“Little Red Riding Hood” is one of the tales that seem simple yet addresses complex social issues such as sexual predators, stalking, date rape, and many others. It is the way in which a comparatively old fairy tale shapes relationships and interactions in modern society that seems to be especially interesting. The research question I am answering is the following: “How relevant are the issues presented in “Little Red Riding Hood” in modern American society?” My position on the issue is that the effects of “Little Red Riding Hood” are vastly underrated since the tale renders a range of topics from sexual abuse to date rape to stalking, which are all issues with which the American society has to deal with today.
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It is important to mention that such topics may be surprising to encounter in a children’s tale; however, the fact that they are present speaks volumes about the way society was at the time when the tale was created. Despite the fact that “Little Red Riding Hood” is typically viewed as a children’s story, it can also be interpreted as a cautionary tale about sexual relationships, child mistreatment, and the threats that women and other vulnerable subjects face in today’s American society.
At present, my knowledge of the subject matter is restricted to mostly the essentials. While I am aware of the fact that “Little Red Riding Hood” serves as a cautionary tale, the array of important issues and problematic themes that it contains is not yet fully revealed to me. The effects that “Little Red Riding Hood” has on shaping children’s idea of threats associated with sexual relationships have been explored in several studies, yet further analysis is required. “Little Red Riding Hood” can be used as a tool for showcasing the threats of unrestrained sexual curiosity that are manifested without any knowledge of the perils that one may encounter in the process. Today, cases of “stranger danger,” child molestation, abuse, or kidnapping have become usual subjects that news reporters address on a daily basis, which is unfortunate to hear.
Moreover, I have noticed that many of the cases associated with the mistreatment of children (e.g., Madeleine McCann) have not been resolved, which needs more attention brought to them. Despite the introduction of such systems as the AMBER Alert to notify the American public on the abduction of a child, there are hundreds of children that go missing, which is a massive problem in today’s society. As “Little Red Riding Hood” teaches readers about the perils of following into a trap of a predator, its message can be transferred to modern society, in which many people make the same mistake.
Currently, there is an array of resources that the government provides for advising states on how to implement effective strategies targeted at the prioritization of prevention efforts to stop child mistreatment. Such policies range from individual-based to societal processes that affect entire communities. In particular, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contributes to the strengthening of economic support to families whose children have been mistreated, changing social norms for promoting positive parenting behaviors, providing education, and intervening for minimizing the harms and preventing future risks of children being exposed to predatory behaviors.
Since the tale considers such important topics as child mistreatment and sexual abuse, it is important to mention stakeholders that currently deal with these issues and can provide help to victims. Such organizations as Children’s Bureau, American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, American Psychological Association, Child Welfare League of America, Childhelp, National Children’s Alliance, and many others work toward the goal of improving the quality of life of American children, implementing prevention strategies for child mistreatment, as well as managing cases of children who have experienced traumatic events.
Mentioning these organizations in the context of the discussion is essential as they could provide help to those in need and facilitate the process of addressing the problem of child abuse on a large scale.
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The majority of research methods used previously focused on the evaluation of metaphors that the story contains and their link to sexual interactions and child abuse. However, the current approach will help define the effects of “Little Red Riding Hood” on modern society, and the analysis of metaphors or other literary devices used in the tale would not shed light on how the identified issues manifest themselves today. Interviews will become the primary research method for analyzing the impact and the relevance of the topic in “Little Red Riding Hood” in the context of modern American society. The researcher will seek participants (adults) who have witnessed the abuse of their children by predators, who have lost their children, or whose children have been abducted.
First, study participants will be educated on the cautionary messages of “Little Red Riding Hood” and asked whether they have ever understood the topics that the tale presented. Second, the participants will be asked about their personal experiences as well as whether they have received support from the community or governmental organizations. Third, the participants will be asked to make connections between key issues raised in the tale and their experiences to facilitate the discussion on the relevance of “Little Red Riding Hood” to modern times.
Research on the issues of child mistreatment, predatory behaviors, and sexual abuse showed that society has not eliminated them and is still struggling. Children still go missing, and poor parenting mistakes that lead to adverse outcomes are still being made. Of particular value were studies that analyzed the different types of individuals involved in child mistreatment and abduction. It was found that parents and acquaintances of children were equally involved in child mistreatment; however, strangers-predators made the largest portion of offenders.
The possible challenges in conducting research are associated with the sensitivity of the discussed issues. Because of this, participants will be approached with caution, and the assistance of a mental health specialist will be needed in the future. Also, it may be difficult to find study participants who will agree to share their experiences with the researcher to make connections between the current social environment and problems discussed in “Little Red Riding Hood.”