Monday, April 18, 2011

The Red Riding Hood Reality Project - Why We're Doing It

On page 56 of Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright, the following quote appears: “Valerie bit into the biggest chicken leg, her second. Prudence enviously measured Valerie’s tiny waist with her two hands, her fingers touching.” 


Because the book was (very strangely) written at the same time as the movie was being made (the author being on set every day) we can use the film as a reference point to supplement what is being described in the book itself. This includes what the characters look like and what they are wearing.

In the movie, Valerie is played by Amanda Seyfried. Although she is not a large girl, she is not particularly skinny (several websites claim that she has a 23” waist, but others claim 26”…there are also several heights listed for her, so we don’t have any concrete measurement). She is also not wearing any type of corset. The bodice on the dress she wears throughout does not appear to be boned, nor does it seem to cinch her waist in any way. 

There has been an example of this being possible; America’s Next Top Model contestant Ann Ward, who has an 18 inch waist. Ann is 6’2” and weighs 98 pounds. Her extremely irregular size sparked controversy among the shows fans, most wondering if she was anorexic. Even if Ann’s waist is completely natural, she is not something you see every day, and she does not look anything like Amanda Seyfried. 

In the Victorian Era, a waist cinched tightly enough for a man to put his hands around was the ultimate goal in fashion. The only way to achieve this, however, was to be wearing a very tightly laced Victorian style corset. These corsets gave the “wasp-waist” effect, meaning that the waist was made to be as small as possible, while the bosom was lifted and any fat, etc. from the waist area was pushed downwards. HOWEVER. Red Riding Hood does not take place in the Victorian Era (or any discernable era, really) and Valerie is not wearing this type (or any type) of corset. 

This is also not to mention that Valerie has just consumed two rather large chicken legs. Everyone knows that eating quite a bit will cause your stomach/waist area to expand.

There is also the fact that it is a girl fitting her hands around our heroine’s waist. Of course, there are probably some women out there with rather large hands, but Prudence is not one of them.  She is played by Kacey Rohl in the movie. Rohl appears to be about the same size as Seyfried, with proportionately sized hands. If the feat of encircling ones hands around another's waist is to be accomplished, it would most likely have to be done by a man. 

In order to make sure that this is correct, my roommate Nicole (WORD for Teens) and I are going to conduct an experiment involving multiple people's waist, hands, and corsets. More to come soon!

Click HERE to read Nicole's review of Red Riding Hood

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