Monday, December 27, 2010


Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale
by Catherine Orenstein
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Giving away to anyone who wants it. Just let me know.

I wrote a paper on the sexual connotations of Little Red Riding Hood when I was in high school. It was the most important paper of the year for that English class, and thus the most important paper to me overall. This book became my dictionary, my encyclopedia, my bible for that semester. I read many others about sex and adult themes in fairy tales, but I did not enjoy them like I did this one. I recognize now that it was probably because it was not as “heavy” or “scholarly” as some of the others.

I was able to use the paper as an excuse to watch ridiculous movies like FREEWAY and talk about sex in class-- my favorite topic but not that of the public school system. For years afterwards I was drawn to an odd assortment of Little Red Riding Hood paraphernalia, though I really do not own too much. My favorite Hood possession is a scantily clad action figure, which I kept in the box until 1-2 years ago. She still lingers, somewhere hidden, on my bookshelves. She may be tacky and or nerdy, but I like her and she fits in with all the literature. She was given to me by a very good friend. My most prized object is a hideous and old doll that is both Little Red and The Big Bad Wolf. You flip up Red’s dress and there he is. It was almost thrown out when I was a kid, but I found and salvaged it. I was drawn in by its sheer creepiness and now it almost seems like a relic. It presents to me the strange transition in understanding from childhood to adulthood, and the natural intuition of children.

I cannot tell you what I would think of the book if I read it now, but then it was the perfect mix of literature, fairy tale, media, sex, and feminism to hold my attention. I did fairly well on my paper, and I think I might even have that somewhere in the depths of my closet. I am finally ready to let this book go even though every time I see it I smile with the memory of having the most interesting topic of anyone in my class, at least it was to me.