Conspicuously consuming: The red hat society and midlife women's identity
Conspicuous consumption, Group identity, Identity development, Midlife women, Red Hat Society, Women and aging
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
Drawing from interviews and fieldwork with Red Hat Society members (RHS), we consider the growing consumer culture of the RHS, how members conspicuously consume red and purple dress, and for what purposes they do so. RHS members in this study develop visible group identity, reinforce traditional gendered behavior, and challenge publicly what it means to be "old." We investigate consumption as a means of discerning whether midlife women's participation in RHS is a commodity to be marketed, bought, and sold. Is the public space that RHS women take up collectively challenging the ageist ways in which society views aging women? We investigate the consumer culture of the RHS to determine possible links between conspicuous consumption and group identity within the cultural context of aging women's social invisibility.
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology
Department of Design, Textiles, Gerontology, and Family Studies
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
Stalp, Marybeth C.; Williams, Rachel; Lynch, Annette; and Radina, M. Elise, "Conspicuously consuming: The red hat society and midlife women's identity" (2009). Faculty Publications. 2270.