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25 September 2012 @ 02:46 pm
Honestly, I love the background / history of the story better than the modern understanding of the story Little Red Riding Hood.

I want to share why I love this story so much and maybe by understanding what makes me excited by it, you'll find something that resonates. 
I guess I've always liked the notion that Red is just as scary/crafty as the wolf, if not more so, because it gives back the power to the traditional victim. Which is what I like about the character Stiles from Teen Wolf, who is one of the few normal humans on a show made up of almost entirely super-human or enhanced individuals but still can hold his own. He's cast as an easily victimized person (and we do see that in the show) but he's not just a victim; he's the unsung hero.  
My absolute favorite thing about Little Red Riding Hood is that it's an allegory for rape/going to bed with people who might be dangerous. It was a story to keep young girls away from men/beasts who'd take their virtue - and in the middle ages, essentially ruining their family's honor. The red hood can also be read as a symbol for a female's menstruation or the hymen. The version by Charles Perrault even states: "The wolf, seeing her come in, said to her, hiding himself under the bedclothes, 'Put the cake and the little pot of butter upon the stool, and come get into bed with me.' Little Red Riding Hood took off her clothes and got into bed." That's probably more than you need to know about me - but I like using stories like this to get over my own issues/not-good memories. And then there's the whole knotting, fur, dub-con, kinky thing possibilities that come with werewolves, period. ;) It's cliche but some of the best things are.
However, or the sun and the wolf symbolizes the moon. In Cox's Comparative Mythology Little Red Riding Hood is interpreted as "the evening with her scarlet robe of twilight," who is swallowed up by the wolf of darkness, the Fenris of the Edda. It appears to me that this explanation may suit the color of her cap or hood, but is at variance with the other incidents of the story. I am inclined to look upon the tale as a lunar legend, although the moon is only actually red during one portion of the year, at the harvest moon in the autumn. Red Hood is represented as wandering, like Io, who is undoubtedly the moon, through trees, the clouds, and flowers, the stars, before she reaches the place where she is intercepted by the wolf." - I enjoy the notion that Red's character is a symbol in the sun vs. moon thought process. I always analyze the hell out of things.

To me, 
the wolves represent wildness/instinct and the huntsman is society's control/order (what the Argent's essentially play in the Teen Wolf world - with codes that aren't always followed) and Red is the unpredictable third party. There's versions of the tale that the huntsman/hunter cuts the wolf apart to free Red and her Granny; and in others all three (the wolf, granny, and Red) are killed with the huntsman going on his merry way. 
Also, I've always been drawn to the blood-play and bodily transformations hinted at in the original tales. For example: the grandma's nightgown the wolf wears... I've read a recount where it says the wolf pulls on her skin - like her actual skin - which is a little related to the wolf/man transformation of a werewolf.  It's body horror in a way. Red is clearly linked to the association of blood and I'd like to see how blood is going to be further addressed by the Teen Wolf (canon and fandom).

Others have Red as the one who kills the wolf through trickery - she tricks him into eating stones, thinking they were food, which weighed him down and she escaped. In some where she turned him into a coat! Perhaps a little Silence of the Lambs but it goes back to the body transformation of wolf-human and human-wolf. 

Maybe there's even one of the 'huntsman' killing and skinning werewolves? *shrug* It would make sense with the Argent-Hale storyline.
Likewise, I've always been interested in the cannibalism of the story, too. Whether the wolf literally eats the grandmother or in one version the wolf leaves the grandmother’s body/meat for the girl, who then unwittingly eats her own grandmother! Or if that 'eating' of Red is a little more sexual - that's fine too! I'm totally down with that. 
some of my favorites:
Non-Teen Wolf Little Red Riding Hood 
My all time favorite retelling of the story is actually a scifi supernatural-rpf space!au. Even if you don't like the show, it's worth a read. http://archiveofourown.org/works/302311 

Other adaptions:
And one of my favorite poems ever (which has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL, NADA, ZIP, NILCH, to do with red riding hood except everything and all the feels I have for both): 

“i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh ... And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new.” - ee cummings

Cearesceares on January 20th, 2013 12:23 pm (UTC)
I couldn't find a master post for your TW reverse bang artwork so I bounced over here to see because I love the piece so much, I really wanted to let you know. There's fantastic artwork in the challenge but your piece was one of the ones that took my breath away, and that I kept coming back to and it was awesome to find this analysis of the Red Riding Hood story, plus a poem by one of my favorite poets.

Also, thanks for the recs and I wondered if you'd seen this?
birddibirddi on March 13th, 2013 06:36 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh, thank you. I had some family stuff that yeah...it was bad and I'm just getting back into doing fandom stuff. I'll post the little red riding stuff soon. Thank you for your support. <3


Cleo: Readingmuse_0f_fire on February 8th, 2013 04:38 am (UTC)
Okay, I came to your lj on a completely unrelated topic and what do I find... an AMAZING essay on my favourite fairytale.

