Little Red Riding Hood Essay

Submitted By Johannes-Kieding
Words: 833
Pages: 4

Johannes Kieding
Response to “Little Red Riding Hood” by anonymous author
For English 214
September 16, 2009

A Conspiracy Theory

“The Little Red Riding Hood” might at first glance appear as a well-meaning morality tale stressing the importance of using caution and of not being fooled by “wolves that come in sheep's clothing.” On closer examination, however, the version authored by an anonymous writer reveals values that promote traditional but oppressive ways of viewing the world. Nestled within “The Little Red Riding Hood” lie messages advocating inequality among sexes and age, promoting dominance of adults and males and obedience and subordination of children and females – all antithetical to a healthy, progressive outlook on life that fosters individual freedom and equality. In the opening paragraph “a forester and his wife and little daughter” (Fairy Tales and Urban Legends, 173) are introduced, and a sensitive eye will see the sexist stance of the narration. The wife and daughter are named in terms of their relationship to the forester, the man, which high-lights the patriarchal mind-set the story promotes. That “the little girl was a great pet with everybody,” and that “Red Riding Hood was delighted to do her mother's [my italics] errand,” (Fairy Tales and Urban Legends, 173) further demonstrates the operation of inequality and the idea that the girl is a mere extension of the adult world. Not only do we see how Riding Hood obeys her mother by doing her mother's errand for her, but she does it with delight. As if to say, “not only should children make the lives of adults more convenient, but they should be happy while they do it!” How might a progressive parent relate to her child in a way that fosters respect for equality? Such a parent would sometimes require her child to obey, but the crucial difference would be that this mom or dad would be keeping the child's best interest in mind, not his or her personal convenience. From this perspective it is not a child's job to do her mother's errands, and if asked to do her mom a favor, should feel free to decide freely whether or not do comply. For arguments sake, let's say that Riding Hood's mother thought it was in her daughter's best interest to have some bonding time with her grandmother, and therefor arranged the trip through the woods for Riding Hood to take. In this situation, the mother may not offer her daughter a choice, but she should at least be encouraged to feel however she wishes about it. But we don't hear Riding Hood's mother say, “You need to visit your grandmother because it will be good for you, but you are allowed to hate every minute of it.” A modern example of a healthy parent-child interaction is the child who wants to keep watching TV past his or her bedtime, and the parent who is good with limits and boundaries yet encourages the child emotional freedom. Such a parent might say, in response to the child's protests that her friends are allowed to stay up longer, “I know you want me to get run over by a bus right now but you are going to have to…