New article: Performing the ‘fun’ self: How members of the Red Hat Society negotiate cultural discourses of femininity and ageing

19 05 2013

And yet another great coproduction; PhD student in Rotterdam Samira van Bohemen en her two supervisors (myself and Stef Aupers) on the Red Hat Society. Fun for over-fifty. Since its foundation in 1998 the ‘Red Hat Society’ (RHS) has become a popular international movement of women aged over 50 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 its main appeal is that it creates an escape from women’s day-to-day life experiences. However, such outcomes ignore the fact that the RHS’s appeal is motivated also by the particular life histories of its members. To explore the relevance of these life histories, interviews were conducted with RHS members in The Netherlands. The findings 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 ageing with those of their past.




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