Little Red Riding Hood

from Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner. Copyright 1994 by James Finn Garner. Published by Macmillan Publishing USA.

There once was a young person named Red Riding Hood who lived with her mother on the edge of a large wood. One day her mother asked her to take a basket of fresh fruit and mineral water to her grandmother's house--not because this was womyn's work, mind you, but because the deed was generous and helped engender a feeling of community. Furthermore, her grandmother was not sick, but rather was in full physical and mental health and was fully capable of taking care of herself as a mature adult.

So Red Riding Hood set off with her basket through the woods. Many people believed that the forest was a foreboding and dangerous place and never set foot in it. Red Riding Hood, however, was confident enough in her own budding sexuality that such obvious Freudian imagery did not intimidate her.

On the way to Grandma's house, Red Riding Hood was accosted by a wolf. who asked her what was in her basket. She replied, "Some healthful snacks for my grandmother, who is certainly capable of taking care of herself as a mature adult."

The wolf said, "You know, my dear, it isn't safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone."

Red Riding Hood said, "I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop your own, entirely valid, worldview. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must be on my way."

Red Riding Hood walked on along the main path. But, because his status outside society had freed him from slavish adherence to linear, Western-style thought, the wolf knew a quicker route to Grandma's house. He burst into the house and ate Grandma, an entirely valid course of action for a carnivore such as himself. Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist notions of what was masculine or feminine, he put on Grandma's nightclothes and crawled into bed.

Red Riding Hood entered the cottage and said, "Grandma, I have brought you some fatfree, sodium-free snacks to salute you in your role of a wise and nurturing matriarch."

From the bed, the wolf said softly, "Come closer, child, so that I might see you."

Red Riding Hood said, "Oh, I forgot you are as optically challenged as a bat. Grandma, what big eyes you have!"

"They have seen much, and forgiven much, my dear."

"Grandma, what a big nose you have, only relatively, of course, and certainly attractive in its own way."

"It has smelled much, and forgiven much, my dear."

"Grandma, what big teeth you have!"

The wolf said, "I am happy with who I am and what I am," and leaped out of bed. He grabbed Red Riding Hood in his claws, intent on devouring her. Red Riding Hood screamed, not out of alarm at the wolf's apparent tendency toward crossdressing, but because of his willful invasion of her personal space.

Her screams were heard by a passing woodchopperperson (or log-fuel technician, as he preferred to be called). When he burst into the cottage, he saw the melee and tried to intervene. But as he raised his ax, Red Riding Hood and the wolf both stopped.

"And just what do you think you're doing?" asked Red Riding Hood.

The woodchopper-person blinked and tried to answer, but no words came to him.

"Bursting in here like a Neanderthal, trusting your weapon to do your thinking for you!" she exclaimed. "Sexist! Speciesist! How dare you assume that womyn and wolves can't solve their own problems without a man's help!"

When she heard Red Riding Hood's impassioned speech, Grandma jumped out of the wolf's mouth, seized the woodchopperperson's ax, and cut his head off. After this ordeal, Red Riding Hood, Grandma, and the wolf felt a certain commonality of purpose. They decided to set up an alternative household based on mutual respect and cooperation, and they lived together in the woods happily ever after.

Back up to Heather Has Two Mommies.

Printed copies of Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner are available on-line, at your local bookstore, or by calling 1-800-428-5331. (ISBN: 0-02542730X)

Reader's Comments

Years ago I told that story to my children in a different version. One is now in politics telling that same kind of stories. Another is unemployed and always coming around for money. The third has been gone for years and I haven't heard from her since the letter I got from the mental institution. I liked my version better although yours is good

-- Tuck --, December 20, 1996
I enjoyed most of the story. In fact I laughed out loud and was ready to email it to my daughter, who is the mother of a four year old.

I am a feminist. I do not believe in violence, whether the violence is inflicted on females or males! So when I got to the part where grandma jumps out of the wolf's mouth and chops off the head of the "woodsperson", I had to rethink the value of the story. It seems to me, that part could have been written differently!

By the way, I am a Nana and I would have enjoyed sharing the story with my four year old "light of my life". Perhaps I will just change that section and share it anyway.

