Girls in peril: A critical feminist analysis of female portrayals in contemporary retellings of Little Red Riding Hood

Harvey, Phillippa V. A. (2017) Girls in peril: A critical feminist analysis of female portrayals in contemporary retellings of Little Red Riding Hood. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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Abstract

This research project sought to explore the ways that female characters were represented in children’s picture books and identify any potential effects that these representations might have on children’s gender development. A literature review explored the historical context of the classic fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, and examined previous research surrounding themes that were considered to be particularly relevant to the story, including the concept of victimhood and the prevalence of gender stereotypes. Four different contemporary retellings of Little Red Riding Hood were examined using thematic qualitative text analysis, from a feminist perspective. An initial coding of the texts paved the way for a broad thematic categorisation, and these categories were broken down further into subcategories based on the initial coding, the literature review and the research question. Critical analysis of the data revealed that contemporary picture books telling the story of Little Red Riding Hood continued to perpetuate patriarchal discourses that were dominant in society at the time of the fairy tale’s original mainstream publication. Female characters were consistently portrayed as passive recipients of both male violence and male heroism, and the overriding moral of all four books was that girls were not only responsible for avoiding danger, but were at fault if they fell victim to male violence. It was concluded that contemporary retellings of Little Red Riding Hood promoted traditional discourses of female inferiority and largely failed to challenge sexist stereotypes, and this has implications for children’s gender socialisation.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Departments > Childhood and Youth
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Wendy Ellison
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 11:57
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2017 11:57
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/2939

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