I really like the attitude expressed in Jenny Joseph’s poem. It is quite liberating to say to yourself that you are now a grown-up and can do what you want: that you can throw away high heels, wear socks with your sandals in mid-winter, never again wear pantyhose… or makeup… or anything else that you don’t like. No more skirts. No more tidy blouses that tuck in and need to be ironed. And that you can choose your activities to meet your own personal needs and interests, without constraints of jobs, marriage, motherhood, grandmotherhood. Joseph is inviting us to listen again to the inner child we have kept locked in her room, crying, for so many years.
It is regrettable that the “Red Hat Society” has undertaken to use it as their anthem. The organization is really such a good idea… get older women out and about and enjoying themselves, secure in the company of other older women who share their interests. And to proclaim their liberated sisterhood with panache, with style, with exuberant enthusiasm.
But the local chapter I eagerly joined evolved into a noisy group of self-indulgent and ridiculously over dressed women acting silly in public places. You did not want to be in a theater or restaurant when they turned up. A charter member of the local group, I did not last long. Perhaps the group has settled down now; I don’t really know. I have friends in other groups that love it.