Little Red Riding Hood: Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon


Soon you'll need a man. Or so the song goes. (Urge Overkill kids)

This song ran through my head as soon as I sat down to write this post about Little Red Riding Hood. What does it have to do with that story? I'm not sure, but maybe we'll find out by the end of this post.

Maybe the lyrics would fit better if they were, soon you'll need an 'approved' man.

Experts tell us that Little Red Riding Hood is a warning about talking to strangers or not listening to your mother.

But I'm not an expert and I have my own ideas.

To me, Little Red is about a girl becoming a woman. Her blood red hood is a symbol of that.

She is stepping out of the safety of her parents home. Her mother warns her. Bad things happen to bad girls.

But she has to go. Adulthood is waiting.  Grandma is waiting.

Poor grandma. Living alone in the woods, basically an outcast.  What a wonderful future to look forward to. If Red sticks to the path like a good girl this is where it takes her.

Red doesn't stick to the path and she talks to strangers.

The wolf. The predator stalking Red. Isn't that what men are? Predators? Well, at least the ones that are strangers. Not those decent hard working village blokes. Right? 

What if the wolf is really desire? I mean, he is going around eating ladies and trying to get them in bed. In modern stories, the wolf is portrayed to be the 'bad boy' trying to lure the 'good girl'.  I see the wolf as a natural part of Red, her desires. Both non-sexual and sexual.

She can go against the warnings of her 'good girl' mother and embrace a life of following her desires or be a 'good girl' herself and rely on a man to 'save' her.

There is getting to be a lot of air quotes in this post.

In older versions of the story, Red gets into bed with the wolf. He ties her up, but she uses her smarts to escape.  Sometimes Wolf and Red eat grandma together. Either way, Red isn't going to become that helpless little old lady.

She embraces her desires, but isn't ruled by them and continues on her journey.

What can 'bad girls' learn from this story?

Wonder off the path. Lay with wolves. Eat the old parts of yourself that no longer serve you. Live your life.