininity and ageing
journal contributionposted on 07.10.2013 by Samira van Bohemen, Liesbet van Zoonen, Stef Aupers
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Since its foundation in 1998 the “Red Hat Society” (RHS) has become a popular international movement of women over fifty that is known for its distinct group performances. Red Hatters show up in public spaces wearing red hats, purple clothing and – sometimes – red gloves, and engage in various fun and frivolous activities. Previous studies about the RHS have found that the RHS’s main appeal is that it creates an escape from women’s day-to-day life experiences. Such outcomes, however, ignore the fact that the RHS’s appeal is also motivated by the particular life histories of its members. To explore the relevance of these life histories, we conducted interviews with RHS members in the Netherlands. Our findings indeed show that to understand the cultural meaning of the RHS it is necessary to include a diachronic dimension in the research, articulating members’ current negotiations of femininity and aging with those of their past.
- Social Sciences
- Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies