Little Red Riding Hood: “Never talk to strangers”
The original story for LRRH (not Brothers Grimm) by Perrault has to do with a child’s innocence – similar to the concept of ignorance is bliss. Female sexuality wouldn’t play a larger role in this concept instead, the book focuses on the dangers that children face as they grow older. LRRH’s grandmother allows her to venture off alone into the forest and when approached by a wolf – instead of terror or fear of the wolf – the child is polite, inviting, even trusting – all things we are taught or fall to habit when we are young. This is a theme that is still alive now in “Stranger Danger” ads. The grandmother and her home play this role of the shelter and safety for the child while the forest is the outside world that is filled with possible harm/danger. The path is the lesson that the grandmother has taught LRRH to keep he safe. Things your mother would say to you when you were 5. The original theme is more about adolescence, unawareness and innocence - and how quickly they slow disappear (or rather appear for the child) as we age…not particularly sex.
As the story adapts over the years, these male dominated roles play a bigger part due to the culture impact of present day society. Contemporary versions of LRRH are a reflection of the feminist themes that have slowly appeared in the writing. The concept of men-saving-women…rescuing us…is a present day theme. Drives me a bit nuts because women are providers; we carry children, we work, and we have an unexplainable amount of emotion. Women typically are able to show vulnerability and speak loudly about our feelings. Which is a sign of strength but nowadays is labeled, weak. Our attractiveness or the attention we are given by our attractiveness has been commonly used as a way to make us feel insecure. The evolution of harlet, whore, slut.
Throughout history we are punished for these traits by men – trying to make us appear weaker then we actually are. Covering us from head to toe, silencing our right to vote, or needing to be saved by a strong, noble huntsman. Bob Dylan said it best, “the times, they are a changin”…and for women, they certainly are. Our role as providers is only growing stronger. If the LRRH story continues to evolve with time, and reflect the present day culture, in the future we just might see a cunning and more powerful protagonist.