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Hyper-Masculinity: Sheep in wolf's clothing

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Hyper-Masculinity: Sheep in wolf's clothing

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This presentation will explore gender issues, Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Cap, and other interpretations of the tale to show how young boys are problematically taught to be hyper-masculine and wolf-like.
These themes and fairy tales are explored symbolically and metaphorically through a drawing. The drawing represents the resulting pressure young boys may face trying to meet narrow societal expectations about masculinity.

This presentation will explore gender issues, Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Cap, and other interpretations of the tale to show how young boys are problematically taught to be hyper-masculine and wolf-like.
These themes and fairy tales are explored symbolically and metaphorically through a drawing. The drawing represents the resulting pressure young boys may face trying to meet narrow societal expectations about masculinity.

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Hyper-Masculinity: Sheep in wolf's clothing

  1. 1. BE A MAN, BE A WOLF. Ella Polo
  2. 2. A SHEEP IN WOLF’S CLOTHING ▪ This presentation will explore gender issues, Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Cap, and other interpretations of the tale to show how young boys are problematically taught to be hyper- masculine and wolf-like. ▪ This drawing symbolically represents the resulting pressure young boys may face trying to meet narrow societal expectations about masculinity.
  3. 3. SEX VS. GENDER ▪ Sex is a biological term ▪ Determined by X and Y chromosomes ▪ Gender is a social construct ▪ The concepts of masculinity and femininity are developed by society Photo 1
  4. 4. GENDER BINARY VS. SPECTRUM ▪ Gender was previously believed to be binary- only masculine or feminine ▪ Fosters false idea that there is only one way to ‘be a man’ ▪ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= hc45-ptHMxo ( watch until 0:20) ▪ Growing acceptance of LGBT+ community has led to belief that gender is more of a spectrum Photo 2
  5. 5. GREYSCALE = GENDER SPECTRUM ▪ I chose to make my drawing in a greyscale to symbolize the gender spectrum. ▪ Rather than a simple black and white issue, gender identity and expression can have many shades. Photo 3
  6. 6. FAIRY TALE’S ROLE IN CONSTRUCTING GENDER ▪ “Fairy tales are the primary information of the culture. They delineate the roles, interactions and values which are available to us…. Despite ourselves, sometimes unknowingly, sometimes knowing, unwilling, unable to do otherwise, we act out the roles we were taught.” – Angela Dworkin ▪ Fairy tales serve as models to teach boys what it means to be a man. ▪ In class, we have discussed how Little Red Riding Hood depicts femininity, but the tale also depicts masculinity- a wolf like masculinity.
  7. 7. PERRAULT'S LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD & MASCULINITY ▪ “Little Red Riding Hood, hearing the big voice of the wolf, was at first afraid… The wolf cried out to her, softening his voice as much as he could” ▪ Here the male characteristic of having a deep voice is linked to danger and fear. When the wolf lowers his voice, he mimics a woman and become less scary. ▪ The viciousness of the wolf is associated with his maleness in this scenario, teaching boys that viciousness and maleness are one in the same.
  8. 8. PERRAULT'S LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD & MASCULINITY CONTINUED▪ “Moral: … I say "wolf," but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all.” ▪ Here Perrault directly conflates wolves and men. ▪ Perrault’s moral lesson is meant to teach girls to avoid predators, but it inversely may teach young boys to become predators.
  9. 9. GRIMM’S LITTLE RED CAP & MASCULINITY The Wolf: “…. began to cut open the wolf's belly. After a few cuts he saw the red cap shining through, and after a few more cuts the girl jumped out, crying, ‘Oh, I was so frightened! It was so dark inside the wolf's body!’” “she filled the wolf's body with them[large stones], and when he woke up and tried to run away, the stones were so heavy that he immediately fell down dead.” ▪ The wolf attempts to fill a woman’s role of carrying life and is killed for it. ▪ Stones in stomach as symbol of infertility. ▪ Mirrors the negative reinforcement that society often uses to uphold its construction of masculinity.
  10. 10. GRIMM’S LITTLE RED CAP & MASCULINITY CONTINUED The Huntsman: "He was about to aim his rifle,” “took a pair of scissors and began to cut open the wolf's belly,” and “skinned the wolf.” ▪ While the Huntsman may not be a wolf, he is still violent and male. ▪ As a hero of the story, the Grimm’s Huntsman may encourage boys to mirror his violence first approach.
  11. 11. THE POWER OF REWORKING FAIRY TALES ▪ “Folk and fairy tales remain an essential force in our cultural heritage, but they are not static literary models to be internalized for therapeutic consumption. Their value depends on how we actively produce and receive them in forms of social interaction, which leads toward the creation of greater individual autonomy. Only by grasping and changing the forms of social interaction and work shall we be able to make full use of the utopian and fantastic projections of folk and fairy tales.” – Zipes ▪ Reworking fairy tales gives authors and artists the ability to present new gender roles for boys to look up to. ▪ Unfortunately, most reinterpretations of LRRH focus on giving girls new roles and opt to leave male characters as hyper-masculine, wolf-like figures.
