We were all growing up listening to different tales that were either retold or read to us by our parents. When young children grow older, they tend to interact more with these stories and try to fit themselves in the framework of their favorite tales. Consequently, tales are still relevant and significant because, by means of symbolism, they can still resonate with the modern world regardless of the era we are living in right now. This idea can be supported by the fact that the majority of tales that were available to our grandparents are not replaced by any new tales and are merely edited in order to comply more with the realities of the modern world.
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Despite the fact that the tale of Little Red Riding Hood is typically viewed as a children’s story that narrates the perils of the phenomenon known as stranger danger, it should also be viewed through the scope of transitioning from childhood to adulthood, and therefore be interpreted as a cautionary tale about sexual relationships and the associated threats that women and other vulnerable subjects face in today’s American society such as, sexual predators, stalking and date rape.
Of all the ideas that can support this thesis, the most powerful is the one that the Red Hood did not have enough protection coming from any available sources when she was sent to stroll through the dark forest by her mother. In other words, this may be compared to the modern world where there are numerous young girls strolling through the Web and catching more and more attention of male users. The thesis can also be supported by the fact that the modern socially unconscious young girls may be perceived as virtual “devotees” of the image of the Red Hood due to their provocative behaviors that they tend to showcase on the Internet.
The context of this issue can be overtly connected to the concept of the popularization of bullying and online shaming. Even though this cannot be directly associated with the Red Hood, the number of crimes that were committed on a sexual basis has increased lately (Marshall and Gilmore 100). Nonetheless, it would be important to mention that this may happen due to provocative attitudes toward the relationships that are displayed by young females (15-25 years old).
One of the weakest arguments that can support the relevance of an old tale such as the Little Red within the framework of the modern society is the willingness of the modern females to disregard the moral values of the past. Expanding on the topic, one can also pay attention to the fact that the majority of sexually-induced behaviors are currently considered to be a social norm (Ronfard and Harris 283).
If we turn to the use of social media, we will see that females became rather bold in terms of what they are sharing in their online profiles. A parallel can be drawn between the main character’s provocative color of the hood and modern behaviors. Audaciously speaking, the tale comprises several sexual innuendos that can also be translated into the modern female behaviors that provoke online bullies, stalkers, and potential rapists.
Regardless, this argument may be seen as a one that does not have any practical connection with the tale because, at the time when the Red Hood strolled through the forest, there was no Internet. This idea is also majorly associated with the fact that the behavior of young females changed diametrically because of the technological progress. According to the research conducted by Galdone, the modern Little Red Riding Hood would differ significantly from her original counterpart because of all the implications of the modern society (93).
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The main problem with this attempt to refute the argument consists in the fact that the shift in behaviors would occur regardless of the advent of the Internet. Humanity is subject to challenging itself and gradually evolving throughout the time. It can be claimed that the technological progress at hand had an impact on the female perspectives in terms of behavior, but it did not influence them enough to elicit the development of a behavioral model that would promote the value of being vulnerable to any external threats.
Jackson et al., for example, provides a set of findings regarding the impact of the Internet on the lives of young females (44). At the same time, this perspective does not provide the reader with enough evidence regarding the development of the modern world in terms of females becoming more vulnerable to human behavior and interpersonal interaction.
Instead, there may be another reason to connect the dots and create a link between the Riding Hood and modern society – an extensive sexual background. It becomes evident that modern young girls are looking for trust and respect and one of the places where they can earn it relatively easy is the Internet. Knowing that with the development of the Internet technologies our private lives became practically public, the author of this essay may hypothesize that the level of privacy in the modern world is insufficient, and the essential problem relates to the fact that a common citizen cannot (or does not want to) do anything about it (Harris et al. 108).
In psychological terms, modern young girls can be associated with the Red Hood from the classic tale because they are always willing to seem more adult than they really are. Consequently, the relevance of the tale can be explained by its behavioral roots and not the changes that are characteristic of any society at any given period of time.
Considering the reason presented above, it may be safe to say that social behaviors of modern young girls have nothing to do with the development of IT technologies and can be associated with a whole another reason that merely touches upon the classic tale as well. While this argument is not common, it may be hypothesized that the lack of parental education is the most critical catalyst for the development of victimization-connected behaviors.
The existing literature on the subject supports this viewpoint and adds that parents are the biggest influence in general and behavioral patterns of teenage girls have almost nothing to do with the things seen on the Internet (Kohm and Greenhill 265). Even knowing that there are numerous types of dangers in the modern world, a great deal of parents is merely unable to provide their children with a decent amount of information regarding the threats (both overt and covert) that may seriously impact their lives. Rightfully, the lack of education has to be viewed as the core of relevance of the Little Red Riding Hood within the framework of the modern world.
Galdone, Paul. The Teeny-tiny Woman. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016.
Harris, Paul L., et al. “The Mysterious Emotional Life of Little Red Riding Hood.” Children and Emotion. 26. (2014): 106-118.
Jackson, Anna et al. The Gothic in Children’s Literature: Haunting the Borders. Routledge, 2013.
Kohm, Steven, and Pauline Greenhill. “Little Red Riding Hood Crime Films: Critical Variations on Criminal Themes.” Law, Culture and the Humanities 10.2 (2014): 257-278.
Marshall, Elizabeth, and Leigh Gilmore. “Girlhood in the Gutter: Feminist Graphic Knowledge and the Visualization of Sexual Precarity.” Women’s Studies Quarterly 43.1 (2015): 95-114.
Ronfard, Samuel, and Paul L. Harris. “When Will Little Red Riding Hood Become Scared? Children’s Attribution of Mental States to a Story Character.” Developmental psychology 50.1 (2014): 283.