Children, Cover Your Eyes
Ch. 16: “It’s All About Sex…
Twenty-first century America seems to advertise eroticism excessively. As opposed to inhibiting such inappropriateness from entering the mind’s of innocent, young girls and boys, popular culture constantly presents scandal through film, novels, and music. I’ve even realized that as time goes on, younger and younger generations are beginning to learn of the sexual implications in many stories. The age in which women wore long dresses and eroticism was shamed has disappeared, and in its place stands a sex-crazed society.
I’m well aware that some of the most well-known fairy tales today were written years ago. However, what I just noticed as objects in some tales, others are beginning to recognize as sexual implications. For instance, in Cinderella, I always thought of the famous glass slipper as a romantic representation of Cinderella and Prince Charming’s happy ending and eternal love. Now, it has recently been stated to symbolize Cinderella’s virginity. While the assumption is shocking, it does have some logic, considering that both the glass slipper and the idea of virginity are delicate things that should only go to the right person.
Similarly, after being told the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, my only thought afterwards was “Okay…so any interaction with strangers is out of the question.” A recent film adaptation of the tale, Into the Woods, however, portrays the wolf as an older figure that lusts after the youthful Little Red. It is rather implicative and hints at some eroticism. After seeing such a different depiction of the wolf than I had always envisioned, I dug deeper into the tale and discovered that in older versions, the wolf is sex-crazed and strips Little Red of her virginity. Her cape is also a sexual innuendo because the red color reveals passion, scandal, and femininity.
I whole heartedly support Foster’s claim that erotic insinuations can “sometimes be more intense than literal depictions (149).” While stories, such as Fifty Shades of Grey, that actually mention certain things are more direct, they don’t leave any room for the reader to interpret what happens next. Implications leave me with a sense of mystery that drives me to continue reading.
“The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson enhances Foster’s statement of sexual symbolism in regards to fertility. Dr. H.H. Holmes was a 19th century serial killer that acted by luring women, marrying them, impregnating them, and then slaughtering them. Dr. H.H. Holmes seemed to me to have an infatuation with sexual relations and reproduction, which can be seen with the many women he impregnated prior to murdering.
This chapter has given me an entire new awareness on how authors carefully place erotic implications in their novels. However, just because I perceive something to be an implication, it doesn’t mean that it is one. I could be making inferences on so many books that authors have just arbitrarily inserted things into, no eroticism intended. Whatever the case may be, such implications (whether in old fairy tales or 21st century novels) will always remain a part of literature. The following link provides insight on the deeper meanings of several fairytales, I’m sure we all thought were entirely innocent.