Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What we are telling our children-part 2

So I had already thought of the Disney post earlier, but I saw this and decided that it was a nice complement to the other post. At rest time we have stories for the children to listen to as they fall asleep and one of the ways for telling stories is this website www.storynory.com. This is a great site for stories for children as it has a lot of them and the storyteller has a great British accent (I know many of the people who check this out either have no children or their children are too old for bedtime stories, but just in case some with a young child sees this, I really like this site). Anyway, I put on Little Red Riding Hood for the children to listen to and noticed a little note that they were telling the original version by Charles Perrault. I found this interesting as in this version Little Red Riding Hood is eaten by the wolf. There is no rescuer, no woodsman and no safety for Red. So the moral of this story should be, not to talk to strangers and this is generally the accepted moral. But apparently as the authors on storynory.com put it,

When Andrew Lang published this tale in the Blue Fairy Book of 1889 he added these thoughts:

( Moral: Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say “wolf,” but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all. )

This got me thinking about two things, first how different fairy tales are in the original and how we continue to use that same blame the female mentality. The authors as storynory give us the opportunity to examine and compare the Perrault version and the Brothers Grimm version. Honestly, both are much more gruesome than the versions I am familiar with which reminded me of this post that I had done earlier. We have sanitized these stories so much we forget what the original stories said and that they were more macabre than much of the stories we tell our children today. I am also reminded that many of the fairy tales we now tell were written more for adults than for children.

Secondly, it has been over 100 years since Andrew Lang wrote that moral to Little Red Riding Hood and yet we continue to have those same thoughts and place that same blame on the females when they are assaulted by men. We still say that women who are attractive...provide dinner for the "wolf". We blame women when they are raped or sexually assaulted. We say that they must have done something wrong, did they dress too provocatively, were they flirting, when they said "no" they meant "yes". We blame them for what happens and don't blame the wolf. It may have been over 100 years, but I am not sure times have changed that much.

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