Finding the Words

My apologies for the spotty posting recently. I can’t give any particularly good excuse, other than my (temporary) mindless minimum wage job. In general, the issue is that I’ve been finding it hard to muster the appropriation indignation for events like the Mark Millar “rape doesn’t matter” incident. My reaction was basically: am I going to get really angry about this, or am I going to just throw up quietly somewhere because this man is an actual, real writer of comics who has more cultural power than I probably ever will? I basically chose the second option. His comments went into the deep recesses of my brain, to join similar incidents whose deeply tonedeaf wrongheadedness have made me nauseous. (I’d give examples, but the specifics have become ether and joined the “background radiation of my life.”)

As for what hasn’t been making me want to find a hole to live in until the world is no longer terrible, I could very easily turn this site into a Pacific Rim fan blog, but I won’t.

Today, in light of my blogger’s block, I will consider the benefits and pitfalls of being able to find the words.

Being able to identify and express harmful aspects of our society by using precise terminology can be extremely empowering. For better or worse, words hold power. Language reinforces and influences culture. This is one of the reasons that, every so often, the internet finds itself in a debate about the real, quantifiable definition of sexual assault. Armed with the specific words to describe an incident, it can be easier to cope with. Being able to say, “that is sexist” or “this is racist” helps to reinforce the idea that inequality not only exists, but marks our everyday lives. We can point it out, say This Specific Thing is Bad.

But language is not always enough. When we lack the discourse and actions required to solve the problems we are able to point out, we remain as powerless as we are without the terminology. It seems that we, culturally speaking, have the vocabulary for identifying racism, but lack the teeth to enforce the punishment that should logically result from saying racist things and holding racist beliefs. We all, at some level (excepting extreme cases), think that racism is a real phenomenon, even if we think it means only Jim Crow or apartheid. Even if the definition is woefully inaccurate or incomplete, we believe at some level that it is real.

By contrast, it is much more common to hear women identifying sexism without ever using the word. Women will say things like, “if men got pregnant, abortion wouldn’t be an issue.” Or, “women have to work twice as hard as men do to get just as far.” But they will rarely say that sexism is the cause of the problems they are identifying. And I think that a lot more women would deny the existence of “sexism” than people of color would deny “racism.” Yet, I would argue that the US’ cultural discourse on gender is (marginally) better than its racial discourse, if only because mainstream media outlets are free to frame gender discussion around upper-class white women.

So is it better to have the terminology, even without the power to enforce it? Or is it better to be able to state the problem without naming it? Do they leave us ultimately in the same position culturally? I don’t have any answers to these questions. But I figured I’d offer these somewhat coherent thoughts to you, O Internet, to consider. Next week, I promise to return to more tangible analysis. Until then, be glad this didn’t turn into “Mako Is Tha Best!!!!!!111 Part Two.”

-Joanna

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On Rage and Invisibility: A Reminder

Invisibility is a tricky subject.

On one hand, those who are truly invisible in our culture tend to be the ones who suffer most. Yet the factors that reinforce this suffering are also, by necessity, invisible. If people never see injustice, they will never realize that it is there. If they never know it is there, they will never do anything about it. And so on. Ad nauseum.

For example, take this ordinary, everyday scene. It demonstrates how tiny aggressions, seemingly meaningless moments, can render you invisible.

After meeting Ming Doyle on Free Comic Book Day and getting a quick sketch of Mohawk Storm from her, I showed off my spoils to someone I know. This someone is male, and was with his male friend. He turns to his male friend. “Is that who draws Saga?” I answer, “No, that’s Fiona Staples.” There is a split-second pause. His friend replies, “No, that’s Fiona Staples.” Then, and only then, does he nod and acknowledge this answer. The friend was deemed more knowledgeable solely because of his maleness. He was not the one who had just stood in line, beaming, to meet a favorite artist. He was not the one who answered first.