I've always been more fond of the older versions of the story myself and the sexual overtones of "eating" Red have always been the ones that spoke to me the most. Add to that the whole werewolf/shape-shifting aspect as well as the possibility of Red herself being a match (possibly even a mate?) for the wolf is something I've always found alluring. To be honest, I've never understood why while 'Beauty and the Beast' has been redone so many times in so many wonderful ways, 'Little Red Riding Hood' has been all but ignored by modern writers. Especially now, with werewolves being such a hot commodity at the moment.

Of all the characters, I always had the least interest - and in many re-tellings the least respect - for the huntsman. Half the time he comes charging in with no invitation and starts hacking away at the wolf simply BECAUSE he's a wolf, even when Red is still standing there apparently unharmed. However, viewing him as the representation of society's expectations of Red makes a lot of sense. Especially with her there dressed in a hood that can be seen both as advertising the fact that she has reached her sexual maturity while also possibly showing that she is as yet unclaimed.

There are many legends - sorry I don't have many on hand at the moment - where the power of a menstruating female is believed to be actively dangerous to the more important - and in many societies more pure - male power. An unclaimed maiden - and therefore an uncontrolled one - who has reached her sexual maturity wasn't always viewed as the pure innocent. Without a male to control her, she could have power of her own. To borrow from the Arthurian Legend, look Morgan le Fay. While in one of the later cycles of the story she is unhappily married, in most stories she is unwed and under no man's hand. She is a woman who has grown into her own power as powerful sorceress in womanhood. Red Riding Hood, however, is always shown as young. She's just coming into her own power as she makes the treacherous transition from child to woman - something that in older mythologies was just as dangerous as it was something to be celebrated.

In the later Middle Ages they tried very hard to strip the innate power of the maiden by linking her to the Virgin Mary. Meant to be kind and to accept the fate given her without questions. It didn't always work though. I know of at least one medieval tale where the devil himself tries to take revenge on a young maiden because her prayers were so powerful that she was a threat to him. But because of her purity and righteousness, he couldn't touch her.

But I'm getting off-topic here. The point is that Red herself is a person in transition - a maiden but not yet old enough to be wife or mother. Therefore she is both vulnerable and desirable - which is what comes across in the modern stories. What they always seem to leave out though is that while she is still young, she is no longer a child and isn't necessarily as defenseless as the some of the stories would have us believe.

I will admit though, that I'd never heard about the Norse aspect of the story before and the look at her as the red moon and bringing the cycles of the seasons into is fascinating. It makes sense though, if you think about it. Many of these fairytales pre-date Christianity and the cycle of a woman's life - from maiden to mother to crone - was often used as a metaphor for the turning of the seasons. It would make sense to turn that around and use the turning of the seasons to highlight Red's place in that cycle.
Cleo: Readingmuse_0f_fire on February 8th, 2013 04:40 am (UTC)
Response continued...
Did you know that lj response posts can only be so long? I didn't, until I tried to post my response and I told it was TOO LONG! *grrr*

To continue... I'm a writer myself and have always wanted to write a Red Riding Hood story. I have some aspects of how I want to do it worked out, but not others. My main inspiration for the version I'm sketching out came from a picture on Diviant Art that I thought you might like:


I had that as my wallpaper on my computer for AGES. *g*

While trying to find the URL for the picture above, I came across one I hadn't seen before. It's not great art, but the image is interestingly evocative of what you were saying about the Huntsman's role as social expectations. Especially when you read the caption.


Okay, with all of THAT out of the way, I'll get down to the REAL reason I looked up your lj. I got the link from Blind_Author's journal because you did that really WONDERFUL cover art for her story 'The Republic of Heaven' - which I'm utterly addicted to. *g* Anyway, I really wanted to know what fonts you used. I know, nothing whatsoever to do with Little Red Riding Hood. We seem to have two completely different devotions in common though. ;-)

Edited at 2013-02-08 04:42 am (UTC)
birddibirddi on March 13th, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Response continued...
*HUG* You're awesome. Thank you for contacting me. I'm usually over at AO3 lately it didn't see this until now. Unfortunately, I'm really groggy right now so'm not sure if this will make any sense, haha.

I'm so glad you liked my essay - little red riding hood is one of my favorites - and you're right on the werewolves being so popular right now. Your username looks super familiar. Do I know you? I'm going to feel really dumb if you say yes but my short term memory isn't the best. D: Yore in teenwolf fandom, right? or Kradam?

I love what you've written - and am curious if you ever heard of the Rule of Mars book? It's a collection of essays on Male Patriarchy. Google Books only has a snippet but it's well worth the effort to try and find a copy. I came across it when I was researching color theory in undergrad and it's an eye opener for a lot of the continued struggle of women vs. society.

What's interesting to me with the tale of the Virgin Mary and other 'pure' females is that as a whole our society ingrains us to hate female sexuality of any kind - and that is seen in current day slut-shaming to olden times belief in good 'christian values' - especially with prized virginity and 'pureness' = 'goodness' = 'chasteness'. Which is deeply ironic to me because for us to continue as a species, for us to reproduce, women's sexuality must become activated - she must be sexual, must use sexual organs, to bring life into this world. Unfortunately, as men do not have this particular power they can seize control of our species reproduction rights by taking control of the women and determine when and how her sexuality / sexual organs are to be used.

The type is century gothic. :)