Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stieg Larsson's Male Gaze

Just watched "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." Enjoyed it a moderate amount, the suspense etc., but it bothered me and I talked to some friends after I left the theater and I know why. It's a misogynistic movie.

It purports to be anti-misogyny. The plot of the film follows the titular character, Lisbeth, and (paraphrased) "the last bastion of Swedish watchdog journalism," Mikael, as they hunt down a twisted killer who uses biblical passages as prescriptions for murdering women (which could be read slant-long as commentary on the deep misogyny present in the bible).

Lisbeth, although deeply disturbed by her past and certain terrible circumstances of her present, is utterly self-sufficient and well adjusted for her own brand of survival. She is portrayed as a rather hard core (tattooed, pierced, ass-kicking) lesbian toward the start--when Mikael comes to ask her to help with the case, she has a woman in her bed.

However, to Larsson's mind, Lisbeth's self-expression and sexual persuasion are merely symptoms of a quite understandable aversion to men. Once the virtuous journalist spends some time with her, Lisbeth suddenly decides she likes dick. By the time the movie is over, she has ditched her jeans and sneakers and black punk rock hairdo for come-fuck-me heels and flossy golden locks. This is, to be fair, part of a disguise. Still. From an untouchable, impenetrable (for men) mystery, Lisbeth is transformed into a fantastic creature balancing those two deadly archetypes of femininity: the angel (saves his life, golden hair, beautiful and vulnerable) and the devil (sexy, kicks ass, gets what she wants)

This isn't even to mention the very detailed scenes and descriptions involving rape and murder of women (which heavily emphasize the intense enjoyment of the perpetrators). I'm not one for censorship, and I'm not trying to settle the debate of what needs to be or should be portrayed in order to get x effect and whether such means is ethical/worth it, but taken with Lisbeth's quite unnecessary transformation, well, let's just say I raise an eyebrow.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I wrote about them. For xTx's Zombie Summer. Go and read some of the other entries, they're much better than mine. My favorite was Tres Crow's "Stillborn" (it's at the bottom of the first page of results.)
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