Once, folktales were used to educate children on the ideals of a time period. In the 1800s , there were many tales written about wolves and monsters in very similar contexts—a little girl with a red article of clothing being eaten. Two such fables are “Little Red Riding Hood ” and “Little Red Hat ”. These stories served to frighten young ladies into always travelling with a chaperone and following the rules set in place by family and society. In the tales, a beautiful young girl is eaten by the friendly, unassuming creature. The young girl is eaten because she was foolish and spoke with someone unknown to her and without a chaperone. The tales depict unknown persons (read: men) as beasts who would easily take advantage of any naïve young lady foolish enough to travel alone. Women are portrayed as prey and the red hood can be interpreted as a symbol of coming danger—foreshadowing the spilling of blood. Young girls were told these tales in order to caution them from trying to be independent.
A more modern take on using werewolves as a warning to women is the 1957 film classic “I Was a Teenage Werewolf ”. In the movie, the female lead, Arlene, is dating the troubled and surly Tony, who inevitably becomes a werewolf. Produced in the 50s, the movie has a subtle commentary on how men and women should behave. Repeatedly, characters (such as Arlene’s parents) show their distaste for the relationship between her and Tony, due to Tony’s behavior. Not only does this commentary criticize a man who cannot keep his composure, but it also is a warning for women to stay away from men who are “troubled”. It depicts men with a temper as monsters, who will only cause heartache for a “good” woman. The movie reinforces the 50s idea of the “nuclear family ” (Tony was raised by a single father and look how he turned out!) and the perfect, cookie-cutter facades meant to be worn 24/7 by society. Anyone who cannot keep up the charade is scorned and viewed as problematic. Arlene’s involvement with Tony is punished with derision while he is alive and heartbreak after his death. The moral of the story being that getting involved with “those kinds” means risking unhappiness.
Getchell, Michelle. "Women in The 1950s." Khan Academy. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
Hughes, Kathryn. "Gender Roles in the 19th Century." The British Library. The British Library, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 18Apr. 2017.
I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Dir. Gene Fowler. Perf. Michael Landon. Sunset Productions, 1957. YouTube. YouTube, 01 Oct. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
Perrault, Charles. "Little Red Riding Hood." Little Red Riding Hood. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
Schneller, Christian. "Little Red Hat." Little Red Riding Hood. Trans. D. L. Ashliman. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.