  12. 12. REWRITINGS & MASCULINITY- WOLFLAND Wolfland by Tanith Lee- Madame Anna: “… a weird apparition of improbably glamour.” Madame Anna’s husband: “It was more a roar than a call, as if a great beast came trampling into the château. He was a big man, dark, all darkness, his features hidden in a black beard, black hair- more in a sort of swirling miasmic cloud, a kind of psychic smoke: Anna’s hatred and fear.” ▪ Though women are the wolf characters in the tale, the husband the one both demonized and dehumanized in his description. ▪ Lee’s rewrite progresses women’s roles beyond that of victim with Madame Anna but leave men’s as that of aggressor with her husband.
  13. 13. REWRITINGS & MASCULINITY- THE COMPANY OF WOLVES The Company of Wolves by Angela Carter – Introducing wolves: ▪ “The wolf is carnivore incarnate.” ▪ “... Wolves have ways of arriving at your own hearthside.” ▪ “no wolf at all lay in front of the hunter but the bloody trunk of a man…” ▪ “I wish I were a wolf again, to teach this whore a lesson!” ▪ Wolf and man are again linked (werewolves) ▪ Man is associated with violence again, more problematically domestic violence.
  14. 14. REWRITINGS & MASCULINITY- THE COMPANY OF WOLVES The Company of Wolves by Angela Carter – LRRH tale- “Carnivore incarnate, only immaculate flesh appeases him.” ▪ Here the wolf and man is associated with sexual conquest. ▪ Joe Ehrmann, coach & former NFL player, explains that he once mistakenly believed sexual conquest was part of “being a man.” “Sweet and sound she sleeps in granny’s bed, between the paws of the tender wolf.” ▪ This rewrite begins to show that man can be more than just ”carnivore incarnate.” ▪ Still problematic because the woman, “immaculate flesh,” is the only thing that tames the man.
  15. 15. WOMEN WANT WOLVES ▪ “Masculinity is not organic, its reactive…we put boys on that trajectory…” – Dr. Caroline Heldman ▪ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48NthNJLsAA ▪ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_K5b-JNc7E ▪ Both songs’ interpretations of LRRH reflect men’s desire to please women and men’s conflation of being “bad” with being desirable to women .
  16. 16. WOMEN WANTING WOLVES ▪ To reflect the way women reinforce problematic the relationship between masculinity and wolves, I have included a bow in the drawing. ▪ The bow holds the sheep’s disguise in place in the way the women encourage men to disguise any aspects of personality that may not fit within our culture’s narrow view of masculinity.
  17. 17. THE NEED TO REWORK THE BIG BAD WOLF MALE PERSONA▪ Wolf personality type does not promote healthy behavior: ▪ Less than 50% of men with mental health challenges seek help. ▪ Everyday 3 or more boys commits suicide in the United States. ▪ Fairy tales are not the only place we see the persona; hyper- masculinity is embedded in our culture. ▪ https://youtu.be/6fh_ZPc29ks (watch until 1:30)
  18. 18. MY REWORKING OF LRRH WOLF: THE SHEEP ▪ The sheep represents boys, men, or anyone who has felt the pressure or a need to disguise themselves to fit in the boxes of a gender binary. ▪ I chose a sheep because of its gentle, more effeminate nature. ▪ Boy’s are often taught that masculinity is the rejection of the feminine. ▪ Ex: ’Don’t be a pussy’ or ‘Don’t be a sissy’ ▪ The sheep hides himself behind the wolf skin because he does not want to appear weak, much like boys hide themselves behind a mask of hyper-masculinity to not appear feminine.
  19. 19. MY REWORKING OF LRRH WOLF: THE WOLF ▪ The wolf skin represents the image of masculinity that society constructs. ▪ It is a skin because it is the image is hollow, it lacks real substance because it is a construction. ▪ The skin is covering the sheep, disguising the sheep’s true nature.
  20. 20. WORK CITED ▪ "Andrea Dworkin, The Fairy Tales, 1974." Andrea Dworkin, The Fairy Tales, 1974. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http://www.yorku.ca/caitlin/4920/Andrea_Dworkin.htm>. ▪ Blackwell, Ron. Li'l Red Riding Hood. Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. MGM, 1966. CD. ▪ Carter, Angela. "The Company of Wolves." The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories. New York: Penguin, 2011. 110-18. Print. ▪ The Mask You Live In. Dir. Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Perf. Joe Herman and Caroline Heldman. 2015. DVD. ▪ The Sham-Ettes - (Hey There) Big Bad Wolf. youtube.com . N.p., 28 Oct. 2009. Web. 21 Mar. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48NthNJLsAA>. ▪ Tatar, Maria. "Little Red Riding Hood." The Classic Fairy Tales: Texts, Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton, 2017. 3- 25. Print. ▪ Zipes, Jack. "On the Use and Abuse of Folk and Fairy Tales With Children." Breaking the Magic ▪ Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales. Lexington, KY: U of Kentucky, n.d. 179-206. Print.
  21. 21. IMAGES: ▪ Photo 1- N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. <https://s-media-cache- ak0.pinimg.com/originals/e6/a7/06/e6a706806a884ba1ef570cad555a9945.jpg>. ▪ Photo 2- "Our Gender Issue Prompted Many Comments. Here We Respond." National Geographic. National Geographic, 07 Apr. 2017. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. <http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/01/gender-issue-reader- comments-faq/>. ▪ Photo 3- "Value Scale Assignment." ART 1201C. N.p., 03 June 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. <http://art1201c.tumblr.com/post/52032813302/value-scale-assignment>.

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