I’m sure that most readers are familiar with, or have at least heard of, the above heroine of the Steig Larsson Millennium trilogy. She seems to have risen to prominence after the recent Hollywood remake of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ film and is now claimed by a lot of women to be a role
model for the modern woman. The purpose of this article is to question this and highlight how this view further deepens inequality against men in modern society.
Let us be clear about what characteristics the character has – she is an anti social, mentally unstable, a-sexual misfit with a deep distrust / dislike of most men. And let us not forget that she is also, most
sickeningly, a rapist.
I am fully aware critics of this view will point to the fact she has reasons for why she has turned out as above but that is the whole point. When a woman performs any heinous crime (such as rape, abuse, murder etc….) she is always able to successfully absolve all blame and responsibility
by claiming a valid reason.
However, a man in the same situation is not allowed this 'luxury' and this is what leads to the inequality this character embodies. As an example imagine, if you will, the roles were reversed in this film and it was the male character taking revenge on her – would people find this acceptable still? Would men be able to claim the male character as a role model as women do with the Lisbeth character now? I think not – he would still be (rightly so) denigrated for taking revenge and it would
be said there is never any reason to perform any such action (which is true).
LET ME BE CLEAR: LIKE ALL RIGHT MINDED PEOPLE I BELIEVE ANY
CRIME SUCH AS RAPE IS DISGUSTING AND SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO ANYONE.
But that is what I am trying to get across: whatever her reasons the female character in the film should not have done it and the fact that she did and it is celebrated shows that violence against men in the media and films is becoming acceptable.
As an example of this attitude (and this is 100% true) I discussed the film with a female colleague. She originally said that it was hard to watch due to the scene where the Lisbeth character is assaulted which made her feel sick and was disgusting.
However, when the subject of Lisbeths revenge came up minutes later she suddenly found this shockingly violent act acceptable and amusing. This in my view perfectly highlights the inequality in attitude between men and women on this subject – either this sort of act is disgusting and sickening or it is not, you can’t start picking and choosing based on subjective individual reasons.
In effect what my colleague was saying was violence of this sort is acceptable as long as it’s by women against men.
I find it most worrying that, despite the above defects, the character is always referenced in positive overall terms in the media and the majority of women find her someone to aspire too because she is “badass”. Mark my words, if a generation of Lisbeth Salanders are allowed to grow up things
will grow steadily worse for men.
Posted by Anthony Humphreys