Taken on its own, this incident is small. It perhaps seems petty to dwell on it, to force upon it some significance about gender and the geek community. But this incident will never exist on its own. It sits among a wide array of minor offenses, all of which made me feel devalued and underestimated because of my gender: in the 7th grade, during a spat regarding The Return of the King, I was told by a boy in my class that I was wrong because I was a girl. On countless visits to Game Stop, staff speak only to my boyfriend, never to me. The same man from the incident above once offered to lend me some comics, thinking he could get me into some books I’d never heard of (although I had), as I was “suddenly into comics.” Despite the fact that the first time I met him, I was dressed as Delirium from the Sandman.

I remember these incidents, because they reinforce and practically verbalize the cultural messages we receive every day: Girls don’t know anything about Tolkien. Girls don’t play video games. Girls don’t read comics. Again and again and again. These words are intended to make me and my lived experiences invisible. They are intended to force me to devalue myself. Sometimes the microaggressions hurt more than the big ones, the obvious ones. When someone says women should shut up about equality until they’re ready to sign up for the draft, or that women can’t be in leadership roles because of their periods, or the countless other overtly hostile messages we hear every day, it is almost less hurtful. Long ago, I conjured an armor made of eye-rolling and quick-witted replies to defend myself against these attacks. But there is a part of me that still doesn’t know how to deal with the smaller offenses. When a comic store employee ignores me waiting in line so he can talk to some boys about Magic: The Gathering, there will always be a part of me that wonders if it is all in my head. I don’t have the right armor for this situation, and I don’t know the best way to forge it.

When we talk about all the factors, micro and macro, that reinforce cultural notions like racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and myriad other ills, the burden of proof always lies on the victim. Someone will always ask you if this incident you describe is an isolated incident. It never is, but you can also never explain the compounding of all the insults, huge and small, that has shaped your understanding of this incident. It is impossible to describe, because it is the story of living every day, since birth, in an unequal world. When a stranger says “hey beautiful” to me on my way to lunch, it is not that particular man I want to break in half, but all of the men who have ever, since I was a preteen, shouted things at me or stared at me in public.

The same problem arises when you critique media. People inevitably try to argue that it is an isolated incident, that it isn’t that bad because it’s just this one movie or book. It’s just one employee in one comic shop. Or they rely on individual interpretations: oh, well, when I read that book, I pictured this character’s dark skin as meaning a tan white personHe was just giving you a compliment, you should be happy. These tactics are both themselves invisible, and a method for suppressing complaints, rendering justified criticism invisible. The people who make these arguments do not realize that they are enabling oppression, because most of them would deny that oppression exists.

Some people in the US think racism ended with the Civil Rights Act and that feminism became obsolete after Roe V. Wade. To suggest otherwise is to force people to consider their own, personal relationship to inequality. It is difficult to face reality. Sometimes knowing the truth about our world makes me not want to live on this planet anymore. But it is so much healthier than pretending to be too cool for politics, or whatever bullshit helps people avoid seeing what is happening around them. When people bemoan the apathy of others, they are really upset about the forces that keep us and our lived experiences invisible, and that, in turn, keep the forces themselves invisible.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is important. It is always important. The offenses great and small that remind you of your place in the social stratum. They are real. They are worth talking about. Even if they happen on a TV show, or in a classroom, or in a game store. They matter. If it makes you angry, there is always, always a reason why.

Stay strong. Stay angry. ❤

-Joanna

(P.S. I just needed a rant today. Early next week, expect a post about Pacific Rim: part cogent analysis, part gushing compilation of Guillermo del Toro quotes.)

Fangirls/Fanboys

I don’t consider myself a fangirl. I might be ok with someone jokingly referring to me as an Aragorn fangirl, for example, but it’s not a label I identify with at all. Partly, this is because of the stigma associated with the word fangirl. While “fanboy” is certainly used derisively now and again, it is also a word with a sense of pride attached to it. (For example, the name of the comics website iFanboy.) Generally speaking, fanboys are super into geeky things to the point of obsession, while fangirls, on the other hand, are super into geeky men to the point of obsession.

