Red Hat Society

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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The Red Hat Society is a social phenomenon. The group was started a mere six years ago. Currently, the Red Hat Society boasts 30,000 chapters, and about 750,000 members. There are websites, books, documentary films, and university studies devoted to the phenomenon of the Red Hat Ladies.

But What, Exactly, Is the Red Hat Society?

It's clear that the Red Hat Society is exceedingly popular, but what exactly is it? The Red Hat Ladies are women over the age of 50, who have decided to greet middle age with humor and joy. These women embrace their own aging, and encourage other women to do so, as well. Mostly, it seems like the Red Hat Ladies just have a great time.

It all began when Sue Ellen Cooper and a group of her friends went to tea wearing red hats and purple dresses. They took their sartorial inspiration from a poem by Jenny Joseph, called "Warning." The poem's narrator says that she will wear purple and red when she is older, so Cooper and friends took the unusual color combination as their uniform.

Society tends to ignore older women. They are generally expected to fade into the background, having already performed their duties as mothers. Red Hatters eschew this philosophy. They prefer to claim a public, joyful, vibrant spot in society, through chapter meetings, public teas, travel, parties, and other events.


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