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Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Maggio 2007
Nato come un acquisto un po’ avventato da parte di una signora americana, il cappello rosso è diventato un simbolo per migliaia di donne in tutto il mondo. Rigorosamente over 50.

di Derek Workman

File audio:

Red Hat Society
Red Hat Society
Judy Brown
Judy Brown

Speaker: Justin Ratcliffe (Standard British accent)

When Sue Ellen Cooper was passing a charity shop in Tucson, Arizona, one day in 1998, she bought a bright red fedora hat, for no other reason than it was cheap and, she thought, quite dashing. A couple of years later she came across the poem “Warning” by Jenny Joseph, which begins: “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, With a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.” At that point she decided that she would give all her friends bright red hats when they reached the age of 50.
What started out as a bit of fun and frivolity for ladies has taken the world by storm and the Red Hat Society now has 1.5 million members worldwide. But while wearing a red had may just be a bit of fun in the States, it used to mean something quite different in the UK, as Judy Brown, known as “Queen Wren Ruby Judy” to her chums in the “Belles aux Chapeaux Rouges” chapter in Blackpool, explains:

Judy Brown (Northern English accent):

Traditionally, nice ladies do not wear red hats and, certainly in England, they don’t wear red hats. Traditionally, women, “red hat, no knickers,” you see, it was ladies of the night, really, but now, Americans didn’t realise that, they just thought it was fun because people just don’t wear red hats.


The wearing of red hats is no longer the sole right of “ladies of the night,” or prostitutes. Indeed the women of the Red Hat Society are respectable older ladies who are seeking “friendship and fun.” The society has its own hierarchy. Members in their 40s are either lavender or pink red-hatters, while “greduation” – a variation on “graduation” – comes at the age of 50.
Judy Brown thinks that many members are discovering how to have fun for the first time:

Judy Brown:

So many women of our age always feel you have to do something for a reason, not just to go and have fun. I think men haven’t got that. Men can do something just for fun, women very rarely do that. You know, they actually don’t do anything for fun, there’s always, “Oh well, I’ve got to do the shopping on the way home” or something like that. Just to go and have fun, dress up, you know, wear a feather boa during the day, put a big red hat on and go forth and have fun with your friends and laugh and then go home again.


Yet Judy thinks that the Red Hat Society actually has a more serious role to play:

Judy Brown:

It’s done more than, I think, all the feminist movement did, in one sense, because women are friends wherever you are, and the emails I get, oh, my goodness me! It’s just one man’s work keeping up with everything.

For more info, visit: www.redhatsociety.com.

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charity shop - negozio di vendite per beneficenza.

fedora hat - cappello di feltro.

quite dashing - piuttosto affascinante.

I shall wear purple - mi vestirò di viola.

that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me - che non va d’ac-cordo (col vestito) e non mi sta bene.

has taken the world by storm - ha travolto il mondo.

chums - amiche.

chapter - capitolo.

no knickers - niente mutande.

the sole right - diritto esclusivo.

to seek - cercare.

lavender or pink red-hatters - portano il cappello color lavanda o rosa.

feather boa - boa di piume di struzzo.

it’s just one man’s work... everything - ci vuole una persona a tempo pieno che stia dietro a tutto.