WARNING: The following post contains anecdotal evidence.

I was talking to someone at work about various comics related things. I laughingly told him about how the new Gambit series’ writer has said that Gambit’s sex appeal isn’t going anywhere. Later, when I was trying to refute his friend’s anti-Gambit arguments, I ended with, “and he’s a dreamboat.” (Again, a joke. Not that there’s anything wrong with crushin’ on Gambit, but I don’t really think of Gambit like that. Gambit and I are just friends.)

My co-worker smiled at me, and made the kind of face that usually greets comments like that. A face I’m not sure how to describe. It’s a little smug, a little condescending, and weirdly knowing. He said, “Ok, so you don’t have any real arguments.” (I won’t object to that comment, because I was mostly goofing around by suggesting that Gambit’s sex appeal makes him a better character. However, it does make me wonder what happens in conversations between two men, where one man argues a superheroine is better than another partly based on her superior hotness.)

Last week, this same co-worker was gushing over Catwoman as played by Eartha Kitt and Michelle Pfeiffer. While I didn’t really have anything to add to his comments (Catwoman and I are also just friends), my reaction wasn’t a vaguely condescending laugh and a comment that suggested: oh how silly, you find this person attractive. It’s not that I really think he no longer views me as a comics fan (although some men would), it’s just that my comment was completely blown off. Talking about whether or not Gambit is sexy is not up for discussion.

Is my co-worker a meanie-pants sexist jerk? No. But his reaction to me (even jokingly) referring to a male comics character as attractive is pretty much the reaction I always get from men if I call attention to the dreamboat qualities of male characters.

This wouldn’t be a problem if that’s how men talking about female characters were greeted. But men are always talking about how hot female characters are, without women feeling the need to condescendingly nod at them and act as though it’s sorta funny that a female character might be thought of as attractive. Women put up with a lot of talk about who the hottest female characters are.

The issue with this reaction can be highlighted through the difference between the terms fangirl and fanboy.

Fangirl is often used derisively, to denote that a woman or girl only likes Geeky Thing because of a male character. This is often used to devalue said woman or girl’s genuine appreciation of Geeky Thing.

Take the first Urban Dictionary entry for each word:

Fanboy: A passionate fan of various elements of geek culture (e.g. sci-fi, comics, Star Wars, video games, anime, hobbits, Magic: the Gathering, etc.), but who lets his passion override social graces.

Fangirl: A rabid breed of human female who is obesessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. Fangirls congregate at anime conventions and livejournal. Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obesessions.

While fanboy is sometimes used derisively too, among the geek community it also denotes a source of pride. In this way, a fanboy is the opposite of a fangirl: his obssession, rather than devaluing his appreciation, actually increases it. Being a fanboy proves your stature in the geeky community, while being a fangirl demotes it.

It’s for this reason that often women don’t like sharing in mixed company the male characters they think are dreamboats. Men usually tease us when we do. This reflects a larger societal issue of making light of female desire. Much of the negative hoopla surrounding Magic Mike revolves around society’s disinterest in the female gaze and female sexual agency. It’s ok for men to gawk at female strippers, but women gawking at male strippers is silly and up for laughs. Female sexuality is funny and shameful, unless men are calling the shots.

Dismissing conversation about attractive male characters also partly stems from the homophobia inherent in much of society and geek culture alike. Men, to some degree, don’t want to seem gay by discussing the attributes of a man, while women usually feel less inhibited adding to the reasons why Hot Female Character is attractive. Of course, that also relates to the way that it is normal to fetishize the female body, but not as normal to do so to the male body. Women are also (generally) more comfortable describing a woman’s looks because judging women’s appearances is pretty normal for both sexes.

