Friday, 20 January 2012

Lisbeth Salander and Feminism

I’ve come across Nick Cohen’s Guardian piece “Stieg Larsson was an extremist, not a feminist” too late to leave a comment, so I’ll leave one here. This is what made me want to make one – Cohen’s closing paragraph:

I do not go to actors for political advice. But when Rooney Mara said that she did not think that Larsson's Salander was a feminist, she was not the empty-headed celebrity she seemed.

Salander is not Erika Berger; she wouldn’t call herself a feminist. She’s not really keen on labelling herself as anything. One of the most important things to understand about Salander is the likelihood that she has a high functioning form of autism. Blomkvist thinks she has Asperger’s. Her way of relating to herself and everyone and everything around her is affected by her psychological make-up. It’s not enough to quote Eva Gabrielsson saying 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" without mentioning the probablity that she also has Asperger’s. It’s key to a reader’s understanding of how Salander thinks and how Larsson drew her as a character.


Strawsonian said...

What makes you think Salander has Asperger's? And why would it be important even if she did have it? I need to see the US film and reread the books, clearly! I thought Salander's importance was political - she represents the freedom of the individual.

Karen Burke said...

I think Salander probably has Asperger's for the same reasons that Blomkvist does - and other reasons besides. Her thought processes explain why she is the way she is emotionally. And the personal is political with her.

Strawsonian said...

I would ask for a reference to where Blomkvist speculates about her, but I think I'm just going to have to re-read the trilogy. I don't have the second and third books yet because I borrowed them from the library first time around.

In the meantime, the Wikipedia page on Salander links to this article on the subject:

Karen Burke said...

Happy reading!