Re-membering Red Riding Hood: culturally-situated solidarities between Ireland and Uganda

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Red Riding Hood is a story that has been retold and reimagined more frequently than most. Where the oral tradition often celebrated Red's sexuality and cunning, literary versions transform the tale into one in which a young girl is blamed for her own rape – or, in many feminist versions, where she fights back. Drawing on discussions with writers and feminist activists in Uganda, and on work by Ugandan and Irish writers and scholars, I explore how this troubling and ambiguous story can be used to facilitate communication across difference and culturally situated solidarities. I present a retelling of Red Riding Hood from an Irish perspective, using this as a springboard to explore parallels and disjunctures between Irish and Ugandan storytelling traditions and perspectives on women's rights and sexuality. I explore the potential of using this well-known European story to surface and contest dominant framings of women's rights, and as a contact point to enable dialogue between more peripheral European (Irish) and Ugandan (Kiganda and Soga) cultural traditions, facilitating mutual recognition, while remaining aware of and explicitly surfacing differences between these traditions. Telling and retelling ambiguous stories like Red Riding Hood can create space to consider where we come from and what we desire, and how those desires might be engaged through or might influence relationships of solidarity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-226
JournalFeminist Theory
Issue number2
Early online date24 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

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  • storytelling
  • Solidarity
  • Activism

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