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Performing the 'fun' self: how members of the Red Hat Society negotiate cultural discourses of femininity and ageing

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journal contribution
posted on 07.10.2013 by Samira van Bohemen, Liesbet van Zoonen, Stef Aupers
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.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Citation

VAN BOHEMEN, S., VAN ZOONEN, L. and AUPERS, S., 2013. Performing the 'fun' self: how members of the Red Hat Society negotiate cultural discourses of femininity and ageing. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 16 (4), pp.424-439.

Publisher

© Sage

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date

2013

Notes

This article was accepted for publication in the European Journal of Cultural Studies and the definitive version can be found at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1367549413484306

ISSN

1367-5494

Language

en

Exports