So what does all this mean? It relates to my previous point about the geek community and society’s values. We can’t pretend like we’re better than normal folk if it means we partake in the same negative behavior as the rest of society. I don’t want men to stop feeling comfortable being attracted to female characters and talking about it. What I do want is for that same privilege to be granted to female geeks. I want women to be able to feel comfortable talking about their fictitious crushes in mixed company. I want gay geeks to be able to discuss their same-sex fictitious crushes without scorn. And I want fangirl to stop being a dirty word.

The geek community, like the rest of society, needs to embrace a more whole vision of human sexuality. And as with fat-shaming and racism, it is up to geeks to lead the way: otherwise all our self-important superiority about being fringe members of society is completely worthless.

-Joanna

Catwoman as Contortionist and Tropes Vs. Women

Today I was all ready to post my thoughts on Prometheus, but I’ve decided to let those stew a bit longer, so instead, here are some interesting links for your perusal.

First, ComicsAlliance posted a compilation of artist responses to the most recent WTF superheroine pose, this one belonging to Catwoman:

This cover definitely makes me wish that I didn’t have a spine. Think of all the cool pictures I could take of my boobs and butt at the same time, if only I didn’t have that pesky spine. Ugh! As if being a woman wasn’t hard enough!

Speaking of life being hard for women, boy am I glad I’ve never had the audacity to make a video explaining my KickStarter project! Because apparently, if someone disagreed with the premise of my project, I’d be setting myself up for rape threats. Yes, this is the world we live in.

Anita Sarkeesian over at Feminist Frequency wants to fund (and, in part due to the vehement harassment, has already succeeded in funding) a series of videos called Tropes Vs. Women: Video Games. Tropes Vs. Women is an existing series that deconstructs gender tropes present in pop culture, i.e. in Legos. This particular series would focus on video games.

Like women the internet over, Sarkeesian is now facing brutal harassment, including misogynistic and racial slurs as well as rape threats, simply because she pointed out an area of pop culture where women don’t exactly fare very well. The mildest of negative reactions from YouTube commenters involve griping that women are not only equal to men now, but are more equal (which is obviously why we get paid less than men– we’re just trying to level the playing field) and that Sarkeesian is trying to guilt regular ol’ gamers into feeling personally responsible for gender-based injustice (which, if you actually watch the video, she clearly isn’t). People are also having a field day pointing out numerous (read: one or two) examples of strong female characters in games, like The Boss, as though Sarkeesian hadn’t said in the video that she would also be discussing games that actually do get women right.

As her mission statement clearly maintains, “This video project will explore, analyze and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in games. The series will highlight the larger reoccurring patterns and conventions used within the gaming industry rather than just focusing on the worst offenders.” That sounds pretty horrifying and insulting, right? I mean, take a look at this outrage yourself:

The fact that this is the internet’s response to a fairly mild suggestion (sometimes video games portray women in ways that are the same as ways women are portrayed in other video games) proves just how important Sarkeesian’s work is. I commend her for fighting the good fight, even after suddenly finding herself the target of enormous backlash and harassment.

The sad thing is that this is hardly an isolated occurrence. Every day, women (feminist or not) and other members of marginalized groups face this kind of internet harassment. I guess life must really be hard for people faced with the thought of losing the firm grip on their privilege, the grip they’ve had since birth. Sorry, male gamers, that women have the audacity to play video games and then analyze them. Life is really, really hard, right?

At least I’m given some hope. Sarkeesian hoped to raise $6000. At the time I’m posting, she’s raised $73,388. Looks like Sarkeesian and her smart, incredibly necessary analysis of pop culture ain’t goin’ anywhere.

So you know what? Fuck you, trolls.

-Joanna

P.S. BatCat’s presence will be a little sparse until August, as she is off empowering girls through art at Girl Scout camp.

A Dash of Pessimistic Encouragement on Sluts Day

Happy International Women’s Day! Or, in other current parlance, Happy Sluts Day!

