Little Red Riding Hood

red-riding2

This is not a simple fairy tale. This is a story designed to control young girls. The moral – stay on the path, or else you will get hurt. This is victim blaming at the core. It teaches that it is Little Red Riding Hood’s fault that she and her grandmother got eaten by the wolf.

The wolf is every single male she ever encounters in her life. The “being eaten” is everything from getting a lesser job to getting raped or killed. This story teaches girls – and only girls – that if we don’t stay in our defined roles then we deserve everything bad that happens to us.

Notice she isn’t even named. Her “name” is what she wears – exterior only. She isn’t even real, just a placeholder. She isn’t a person, but a thing. People look at her outside only.

Notice that it is a strong male who saves her – the hunter comes by and hears the grandmother snoring and decides to investigate. Why is snoring loudly seen as a sign that something is wrong? Do women not snore? Are we expected to maintain control over ourselves at all times – even while unconscious?

Notice that the townspeople don’t send the hunters into the forest to clear it of dangerous animals. They don’t make it safe for her or others.

red-riding

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Art made on a Strathmore art journal – mixed media paper, using various pens and painted using Distress Ink. Words are photocopied from a book about Little Red Riding Hood and then dyed/stamped/inked.

Poem Wild

It is the forest.
It is always the forest,
the wilderness.

The wolf didn’t torment little Red,
the forest did.
The wilderness was something to escape
all those 40 years.
This is the story we are told.

The untamed is the
uncivilized is the
dangerous.
We are told –
Leave the forest.
Leave the wilderness.
Because
There isn’t only wild.
When you are there
you are wild too.
Because you can’t control the forest
or the wilderness.
There,
you
can’t be controlled.

If a tree falls in the forest,
it does make a sound
but nobody is there to hear it
because they are afraid
to be there
afraid of what is lurking
behind the trees,
of finding their true nature
in all that nature.

The forest frightens those
who tell us these stories
because they are afraid we will return
to the forest
inside ourselves.
They are afraid
we will rediscover
our inner wilderness.

They aren’t afraid we’ll be eaten
by the wild animals.
They are afraid
we
are
them.
13
(A bronze sculpture from an exhibition at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, all about how fairy tales are dark. This is about Little Red Riding Hood)