-- Elaine Whitmanbonner, October 7, 1997

I think that this is a sad commentary on what has become of our society thanks to the political correctness scare of recent years. It is too bad that we can not take a story such as "Little Red Riding Hood" for face value, but rather look too deep and find what is not there. I'd like to think we can find a place in the middle where we can respect each other and still enjoy ourselves. Note to the author: you did a fine job.

-- Nick Rogers, December 2, 1997
I believe that leaving the title "Little Red Riding Hood" completely defeats the purpose of being PC. Just because she is an oppressed person of gender or pre-womyn doesn't mean she is little, red, or that she is a riding hood.

-- James Garriott, April 6, 1998
Whoa. All these other perspectives are "deep." I liked the story, and I don't care how it reflects on society or how everyone else interprets it because if you speculate long enough, you can get any meaning out of it that you want.

-- Jake Jenne, July 15, 1998
I'd just like to say that, whomever Elaine is, she's missed the point of the "woodsperson" and the violence. The reason it is so funny is because it lambasts being p.c. (I HATE political correctness), and the fact that there's violence has nothing to do with that. This story's not supposed to have some sort of value. It's supposed to be funny and ridicule p.c. What value is ruined by the chopping heads off? Much more violent things happen in real fairy tales, so why complain about a parody and say it decreases the value of the story?

-- Devin Smither, April 9, 1999
I think that the term "Politically correct" or PC is a euphemism. It has become a term that is easily mockable and dismissable. One should use the appropriate term, eg. Sexist/ Racist/ Homophobic ... What do people think?

-- David Sharp, April 12, 1999
For those of you so into PCness I have one question: Do you still take your children to see Santa Claus or do they now tell their hearts' desires to Santa Person? This is a marvelous spoof (or, if you prefer, satire) of the ridiculous lengths to which political correctness has invaded our lives. We, as a people, try to educate and legislate all forms of equality, forgetting that our actions speak much louder than our words. Unless viewed as a satire, this version is nothing more than the ruination of a fine old fairy tale. It has no other value. But for those of you who took offense at the original and find this new version to be a revelation of correctness, I would recommend James Thurber's version of the story. I would definitely recommend it to those who found this version funny. --Mary--Sept. 5, 1999

-- Mary McDowell, September 5, 1999
Why does everything have to change, only in america do you have to do everything different, for years we grew up with the old story and manged to turn out normal, why does everything have sexist and racist tones, why can't it just be a wolf and a woman etc. Like the traditional dick and jane books, we learnt to read with, we never turned out sexist just because we learned to read with them. Get your priorities right

-- michelle odeh, January 26, 2001
I am a student from Eastern Europe and what I see while reading this passage is that there are still humans across the Ocean.

-- Andrei Panici, February 4, 2001
I find this whole story difficult to assimilate. First of all, the characterization of the wolf as not consistent with my understanding of wolves. MY various environmental influences and predjudices had led me to believe that canines were not equipped with mandibles, vocal cords and speech areas in the brain that would enable them to effectively verbally communicate with humans. I also was under the impression that wolves, in particular were pack hunters, and that humons were not a natural prey animal. Further, I was under the impression that their anatomy was such that they would not be able to devour a whole humon in such a way as would leave that humon alive and in a condition to leap back out of the wolf's mouth. Please don't think that I am challenging your versimilitude, but the discord between our world views is striking.

-- Jimothy Johnson, February 17, 2001
If all people thought the way this story read, who could actually communicate through life? I truly believe the profound aspect of this satrical essay is that we even need to make fun of a harmless story to get our point across to people about the stupidity of political correctness. Just "quite yer bitchin" and face the facts that you can make some of the people happy all of the time, and you can make all of the people happy some of the time, but you sure as hell can't make EVERYBODY happy ALL the time. I would also like to let everyone know that in 2005, white males will become a minority in grades K through 2nd in Umeraca.

-- Jeffrey Scott Leitner II, February 21, 2001
I think that the PC version was VERY FUNNY! I laughed and laughed all of the way through it. I think it is so sad that women think that they are gods, separating themselves from "opressive" men, while at the same time seducing them with their barely clothed nakedness, then killing the man's babies. And somehow this has become man's fault. HA!!!

So sad is the woman who has been blinded by this delusion!!!

