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Cuadernos de Investigación UNED

On-line version ISSN 1659-4266Print version ISSN 1659-4266


BARRIENTOS, Karina; MONGE-NAJERA, Julián; BARRIENTOS, Zaidett  and  LUTZ, María Isabel González. Role of gender, professional level, and geographic location of artists on how they represent a story: the case of Little Red Riding Hood. Cuadernos de Investigación UNED [online]. 2017, vol.9, n.2, pp.209-217. ISSN 1659-4266.

Little Red Riding Hood is a widely known classic story and its text has been abundantly analyzed, but no detailed statistical studies have been published about how it has been illustrated. We analyzed 554 images from the public artists’ site DeviantArt (January, 2015); classified them according to how the wolf, Little Red, and the environment were represented by the artists; and applied non-parametrical statistical tests to check several hypotheses. When compared with professionals, amateur artists tended to present a more neutral environment, and to humanize the wolf. Female artists were more likely to represent the wolf as a dressed man. Men were more likely to set the story outside of forests, to eroticize Red and to show her confused, scared or uninterested when first meeting the wolf. The neutral attitude of amateurs towards nature suggests indecision, while professional artists seem more used to produce family-friendly images. The female tendency to present the wolf as a man forces them to dress him and may reflect a stronger awareness about the moral of the story, meant to warn young women about men’s sexuality. Men deviate more from the forest setting because they feel safer in new environments, and also appear to see Red as a sexually attractive partner and the wolf as a competitor. Artists tended to show no sexual intent between the characters, but those who did were mostly amateurs. The global similarity in art about Little Red Riding Hood indicates that all modern audiences are familiar with the standard representation of the story in books, films and television. This article presents a rigorous quantitative approach to the study of art that can be applied to many other stories and subjects.

Keywords : artistic interpretation; cultural differences; effect of gender on art; fairy tale representation.

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