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Werewolves and the sexualizing of young girls

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The werewolf tale “Little Red Riding Hood” by Charles Perrault tells the tale of a young and beautiful young girl on her way to her ill grandmother’s house to drop cake and a pot of butter. While on her way she meets a wolf and tells him that she is going to her grandmother’s house, the wolf decides to follow her there since he has made up his mind to eat her. The wolf arrives before the young girl and tricks the grandmother into thinking he is the granddaughter; he proceeds to eat the women and lay in her bed. The young girl arrives and is also tricked by the wolf. This short tale is a common story that is heard throughout our lives. The young girl who is targeted by a scary and violent being that tricks her into being his next meal. This tale can be interpreted as a moral story of being smart and not talking to strangers. The end of this tale contains a moral statement that “children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers.”1 This statement at the end gives the inclination that the story is all about the fear of strangers and how young, attractive girls should not put themselves in danger and should be weary of others who are around them.

While reading this short tale I realized that maybe this moral statement does not necessarily apply to this story. There may be an underlying issue within the story about gender differences and societal expectations of males and females. The young girl is often described as being beautiful, overly attractive and the talk of the town in “Little Red Riding Hood.” In “Little Red Hat” the girl is described as being young and distracted by pretty things like flowers.2 This idea that these young girls are on their own and talking to scary beings like ogres or werewolf, who ultimately kill them, is a form of sexualizing young girls. A writer by the name of Maya writes about how red riding hood stories are often used to describe a predator and a young child, she says, “the anthropomorphic wolf symbolizes a man, who could be a lover, seducer or sexual predator.”3 The idea that these young girls are experiencing a sort of sexual abuse or awakening can be seen from the way that the young girls are often asked by the wolf to take off their clothes before laying in bed.

There is also the implication that the wolf seduces the young girl due to her flirting. According to Albrecht, the wolf pursues the young girl because she spoke to him in a flirtatious manner that may have attracted the wolf as more than a meal. This places the blame on the young girl as being the cause of her demise rather than blaming the wolf for being a beast.4 This is seen in today’s society with how women and young girls are afraid to report sexual abuse due to the fear of being blamed for what happened.  The sexualized story of little red riding hood is the classic man versus women. Women who must not use their femininity to attract men because if a man acts impulsively then it is the woman's fault for enticing that behavior and the man is not held accountable for his actions.5 In conclusion, a werewolf is the epitome of a man meeting his needs and being the true animal that he is, while little red riding hood is the impressionable girl who stupidly attracts this animal and loses her goodness in the process. 

  1. https://d2l.arizona.edu/d2l/le/content/563364/viewContent/4935282/View
  2. https://d2l.arizona.edu/d2l/le/content/563364/viewContent/4935287/View
  3. https://www.mayastarling.com/little-red-riding-hood-moral-warnings-and-sexual-implications/
  4. http://www.dw.com/en/why-little-red-riding-hood-is-caught-between-innocence-and-sexuality/a-36559200
  5. https://www.kibin.com/essay-examples/the-story-of-little-red-riding-hood-the-most-sexualized-fairy-tale-character-of-walt-disney-UAqJ6mRu

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