A happy woman is one who finds a man who will comunicate to her with words, place her on a pedestal as his wife, and protect her with his life... then she has no problem with being submissive. I'm talking to even YOU!

-- Jason Sawyer, April 17, 2001

I have been researching Little Red Riding Hood for an assignment, and it is interesting to see how many different versions there are of the story. I have come across another politically correct version, and I find it peculiar that they are not consistent with each other. In the other version the wolf and the "log-fuel technician" (?) have revenge on LRRH and Grandma.

I, too, don't quite understand why it is necessary to mess with the text in order to produce a story which doesn't offend people (if indeed it does). The fact is that it is a fable from many years before anybody even thought of political correctness. If people wish to write stories in a pc manner, then feel free; but changing a fable so that it loses its original moral (the whole point of a fable) does seem to be taking it a bit far.

I don't have a problem acknowledging that I am from "man." What is a "myn" after all?

-- Jess Limb, May 16, 2001

Hey! What's with the revisionist fairy-tale telling here?? She was always known as "Vertically Challenged Red Riding Hood" in all of my bedtime stories! I will thank you to get it straight from now on!


Lunkhead57 Laughing Uproariously

-- Right Wing Conspiracist, June 3, 2001


Looks like she USED to get what she deserved, but alas now LRRH has two mommies, and they are not white, they are pagans, and of course gay as tinkerbell (used to be 'fags', but again P.C. rules the day) I laughed alot, but you know it is scary but there are some 'earth-mother-goddess-lesbian-activist-democrats' out there that will tell you the 10 commandments are 'evil' and their unatural lifestyle is somehow something CHILDREN need to learn. Watch t.v. long enough and you get the impression the U.S. is a racist evil, oppressive nation, but I have been to nations where there is racism, and etc.. and let me tell you WE are the leaders in the way of peace, happines and opportunity. It is the Elitist rank and file socialist that belly-aches, whines and complains about "oppression' because they have been pampered all their lives, and fed bullshit for education, I say let them go to a country where running water is a luxury, then bitch about 'labels' and 'rights', of course after they come back the U.S. running and screaming for help. Thank you for the needed humor and a snese of comedy in this crazy-ass nation of liberalites that see bitching and whinning as a way of bettering this country, as oppossed to actually contributing to it.

Piss on liberals

-- Paul youguessandyouwin, June 9, 2001

People. Do not look to deeply into this version of LRRH. It is supposed to be a joke. A send up of PCness. It is nothing to get sooo worked up about. Just sit back and enjoy it. Lifes too short to get all 'huffy' over a fairy tale!

Peace out :)

-- Griffin Strachan, November 1, 2002

You guys did not understand a thing ! It is a joke to make fun of PC, yet, being myself a feminist, I find it very interesting. It is true that in fairytales, you always have the poor little princess and the strong prince who comes and saves her. Right, but can't a woman do the same ? I think this PC version quite shows an evolution: womyn can live without men, they're not dependent. Obviously, it is fine to have a man, just like a macho will still enjoy to fuck a woman, even though he thinks they're useless. Womyn do not need to be protected and put on a pedestal as one said in a previous post. No. Or not at all I'd say. A woman wants to prove she can do great things without having a man helping her and this actually annoys men, because womyn are starting to show what they can do.

Also, feminists want to change women to womyn because there is the word 'men' in it. The word 'women' would either come from "woe man" or "wife man". And none is better than the other ! Because you men who think feminists are ridiculous, just imagine your life without a woman !

-- Blandine D., November 13, 2003

I think this story accentuates the very real problem of political correctness in the world, but most predominantly in the United States. There is nothing wrong with words so long as the person using those words knows what those words mean. But as our societies move towards better and faster we pollute our language with "new" words to use less words to tell other people what we think. People get upset when another person uses the word "man" to describe the human race. But the word "man" originally meant "human being." Say whatever it is you want to say, but don't use less words or larger words to save you time or to be more convenient. So instead of saying "convenient" you would say "it was easier for me." Yes, it takes longer, but don't you think taking a little extra time to say what you mean as clearly as you can is better for telling others what you think? I would rather have other people hear what I have to say and know what I think than seem smart by using less words. And political correctness is another way for people to take away those words and phrases that let you say what you think and know. Words aren't bad. The thoughs and ideas behind the words are.

