Little Red Riding Hood is a morality tale which directs young woman. As a result, different variants of Little Red Riding Hood reflect changes of social views and expectations towards women over time, especially their sexuality and empowerment by portraying the girls, who are the main characters of the variants, with different levels of power they hold and various reactions when they face dangers.
Some variants of Little Red Riding Hood reveal that social views towards women at that time are quite conservative and traditional while women are expected to submit to others and to maintain their innocence. For example, in Brothers Grimm’s Little Red Cap, the girl is guided by her mother’s rules while she is going to visit her grandmother. Her mother tells her to “walk properly, not to “stray from the path”, and not to “go peeping in all the corners of the room” (14). Here, the girl is disciplined by her mother’s rules, suggesting women’s conservative and submissive roles in society, as she is required to perform certain decent manners in the public. Women’s compliance of meeting social expectations is further strengthened when the girl obeys her mother, “I’ll do just as you say” (14), showing her obedience and deference to others without questioning their authorities. At the end of the tale, when the huntsman saves the girl, she learns that she should never “stray from the path and go into the woods, when your mother has forbidden it” (16). Here, the girl takes her experience as a lesson which allows her to realize the importance of her mother’s instructions. The girl’s response reveals that the moral of this tale is to teach women to listen to others so that they won’t get hurt. It is demonstrated that the girl is saved by a huntsman, who is more powerful than her, instead of by herself. As society regards women as weak and requiring guides, it is expected by society that women follow directions commanded by others due to their...