Don’t you hate that we still have to have a day that celebrates about one half of the population? That the US legislature is seriously having to consider whether women deserve access to basic reproductive healthcare? That women who require this basic reproductive healthcare are sluts? That single mother households ruin lives? (I’m sure the reason why I’m an effed up Feminazi has something to do with being raised by a single mother.)

I wish I had a more uplifting message for this Women’s Day post, but since I live in the US, it feels like nothing good is happening for women right now. For some reason all the crazy that was being held back for years has resurfaced, rendering it impossible to have an intelligent political conversation.

I’m sick of culture wars. I’m sick of having to argue about whether I deserve the same basic rights that the rest of US citizens get. I’m sick of misogynists throwing veils of “Religious freedom!”  and “Why should employers pay for stuff they don’t like?” over their woman-hate. I’m sick of everyone pretending that the current political climate isn’t actually steeped in misogyny. Right now the US is bitter, bitter sexist tea.

It all makes me feel like a 1890s hysteric being tortured with a vibrator.

I guess my message today is that, as frustrated as I am, as exhausted as I am of having to fight for what should be mine, I will not stop. I can’t stop. This is one flaming skull of justice that is not going to stop burning any time soon. Especially not as long as we keep trying to torture women for being born with reproductive organs that aren’t penises.

So, to inspire you to keep fighting the good fight, I’m posting this wonderful suffragette-themed parody of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” (Isn’t it depressing that this is actually relevant?) Despite the amusing “I want to wear pants!” line I actually find this video rather heart-wrenching and inspiring. So, enjoy! And remember to keep laughing or you might just start weeping!

-Joanna

Geeks – 1, Everyone Else – 0

Most of the time, I try not to make my blog entries too personal. But one thing has been bothering me a lot lately, and I think it’s something all women can relate to.

I’m sick of being invisible.

Not in my classes, or at work, or amongst my friends. If you’re even sexist with a little s, you probably aren’t going to be my friend for very long, and I would say my work and school environments are elevated enough to respect women, at least on the surface. The place I find myself invisible is with the friends of my boyfriend’s best friend.

Now, I know that’s an awfully specific place not to exist, and it’s thankfully a place I don’t have to inhabit very often. But when it does happen, it drives me to a fury and confusion that most other interactions don’t cause. These friends are also a kind of microcosm for the rest of society, the non-geek one I rarely delve into anymore.

A little background: My boyfriend and his best friend have been best friends since they were little. They stay best friends, more a ceremonial title these days, mostly because of that fact. They’ve grown apart the last several years, in part because BFFL now spends his time mostly with tools (not the useful kind). He and my boyfriend rarely hang out anymore, especially because my boyfriend doesn’t like BFFL’s friends. (And they do seem like very difficult people to like.)

There are two male friends of his that I think represent the two kinds of men in that social circle: sexist with a little s, and sexist with a big S. The first one, let’s call him Taylor. Taylor seems like a nice enough guy. I haven’t been around him much, but when he is around, he’s never said anything offensive. One way he probably avoids this is by never acknowledging my presence in the room and ignoring every single thing I say. Even when my boyfriend introduced me, he didn’t even look at me, let alone nod vaguely in my direction, or say something normal like, “Nice to meet you.” When I responded to a comment he made about the Guitar Hero controller, it was as if I hadn’t said anything. When he left, he said goodbye only to my boyfriend, not to me. Taylor is what I classify as sexist with a little s. While every word out of his mouth wasn’t “bitch” or “slut,” he clearly doesn’t value anything a woman has to say.

