A brief history of the fairy tale that’s about to be released as an “kidult” animated movie.
Adolescent girls of the time didn’t have to wait for Freud to discern the message in the story of the dangerous, hairy protruberance that may lie behind unthreatening clothes. “Seeing the wolf” even reportedly entered French slang as a euphemism for losing one’s virginity. Perrault directed his allegory at girls wandering off the track and chatting to chaps, although in earlier European oral versions the heroine is more reminiscent of the Red character in Hoodwinked, who outwits the wolf to survive.
The Grimm brothers, in their 1812 variation Rotkappchen (Red-Cap), made the girl less culpable and less helpless. In their vision, a woodkeeper – representing a benign masculinity which contrasts with the wolf’s – is able to free both granny and granddaughter from the wolf’s stomach by performing an emergency gastric operation on the interloper. The women together then see off a second wolf.
They of course forgot to mention the one where poor Little Red Riding Bush gets tricked by the big bad Saddam WolfseinÂ into a military and humanitarian quagmire in which all the good woodsmen get blown to bits. But that’s… another story.