-- John Brown, February 9, 2005
this political correctness issue is ridiculous, we're talking about a fairytale written in a time without equal rights and political fairness. The fairytale was a warning to young girls and served as a message about young girls loosing virginity as well as safety. It was written originally by Charles Perrault as a lesson for young women (not womyn) of society to remain chaste, or moreso advice to. Political Correctness is becoming ridiculous, words are just words its the meaning behind which is important and it must also be considered in context. The meaning behind this maybe sexist and a dozen other descrimintation but truth be told it was written in 1679 and these issues we're at their peak! so leave it be, the fairytale is a poetic one and should still serve as a warning to young children about stranger danger(in its original form!)
Image: Galens- Amy as little red riding hood.jpg

-- Amy Lee, July 25, 2006
I am a third year student doing a honours degree in Ireland. An integral part of your course this year is to carry out book reviews and analysis. While doing my research i stumbled upon your Little Red Riding hood story and found it extremely interesting. We have had several discussions about the underlying meaning of fairytales. that they were first aimed at adults and then adapted to suit the needs child. We looked in depth at several books including Alice in Wonderland in which we identified was corrupt with political agendas and not at all suitable for children. And as for Goldielock and The Three Bears- teaching children that it is okay 1.break and enter, 2.break up furniture in the house,3.steal their food and then run away??!! hardly a good example to be setting for children. I found it very interesting to see your view on Little Red Riding Hood, many thanks for the good reading. regards

-- aoif clear, November 14, 2006
Im 13 and I think this was a complete work of comical genius. In todays world where irrational political correctness reigns supreme it is a beckon of hope that at least there are a couple of sane people who are not vunerable to ridiculous ideas of pleasing everybody which is impossible. Apparently politicians have been deprived of hearing the saying "win a few lose a lot".

-- Alexandra Perez, December 27, 2006
this story is such a cover up , the real story was based on this man stalking a little girl then raping her ..

-- cassandra D'alessandro, December 27, 2006
I prefer the short "streetwise" version we told when I was a lad in Brooklyn, some decades ago. Later on, I learned it was really just an earthy extrapolation of a retelling by famed humorist James Thurber dating from the more bashful early 20th century. Here is the "urban" version ending:
"Aha! Little Red Riding Hood!" cried the Wolf, happening upon the girl in the woods. "Now I'm going to take off your little red cape, lift up your little red skirt, pull down your little red panties and boink your little brains out!" [We used less bowdlerized language.]

"Oh no you're not, Mr. Wolf!" the smirking Red Riding Hood replied, slowly pulling a gun out of her basket and pointing it at the wolf. "You're going to eat me - just like it says in the book!"

It's obvious that in our version - as in yours - our heroine definitely "was confident enough in her own budding sexuality"!

-- R F, February 1, 2007
The first written version of the story appeared in France during 1697 as Le petit chaperon rouge from Charles Perrault.

I was just wondering if the 2004 French law banning "ostentatious" religious symbols from public schools - directed against Muslim hijab, but also applicable to "crucifixes, Jewish skullcaps and Sikh turbans" - would mean the Red Riding Hood would have to go in a "PC" tale? It looks rather like Catholic-inspired "hijab" to me.

-- R F, February 1, 2007

I read this LRRH and what I got from it is nothing like what I've read on the comments above. The only person I think understood it was the dude from Eastern Europe. I found the part where LRRH stopped the woodsaxeman is like the process of natural selection stopping dead weight from progressing any farther up the evolutionary chain.

-- Fred Knoll, November 8, 2010
This story is, for me, made ten times funnier by the fact that hardly anyone on the comments page seems to have taken it as satire.

-- Alice Royalt, March 17, 2011
Although Nick Roger has an entirely valid world view on his observation, considering his background, Red Riding Hood is indeed her birth name. As unfortunate as society would be believe her name to be it is certainly beautiful in it's own right.

-- JD Morrow, July 3, 2011
People today are way too obsessed with not offending anyone. If you don't like what you see, don't look at it. Be a mature adult and suck it up. Not being politically correct doesn't mean that you are a bad person or that you are 'picking a fight'. If you can't handle a little difference of opinion, you need to go back to Kindergarten and learn some people skills.

-- Emma Schuren, December 19, 2014
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