The other friend is a far more open sexist. He’s a misogynist with a big fat M written in red marker. My first encounter with this friend, let’s call him Matt, was when BFFL brought him over for some pre-gaming before they went out to the bar. (The image of what kind of social circle this is should become ever-clearer. It’s the kind of social circle where guys wear Tapout shirts.) We were watching some werewolf B-movie that featured a female scientist. Literally every time Matt meant to say something like “woman,” “girl,” or “female human being,” he said “bitch” instead. For example, after being attacked by a werewolf, that scientist was now going to become “some crazy bitch-monster.” That same scientist was also “the only bitch in the movie.” You get the idea. That was the most personally infuriating and degrading 2 hours of my life. But I, a coward, didn’t actually say anything to shut him up, and instead glared mercilessly because I didn’t want to make things awkward. (I have since realized that this is stupid; I should never let someone continue to make me feel like less of a person in order to avoid “awkwardness.”)

I have thought about that evening often, even though it was months ago. So, when BFFL brought Matt around last week, I was pretty upset the second he walked into the room. But I was ready for a rematch. Things were going ok until a hilarious story was told about how when his Skyrim wife said she’d make that food tomorrow, he killed her. Then, when I was talking about how I just died (I was playing Skyrim at the time) because one of my attackers went behind me, Matt thought it was hilarious to tell me that I was raped. By the time BFFL was telling a woman in a fictional conversation, “listen, bitch,” and Matt was advising him to “slap that bitch,” I exploded in rage and my boyfriend told Matt to get out. Once Matt left, my boyfriend explained to BFFL that he shouldn’t ever bring  Matt around again, especially if I’m there.

I may have won the rematch, but it was a small victory: not only does Matt not actually realize what the problem was, but there are plenty of other Matts in the world that I will never get revenge on. These Matts will keep hating women, because their little culture condones it. I didn’t even win a battle, I won a skirmish. A skirmish that, ultimately, means nothing.

In this kind of social circle, when you’re someone’s girlfriend, it seems that, by having totally removed yourself from the “fuckable” category, you become a nonentity. Nothing you say or think matters. And it definitely doesn’t matter if you don’t want to be the only “bitch” in the room.

I’m not used to being around the Matts and Taylors of the world. I’m not used to being The Girlfriend, which is just code for Untouchable. While geekdom obviously has its gender-related problems, it’s still more welcoming than some other societies. In face-to-face dealings with geeks of any gender, I’ve never been completely ignored or insulted in these ways. I’ve seen some things on the Internet that compare or are worse, but never in actual life. I also can’t remember a time among geeks where people spoke to my boyfriend instead of to me. It makes me glad I’ve always chosen the friends that I have. It means I never ended up surrounded by people like Matt and Taylor, people who see a woman as insignificant as a human being once she enters into a relationship with someone else.

Perhaps I am wrong to be congratulating geeks. Perhaps the sexist subtext of much of geekdom is worse than overt misogyny. Perhaps it is simply my experiences with the people I’ve met in my life. I don’t know. But, for me, it feels better to be around people polite enough to at least pretend they think you’re a person, rather than people who just don’t fucking care.

-Joanna

Men Who Hate Women

With the upcoming release of the American adaptation of ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’, I felt like it was an appropriate time to give a shout-out to the original three Swedish movies and discuss my feelings about the novels and the new American movie. MAJOR SPOILERS!

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo:

First of all, let me point out that Swedish movie Lisbeth’s tattoo is a giant dragon ripping out of her skin. Not some Japanese ‘I flipped through a book and this is what I got’ tattoo.

Secondly, instead of the pornographic description of Lisbeth’s rape like we read in the novels, the rape scene is so horrifying that unless you were also a rapist I see not way of getting off. Lisbeth’s screams still ring in my ears as I write about it.

Thirdly, Blomkvist (who is the main character of this first book/movie) is not a hunk who sleeps with everyone. Sure, he may have a little something going on with his boss- but its not important. In the books they are involved in a very long affair which broke up his marriage and where she gets permission from her husband. Who cares? I really don’t. It is not an element that is important to the plot or the mystery at all. In the movies Blomkvist isn’t obviously attractive like, say, James Bond, but instead he is kind and charming. Which is what attracts Lisbeth to him.

