08 December 2013

Dream On: Little Red Riding Hood...& Sex?

Last night I had the most vivid dream about Red Riding Hood.

It was nothing like the recent animated version of the female character, however. There was nothing innocent about the aura which surrounded this hooded figure.

I understand it was only a dream, but hear me out--I'm on some tough medications. Not to mention Lyme disease itself will give you strange dreams. It's not uncommon to have overly-realistic dreams, Alice in Wonderland-type dreams, or nightmares that you will probably never forget...ever.

If you've had the flu before and suddenly shot up in bed--straight as an arrow--not sure if you just had a dream or a horrible occurrence, then welcome to my neck of the woods.

So what I experienced was this colorful (but foggy) dream where I believed I was playing some sort of hide-and-seek game with THE Little Red Riding Hood. Except she looked more like Famke Janssen. And her crimson cloak trailed behind her like the train on a wedding dress. And...get this. She was carrying a bouquet.

As I kept following her, the atmosphere of my dream world became gloomy and so dark that I could no longer see her face--I could only follow her by the sounds of her cloak trailing along the forest floor. I was just about to ask her where we were going to meet the wolf at when she was suddenly there, at my face, with her finger in front of my lips. She hushed me with the loudest "ssshhh!" possible, dropped her bouquet, and vanished. Something behind me snapped a twig, and of course, I woke up.

I researched the story of Little Red Riding Hood a little bit today, and what the character of Red could possibly stand for. I kept thinking What is this dream supposed to mean?

In the original version, the grandmother and Red are eaten by the wolf and no one is there to save the day. Harsh, like most fairy tales actually originally were.

There were so many articles and stances on the sexuality of the story that I couldn't just let that theory escape me. For instance, the red hood that is worn is thought to possibly mean multiple things: "sin," "blood," "menstruation," while the wolf is supposed to represent Red's loss of virginity.

There are also connections to Sigmund Freud's Oedipus complex, disapproval of prostitution, and fear of the woods.

What I most found interesting was the idea of using the wolf as a symbol for men who try to seduce innocent girls.

Maybe that's where women eventually got the term "dogs" for men. 

Overall, I think I just need to remember that:  1) Dreams don't always have a meaning. I tend to overthink what my mind could be trying to tell me, when really, what the hell do you make out of a Little Red Riding Hood dream?  2) Even around the 14th century, sex was on our minds a lot.  3)  I'm never reading my kids fairy tales. Ever.

So why do you think we still pass on this tale to our children? Give me your take in the comments below. 

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