“Eat well, stay young, live long.” This is the motto that Doctor Sleep’s villain, Rose the Hat, lives by. It’s a motto that we all apply to ourselves, whether we speak it aloud or not. This is especially true for women, as staying young is a goal we all strive towards because god forbid we age. And, really, we’re not allowed to. We have to be Rose the Hat forever, and in a way, we want to be.
The latest Stephen King adaptation introduces the True Knot, a band of cult-like vampires who torture and kill children to feast on their “steam”—their psychic powers. As their leader, Rose does most of the torture and killing herself. She uses her natural, maternal air to trap her prey for a slow and painful death. She’s a villain of the highest degree, and one of the most frightening that Stephen King has ever created. But as Rebecca Ferguson discusses in an interview with GQ, she’s iconic and cool, which makes many women who see her say, “Goals AF.”
“She's a lover. She's a carer. She feeds, she hunts. She does everything that you and I do to protect the people we love. It's just that the outcome and the consequences of what she does are a little bit darker,” Ferguson says.
There’s a scene in Doctor Sleep where, during her one and only confrontation with Danny Torrance in the Overlook Hotel, she removes her coat, and while bare-armed in a sleeveless vest, she flings Danny over her shoulder down a flight of stairs and beats him with an ax. The women in my audience gasped as if to say, “God... if only I looked that hot and was that strong.” Rose is deadly, with a seductive smile and carries herself in a way that oozes sex. She’s complex, endearing, and above all, she’s both feminine and tough, which society often doesn’t see as characteristics that go hand in hand. She has an independence and a command over her narrative that women strive for; a life free of societal conventions and pressures; free of the patriarchy. She’s the man. Despite the fact that her actions are completely evil and brutal, she represents an ideal that’s dreamt of, but is unattainable by many.
Rose is the embodiment of the peak millennial lifestyle. A go with the flow type who travels and eats well (in a more human context, foods of the organic variety). She has a simplistic style and is the kind of person who doesn’t care what she wears as long as it’s breezy and comfortable. Her look has thrifting written all over it; picking up new pieces of clothing at random stops along her travels, and she doesn’t dare miss a flea market for her next jewelry find. Her hair, that clearly hasn’t been combed in weeks, somehow always manages to look just right. She vapes, lives in yoga pants, and goes to meditate under the stars on top of her caravan that’s a hippie time capsule. It looks like a boujee ’70s hotel. It has a sunk-in tub and has the look and feel of the stereotypical decor used by psychic mediums: deep reds, wild velvet patterns, and tea that’s always ready to be served. It’s luxurious, wild, and welcoming like she.
According to The New York Times, Gen Z and millennials are marking the end of office life. It’s no longer desirable to work and be stuck at a 9 to 5 desk job. We are prioritizing our work and life balance and want to take jobs that reflect that, like remote positions. We are demanding flexibility, and no matter how Rose makes her money (this isn’t explained, other than a statement made by Danny that mentions the True Knot’s wealth), she has the means to do nothing but go across the country in her caravan. She isn’t tied down to a life most are stuck in. She’s free, living like a rock star by her own terms, and with the joie de vivre of a Janis Joplin. She’s known as Rose the Hat by her gang because of the hat she wears, which one child says reminds her of a magician’s hat. You know there’s a story behind that hat, you know there’s a story behind everything Rose does, but she keeps up her mysterious allure, and she’s allowed to. She’s never questioned and never has to explain herself. She’s not restricted. She can say what she wants and act as she pleases.
Rose the Hat is reminiscent of those cultural icons that impact our very being, suck our souls until they’re all we can live and breathe—a rock star of the Woodstock age. Her style a reminder of a time of peace, love, and power. A dance of freedom we want back, but the world is just too shitty for that. She’s a villain, yes, but women who fight and rebel are seen as villains, too. We’re messy women and we want her freedom, and she makes it seem achievable; makes it seem possible to just drop everything, pull out our Fleetwood Mac records, and ride on.
Visit our online hub to catch up on our previous coverage of Doctor Sleep, including Heather Wixson's review and Jonathan James' set visit highlights!