Stieg Larsson and women’s liberation


When Rooney Mara, star of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, suggested that Lisbeth Salander was not a feminist, Stieg Larsson’s partner knew how to put her down. “Does she know what film she has been in?” asked Eva Gabrielsson, who shared much of Larsson’s life until his death in 2004. “Has she read the books? Has she not had any coaching?”

In case you were in any doubt, the questions were rhetorical. To Gabrielsson, Mara was another ignorant Hollywood star. If she had taken the trouble to understand The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo before playing its goth heroine, she would have realised that Salander’s “entire being represents a resistance, an active resistance to the mechanisms that mean women don’t advance in this world and in worst-case scenarios are abused like she was”.

Her repetition of “resistance” flagged that Gabrielsson, like Larsson, had done time on the European far left. Their backgrounds only emphasised the extraordinary and apparently admirable success of the Millennium trilogy.
Carry on reading

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