What the Red Hat Society is all about

Mar 12, 2012, 6 a.m.

Would you consider wearing purple outfits with bright red hats? This is the international outfit du jour for the Red Hat Society. Formalized almost by mistake by Sue Ellen Cooper in 1998, the Red Hat Society is the female friendship group of women who decide to welcome middle age with humor, ambience and panache.

Sue Ellen, also known as the "Exalted Queen Mother," never envisioned her modest female bonding experiment would explode around the U.S. and the world. Currently, the Red Hat Society enjoys more than 20,000 local chapters in all U.S. states and is alive and well in over 25 foreign countries. The Queen Mother communicates with over 80,000 Red Hatters every week through her "Friday Broadcast," informing members of news about its worldwide membership.

Their mission is simple, containing 5 "F's". The Red Hat Society promotes fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment and fitness for women. Promoting female friendship and fun is not their only goal. The society also commits to "reshaping" the way women are perceived in contemporary culture. Their frivolity is accompanied by female bonding unmatched in other social networks.

Members over age 50 are affectionately called "Red Hatters." Those women members under 50 are known as "Pink Hatters." The society closely adheres to their goal of creating new, innovative ideas to help women enjoy life to its fullest. To keep members informed and in touch, the Red Hat Society has developed a popular online communication network to promote female friendship.

Along with many official events, the group celebrates "Red Hat Society Day" on April 25th, throughout the world. In April 2011, the Smithsonian Institution Museum of American History exhibited the original red hat and purple boa as a tribute to the successful female bonding group.

Women ready to face mid-life with humor, fun and frivolity should consider the Red Hat Society as a wonderful option to cultivate female friendship. Few social organizations have ever achieved the pop culture status of the Red Hat Society.

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