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Last Post Update: January 16
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Little Red Riding Hood
@xwing37 I don't necessarily think the meanings are for the adults themselves, but putting adult meanings in children's books, sure. The thing with children's books is that the goal is to educate them on real life situations and real life decision making, and sometimes this has to include the difficult stuff, such as in Little Red Riding Hood. It's not like we can just tell little kids this stuff, so we have to soften the blow with putting it in a nursery rhyme or seemingly innocent book. It's a bit disturbing what we have to teach sometimes, but that's just society.
@xwing37 Personally, I think they absolutely do. That way the story can appeal to a broader audience, you know? It's kinda the same as children's shows having "adult jokes" in them that just fly over the children's' heads. The jokes and innuendos are there specifically to entertain the adults without explicitly ruining the integrity of the show that's meant for the kids.
I absolutely agree, stories like this have existed forever insinuating that women can't get by without or simply exist for men. Yes, this idea is expressed in the idea of the werewolf being connected to fertility, but we can also recognize it in classic stories like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White... (basically, any classic Disney movie ever made). That all of the young woman's problems would disappear once she's saved by the prince. These aren't giving off quite the same message as the werewolf or Little Red Riding Hood, but they do share the idea that women exist for men.
@madams43, I agree, and your post made me start to think about how women are portrayed in media. You mentioned that women are often portrayed as helpless and needing to be saved by men. This made me think about how women are often portrayed as something for men to obtain or consume. Women are often not really given much of their own character in a story but written to advance a man's character. I think this ties back into the story of Little Red Riding Hood, where she is another example of women being exploited by men.
@a2m0n2 To some extent you are right. I just feel that they sort of had to write the wolf as manipulative and cruel no matter what, as the villain of any children’s book should be written in such a way. However, the amount to which he is so manipulative to Little Red is concerning. I can see where you’re coming from in that sense, because no children’s book villain is as disturbing and manipulative as the wolf to Little Red in my eyes.
@username27 Thank for agreeing with my point. But I also wanted to talk about something else you replied with calling the story disturbing. The Idea of this being disturbing is totally correct you are allowed to think like that. However, usually nowadays when people call something disturbing they usually glance over it and discard it as soon as possible in order not to deal with something like that again. And to that I say no! We must not discard this story and dismiss it as something disturbing and we should give it the utmost importance because if this story was relevant back then it should still be relevant today in order to change what is easier to change.
@octavia, I haven't really thought about it this way. So what you're saying is that they aren't putting meanings in the books for adults, but the author is putting more complex meanings in the books in order to expose children to difficult situations in life. I think this interpretation is spot on. Because obviously a childrens books intended audience is children, but at some point kids need to be exposed to more complex societal issues and what better way to expose them to them then in a picture book that teaches a lesson.
@madams43, you see this a lot in kid shows too. I think this is definitely something that some authors try to do. Almost like an inside joke for the parent that's reading their kid a book. I think the author's main purpose is to teach and entertain young children, but since a lot of times parents read to their kids they slip something in for them to. I feel like this would be really difficult to include in a book no matter how small it is. But anyways thanks for responding.
amount to which he is so manipulative to Little Red is concerning. I can see where you’re coming from in that sense, because no children’s book villain is as disturbing and manipulative as the wolf to Little Red in my eyes.
Yes, when thinking about children's books, it is true that they are very cautious. Think of the books you grew up with as a kid. I know for me looking back, there aren't really any villains in books like Frog and Toad or Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Fairytales, on the other hand, are different-evil queens, witches, step sisters, you name it. What I wanted to comment on was that xmysterio said that "no villain is as disturbing and manipulative as the wolf." Immediately I thought of Hansel and Gretel, another tale that really disturbed me as a kid. Which has got me thinking, why is cannibalism such a common thing in fairytales? There is a lot of horrific stuff in fairytales, but why is the cannibalism used so much? I think it would be interesting if we examined another fairytale, like Hansel and Gretel! What do you guys think of this absurd story, do you think there is a message we have all missed? Are there any other fairytales you have realized a deeper meaning within? Let's examine more stories!
Now that this topic has been out for discussion for a while, has anyone's opinions or views on the matter changed? Do we think of it as still being a stereotypical story of a girl needing help from a man? (which it is) or do we think something else? The time makes it obvious there some reason for it to be so stereotypical. Do we think there is something new from the other work we have done since then that makes the story seem different? let me know.
@msar, this is a good point. If the problem in any novel or short story is disturbing enough for you to discard it, then that means it is important. If it disturbs the reader then it's probably still an issue in today's world even though it may have been written many years ago. If everything that is disturbing gets thrown away then the problem will never have a solution. It's a super interesting point that you brought up because I think every one of us has read or watched something that was so disturbing we just put it away.
@delphine Exactly! Society is so built around these Men vs Women thoughts, that at this point most just follow along. We grow up with these ideas, most of the time coming from both male and female figures in our life. Again I am very glad we are beginning to target and destroy these gender "norms". Most just unintentionally morph into these ideals and don't put in the effort to see other wise, and that's why we need to bring on more awareness. Stories like Red Riding are just proof of this disappointing mentality throughout history.
I agree, women in stories and movies aren't typically given their own individual character. Their whole purpose in the story always seems to be tied into whatever the male lead's issues are.
However, just to change up perspectives, I would like to say that the same can be said for men in stories as well. Not necessarily in the same aspects as women in stories but they almost always have the same role. They're portrayed as the ones that always need to take the lead and lack emotion.
I think the way that men are portrayed in stories says just as much about our society as the way women are portrayed.
The idea that they're either a predatory monster (like the wolf) or emotionless soldiers tells young boys that they have to be one or the other. Even prince charming in every fairytale sets an impossible standard that boys feel they have to live up to.
what do you guys think about these roles being switched? Anything to add?
@nicole I find this connection very interesting and this was actually brought up in my hour and we briefly talked about. One thing I can say for sure that I have really enjoyed about taking this class is the concepts that are introduced to us that we think we might be familiar with and then *poof* a strange switch is thrown on it and we are completely baffled by the idea. But the compassion of women to werewolfs was something that was really surprising to me because when you read about it, the townspeople's reasoning made sense for them, but to us we don't get it because the idea is so normal to us. So it gives us a chance to find middle ground on what this idea is really trying to say.
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