Little Red Riding Hood is a moralistic fairytale told to children. She encompasses youthful naivete, morality and being a good girl who does what she’s told. She is also one of the most sexualized fairytale characters. And rightly so. Her story has been told and retold and cleaned up and downright sterilized.
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From first being told in the French courts as warning to young pretty girls to not get into bed with men, to little girls cannibalizing their grandmothers and being devoured after being raped by the wolf we get the modern day version where Red AND her grandmother both typically make it out alive while the wolf meets his own demise either through Red’s cunning or the help of a friendly and conveniently place lumberjack.
Though the story we tell children today has been revamped as the kid friendly version, little red riding hood has lost her more than sexual undertones. You ca find her likeness and other versions of her story in all kinds of adult media, from porn to young adult literature to video horror games. I feel like she combines much of what is expected of women in society. Expectations to be youthful and curious, do what we are told, to have morals and follow them. But we are also supposed to be sexual creatures. To be alluring, to be wild, to be tempting, to be chased. All of these things I think can be found in the telling of little red riding hood. That this is how women are supposed to act. These are of course, what appear to be opposites. Which can be confusing. So obviously, this is a story we tell to little girls. Of all the things we expect women to be wrapped up in a pretty red bow.
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