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Last Post Update: Feb 16
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[Solved] Little Red Riding Hood
@nikki I never really considered this idea of what age is reasonable. Now that I think about it, I feel like it is reasonable to subconsciously implement these ideas in a kid's brain. I can't think about what age would be reasonable, so I guess teaching kids young is the best option rather than them being faced with such serious issues in society.
My question is, if we can have stories like LRRH drill it into the subconscious of little girls that this is just the way boys/men (other women too, no bias here) are and to just deal with it and try not to put themselves in a situation like that, then why can't we have stories that go the other way? Children's stories that teach kids to... idk...maybe not be predatory in the future? Switch up the narratives and steryotypes? Just a thought.
Not to mention stories that don't portray boys as always having to be tough and masculine. Teach them that it's okay and valid to have emotions and to express them and that thay in no way makes them "less of a man". Just as we girls shouldn't have to always be the sweet, naive, "innocent as a rose" princesses portrayed in almost every old fairytale.
These social constructs of what make a man and a woman are things we literally made up. They aren't real.
@octavia I don't think a specific age is really something we can determine, as maturity is so subjective in our modern day lives. How can we determine which children are "ready" to face these traumatic facts? Can they ever be ready? Should we expose them while they're young and yearning for knowledge or preserve their innocent minds and hope that they don't get hurt?
@madams43 We mentioned this a bit above and this is a great point, teaching children not to be the predator rather than to avoid the predator. However, there was a debate regarding whether "bad people"'s actions stem from the way they are taught or if they are just meant to be "bad". My personal opinion is that it can be one or the other or a little of both. Does anyone have any further thoughts about this?
@delphine However, at the same time, making these horrific matters more explicit in a children's story wouldn't benefit anyone. No child is gonna read that and no parent is gonna let their child read that. Perhaps that's why the clues in children books are so discrete, like they are trying to plant those cautious thoughts at the back of our heads at a young age. Like if a young child reads this story, they'd think to themselves "Wow. I definitely should not talk to strangers in the forest like she did." I think that making these hints more subtle is ultimately a more beneficial strategy.
@delphine I agree that it is a bit of both. There are so many reasons why someone would be "bad" (that word means so many things as well). Someone could act out of insecurity while knowing that they are doing something bad, or someone could be ignorant to their own evilness. While the first person may have hope to change, the latter doesn't always, and that's where it stops. I still think books that teach not to be a bad person, or that encourage calling out others doing bad behavior, would be more efficient in having a more equitable world. Just because some won't benefit doesn't mean it is not worth it.
@xmysterio Yes, no parent wants to disrupt their own child's innocence of the world. However, that subtly can be dangerous. I mean, think of sex education. So many parents are terrified to tell their kids anything, and then the kids are totally unprepared for the real world. I know I am incredibly grateful that my parents never withheld any information I wanted to know, even as a very young kid. So, I think that while subtly is important to not wreck a kid's brain, straight-up honestly is the most valuable. I am definitely not saying Little Red Riding Hood should be rewritten to teach 5 year old not to rape. I am saying there should be more books that discuss respecting all people, and teaching kids to be peaceful and kind. Not glorifying violence, or war heros that encourage the attachment to power. By encouraging good principles, kids will be more prepared to deal with the larger and more complex issues as they grow up.
As I am skimming through all of these posts of this topic, I see that everyone seems to be in agreement that this story is harmful and offensive and uncomfortable. I agree that when analyzing this story the way we that we have, it is misogynistic, cruel, and disturbing. I am curious as to whether you agree with that, what I want to know is do you think that this story should stop being told? What is the harm of telling this story if this deep meaning is not being interpreted? Is it a type of subconscious thing that children develop a mindset that it is up to them to change their behavior and not the predators fault? OR is that not true? For when I was little even though (like all stories that involve children being eaten) I found it creepy, the lesson I took away from it was "don't talk to strangers". Do you think the misogynistic interpretation of the book impacted my outlook on the world, even though I was unaware of it? OR was my interpretation of "don't talk to strangers" all that occurred to me when I read it, leaving me unaffected by our disturbing interpretation.
Maybe you take an existentialism approach in that every thing in our society impacts and reinforces ideas within it. Maybe you think that if one does not interpret something the way others do, there is no impact. Whatever you opinions are I want to hear it!
@theboulder I agree that it is very important to be upfront with your children. I really appreciated that whenever I asked my parents a question they never said, "I'll tell you when you're older..." or lied to me, they would just tell me the truth. That being said, as I was thinking about what this story taught me as a kid, not the analysis we put on it, I feel like this story is almost like a starter block for children, as @xmysterio said. Even if people said, well since it's the predators fault, no precautions are necessary. While of course it is not the victim's fault-what kind of a parent would you be if your child thought it was safe to go into a stranger's van? I think that even though you can be offended by this story, I think it is important for children to learn that not everyone is their friend and there are dangers in the world. It is an unfortunate reality, but I think that it is important for children to realize that there are predators out there and they should be careful.
@gil I completely agree. There still needs to be caution because there are real threats from strangers. There is also limits that literature can have to help inform kids of danger or inform kids not to grow up to be dangerous. If only one aspect of our society changes, there won't be any effect. When I heard this story as a kid, it also taught me not to talk to strangers. And to be fair, I haven't, and I am safe. So did it do a good job? Kinda, yeah. I only think the story that is harmful because of the misogynistic tendencies. This story alone is fine, but as a kid, if all the information we are taking in is stereotypes, we develop a warped perception of reality. And that perception could be dangerous.
@octavia This is definitely an interesting predicament. Such a young age seems inappropriate to present these issues to children, but it isn't as if the children won't be exposed to these issues in their lives. I personally think that hinting at them in stories isn't too much. Like you said, it's better to have a vague idea from a young age than to learn later in life and have a bad experience with it.
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