Seeing Red: Analyzing “RedRidingHood” and “Redshift and Portalmetal”

“RedRidingHood”

Not today, Señor Wolf!

I bought this print years ago. When I was a child, I was always angry that Red Riding Hood was defenseless. But not here. I have just seen talk on the Internet that the magazines are not apt for an AK-47. I don’t know a thing about weapons, so I will leave that up to the experts. Some people may be shocked, arming a child? What kind of monster is she? Relax, everyone. It is a metaphor. I’m railing against the notion of vulnerable people being preyed upon without any means to help themselves against a known menace, like this wolf. See, my opinion is that this particular Wolf in the story has been a problem for a long time and Red just came prepared. Disclaimer: I’m not advocating for everyone to point and shoot. We continue to see how disastrous and unbelievably painful that has been in our society.

In RedRidingHood, an interactive fiction piece, I re-saw Red through a different, feminist lens. Red is not a hapless victim even though at the end, a gun is being pointed at her by the boy-man, skater wolf. Or is that just a poppy-induced dream? After she sees him in the cottage, he does not appear to be like Grandma– he looks like himself, just with a duvet tucked up under his chin. Red has discerned this already. But then in a quick moment, she reclines on the bed and pretends to sleep, but she really has one eye open when wolf-boy-man points a gun at her head. Red seems to have other plans not involving her demise. But what exactly are they? I am curious to know.

I think that Red always knew the wolf-boy-man. He is going to get his comeuppance. When she walks the path to Grandma’s house, she sees him in her peripheral vision with disdain and keeps walking. This fast-walking, bleached-blonde, pants-wearing Red does not have time for his ridiculous skater self. She knows his misdeeds. By the withering glance she gives him, I get a sense that he has done her wrong in some way and that she has become a fighter because of it. He is much bigger than her and on a scooter, yet she evades him in her purposeful, stomping walk. She has plans for him…but later.

The most fascinating part of this piece is the field of poppies. Why is she picking a bunch of poppies for Grandma? There are lots of poppies. Is what we see all just an opium-induced hallucination? Is it an alternate reality of Red’s streetwise self? I wish we knew exactly what happens at the end. It is a dark re-telling of a fairy-tale.

Something in me tells me that Red will not end up shot. I do not exactly know why this is my intuition. I feel she has some very dastardly (but deserved) plans for the wolf. However, the story ends abruptly. Is my intuition right or does she really die? She isn’t really sleeping, but seems to be plotting. I do not think that she’d allow herself to be a sacrificial lamb, if she could help it. Her clothes are really baggy and something seems to be moving inside of them. Is she hiding a weapon to turn the tables? I think that she is.

“RedShift and Portalmetal”

Roja

Roja is in trouble and in constant conflict. This image of her navigating herself amongst the sheets of rock gave me a sense of the inner reserves of her power. I don’t think she knows how capable and adaptable she is yet. She is just so graceful and strong. Her raw power explodes across the screen. I admire it so much.

There is no doubt that the poisonous gases of the planet affect Roja negatively. Things are at a near impossible crux and her life hangs in the balance, which is encapsulated by her moving image above. I feel awful that Roja has always had to live a life on the run. But why is this? I understand the environmental push of her having to leave. That is absolutely clear. But does she also leave as a way of evading something internal, as her girlfriend Cora seems to suggest? I think something of that nature has to be in effect.

This piece of hyperlinked fiction was beautiful, but in an heavy and aching way. I loved the shifting red hues of earth, even though they were noxious. The ocean sounds were soothing, even though Roja was in crisis. Paradoxes are powerful.

One thing that really bothered me was this: why didn’t Roja have an adequate supply of hormones? Given the decaying nature of the planet, shouldn’t she have seen to it that she always had these necessities? Maybe there was a shortage in the market? If that is the case, then I understand. But if Roja was negligent, that’s another matter.

In this piece, we see that Roja, as disjointed as her thoughts and as contradictory her behavior was, always wanted to feel at home. It is something that for which she aches; however, she is always being pitted against serious challenges. I don’t have personal or even direct anecdotal experience of this, but that is something that trans women and men must feel before they fully gain their bearings and transition completely. They must still feel discriminated against even after this occurs. Of course they must feel this way; our society isn’t completely accepting. I wouldn’t wish an onslaught of hate on anyone.

When I read the Free Grassy Net piece that was linked at the end of the piece, I gained some perspective into Roja. The introduction said that Roja was a Native woman of color. Native Canadian women being exposed to high levels of mercury, a deadly metal? That is extremely scary and reprehensible. I am glad to hear that there are resistance groups and that a disability fund has been established, yet how far will those funds go?