Which brings me to this next related point: Lisbeth does indeed fall in love with Blomkvist. But not in the way she does in the novels. In the novels she falls madly for him, then is heart broken when she sees him with his boss/mistress (therefore boob job?). In the movie she falls in love with him, but leaves him anyway- for the betterment of both of them.

In the first movie the main focus is really on the task at hand: the mystery to figure out what happened to Harriet. It is sort of like a really long, awesome episode of Law and Order SVU, with Lisbeth as Stabler (because she is a little violent and mentally unsound- posterchild for Asberger’s Syndrome) and Blomkvist as Olivia (because he is the compassionate one capable of talking to people).

GWPWF

The Girl Who Played With Fire:

This is really all about Lisbeth. When she was 12, she got sick of her father abusing her mother and treating her like a whore- so she ran out to his car, poured gasoline on him, and lit a match. In GWPWF we discover that her father is actually still alive and a former Russian spy. After the attempt on his life, he had Lisbeth sent to a psych ward where she was tied up for 381 days and raped. Which unlike the books it’s just alluded to- not shown.

The biggest difference between the books and the Swedish movie is Lisbeth’s boob job. In the books, she gets a boob job to empower her because she is unhappy with her no-cup.

Exactly.

No.

In the movie she doesn’t get a boob job. But she still gets shot four times, buried alive, crawls out, lands two injurious blows with an axe to her father, and shoots her monster half-brother. Like a boss.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

This movie is a direct continuation of the last, picking up with Lisbeth and her father in the hospital. This film is a long, drawn-out conclusion that ties up all of the loose ends.

Most notably, it ends with Lisbeth’s trial. Throughout the proceedings her doctor from childhood is present who claims that everything Lisbeth says to have gone through is just a result of paranoia. Eventually, Lisbeth’s lawyer is able to find evidence that Lisbeth was tied to a bed for over a year. But that wasn’t enough- Lisbeth’s claims about her guardian (the one who raped her) were just totally untrue. So, they show him the tape.

One of the things that I think was most interesting was Lisbeth’s clothing. Sure, she’s this Euro Goth-Punk most of the time, but she known when it is, and when it isn’t appropriate to be dressed in full platformed-regalia. Thank God! Thank the stars someone realized that it isn’t practical to wear heels or shit all the time! Although you can apparently wear whatever you want in Swedish prison (and you also get a dorm room with a desk) Lisbeth saves her gothy trappings for the courtroom. It is in this movie, in court, where we see her dressed like a warrior. By realizing the difference between Lisbeth’s choices of dress, the pattern is obvious that she dresses in spikes and chains for protection (which didn’t work too well with her guardian actually).

In the end, Lisbeth goes  free and finally has a chance at a real life.

Overall, I feel that the books are pseudo-feminist and use this to disguise their misogyny. Let me ask this: Why did the adapters of the Swedish movies eliminate all of the problematic areas of the novels and actually turn Lisbeth into a strong female character? Let me rephrase: Why didn’t the editors who published the books? At what point do we see this as limiting our ‘creativity’? Honestly I wish the books’ editors had done what the later films achieved. Not only because it would be great for everyone, but also because then I wouldn’t have to preface every conversation I have about the series with- “I only like the Swedish movies”. If the editors had edited, I wouldn’t be forced to sound snooty 🙂

Perhaps my biggest concern with the new film is this: that they will actually make it like the books. This seems likely since they chose Daniel Craig to play Blomkvist and since America is boob-obsessed. From the trailers you cannot really glean much. But there one line in particular that bothers me. “Would you like to help me catch a killer of women?” See? This is about women and feminism and all that right? Wrong. The Swedish movies achieved feminism without having to make it so in-your-face.

Although I know that having to read for 2.5 hours isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But seriously, if you want a to watch a kickass movie watch the Swedish Millennium Saga.

Note: The first movie is not as action-packed as the last two. There is a lot of talking.

-BatCat