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Little Red Riding Hood
@curtis I think that this uncomfortableness is so interesting because I can specifically recall feeling uneasy at this part of the story as a child. Red Riding Hood's banter with the Wolf as she gets into bed with him has always struck me as unsettling, and the class discussion has of course only furthered this feeling. Adding the concept of sexual harassment and predatory activity turns the story into a metaphor that is, for lack of a better word, creepy.
@nikki I agree completely. I had the same reaction as a child too. I remember not being scared by the story, but more being unsettled. That scene felt more wrong than scary; like you said, creepy.
I know as a child there were more stories or shows that most likely gave me a similar response as well. One that I can place my finger on now is Coraline. I loved the movie, but in the same way, when the Other Mother was talking of sewing button eyes on Coraline, that always made me feel more uncomfortable than scared. I think there is definitely a certain power we have in our instincts, so maybe this feeling is telling us there is something more to this. For Colarline I doubt this would be an underlying example of sexual harassment, but I do think that there is something there. Maybe don't trust strangers? That is a very vague possibility but I am sure there is more
@nikki I agree with this completely. I think it's so interesting how even as a child, we could tell that something seemed off about this story. I think there are lots of things in our childhood that seemed creepy or off, but they were used as cautionary tales, just like Little Red Riding Hood. The fact that we could tell even as a child really says something about society and how we need warnings and stories from such a young age to caution us from the harsh realities of the world, such as sexual harassment in Little Red Riding Hood.
@bunkymoo, I feel like you have to be in a entire different way of thinking when talking about Little Red Riding Hood like this. I don't even think people older than us would pick up on this perspective of the story unless they were specifically looking for it. I find it interesting that we pull out deeper meanings in all of these children's stories that I never would have thought of without this class.
@savhoisington I too was freaked me by Coraline when I was younger (try to find a kid that wasn't)! I honestly really like the movie now, but just the trailer was enough to keep me up at night as a kid. I agree that there are very similar little red riding hood feelings, an unsettling/uncomfortable feeling rather than just terror. There is not quite a sexual predator in Coraline, but there is definitely a similar predator/power theme. I am wondering if Coraline and the button eyes scene is so unsettling in that regard because it demonstrates power of a warm, comforting figure for the child-gone wrong. As a child, you see your parents as the ones that make decisions in your life, the ones with the power, but the with the best intentions that will always care for you. Since the fake, button parents are so kind, it provides those feelings familiar, warm and happy feelings. As a child watching this movie, you see the parent, the authority figure with the power over the child, wanting Coraline to do something disturbing. Children connect this mother as the authority figure in Coraline's life, which adds a whole new unsettling nature of this scene.
@gil This is a very good point to bring up! The aspect of having such a warm and comforting figure be the one to turn on you is indeed disturbing. I think this idea can also be applied to nursery rhymes and stories such as Little Red Riding Hood. What made it so disturbing was that we would never associate such horrid themes such as sexual assault or harassment with something as warm and innocent as a nursery rhyme for children. We expect something to be so sweet, yet it turns out so twisted and horrid, the idea that it is masked in something meant to be so innocent is the thing that makes it so disturbing to us.
@octavia I understand where you are coming from ,but originally this story wasn't illustrated they way it is today. This story is being stereotyped as only being for children, when in reality everyone can take a lesson or two out of it. Children aren't the target audience but rather the female gender is.
@msar - You make a very interesting point. I think a big thing we can take away from this is that we shouldn't just disregard fairytales and stuff like that as something that only children can learn something from. Like you say, there is a bigger audience there and everyone can take a lesson away from them, however disturbing it might be.
I love the movie Coraline and, again, it's a story I never really considered digging deep into but I'm really glad you made that connection because now I can't stop thinking of the possibilities. I really like what you said about the power our instincts hold and I couldn't agree more. We just know when something around us is wrong or worrisome and the storytellers definitely know this and use it to their advantage to get their underlying messages across.
Oh, and can we please further discuss the idea of a werewolf's transformation being connected to a woman's fertilization?! That was one of the major things that stood out to me when we discussed this in class and I meant to talk more about it on here but I think it may have slipped my mind.
Anyway, I couldn't believe I had never made that connection before. It makes perfect sense (especially considering the new interpretation I have of Little Red Riding Hood) that a, potentially sexually, predatory animal like the wolf would take its most dangerous form when a woman is at her "weakest" and most fertile.
What do you guys think about this?
@madams43, it was pretty disturbing when we talked about this in class. It was kind of gross to think that a mythical creature like a werewolf could still somehow be tied to women's sexualization. Talking about how the werewolf's transformation begins when a woman is most fertile, I think this plays into the idea that women exist for men.
@xmysterio you are not alone, I don't think that any of us as children thought about this tale in such a deep and terrible way. But it is the truth and as life progresses you find out the real truth on so many things you thought were simple and harmless. Though the tale might be sickening and gross I think that it was good we learned about it in this way as it offers us as readers a new way to look at stories.
One thing I found connecting werewolves to women was a case where a woman had killed someone, and she was charged with manslaughter instead of murder because she argued that PMS had caused her to do it. For her defense, she used years of diaries and institutional records to show that she became violent every 28 days. So she was seen as a monster during this time because she was on her period. By portraying werewolves as monsters that come out every full moon, it is being said that women are monsters during their menstrual cycle. Another connection I found was a 2000 movie called Ginger Snaps. In this movie, Ginger is attacked by a wild creature on the night of her first period. Here we can see again where menstrual cycles are being referred to as monsters and portrayed as some sort of savage quality.
I found something online as well, possibly the same one as Nicole. The article stated that "Prohibitions surrounding first menstruation and menstruatingwomen exist in many cultures and are grounded in fears thatduring menses a woman is polluted or possessed by dangerous spirits. Hovering on the edge of the supernatural, [much like werewolves] such women are deemed especially treacherous.." While it is slightly humerous to think of men getting afraid of "possessed" women, I do feel sorry for those women that had their menstruation so tabooed. Back then, menstruation was not treated as such a natural, accepted thing unfortunately! Also, I had no idea the whole idea behind werewolves is so centered around sex!
Here's the article if anyone is interested
@username27, I agree, I haven't really thought about it like this but after this class I'm beginning to. I feel like there's always a meaning for every type of audience which is super interesting. I feel like a lot of books can be interpreted in a more mature way, but I'm having a hard time believing that every author intends to do this. Do you guys think that authors intend to put meanings in children's books for adults too?
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