Feminism and Big-Business Hate in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Warning: I will spoil the book discussing the feminist and corporate issues in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and that would affect the movie as well.

Having just completed Stieg Larsson’s book,  a couple of resounding points reveal a few deeper points about the author’s own personal philosophy. Feel free to research the characters and plot if you have no qualms about spoiling the story.

If you look beyond the obvious grrl-power feminism, there is an underlying hatred that motivates many of the characters.

Lisabeth is driven by man-hate; she is subjected to rape, has lived the life of a loner wierdo, and has no self esteem. The novel ends with her own self rejection when she sees Mikael with an old fling. She defaults to not trusting anyone. In conversations with men she prefers to be quiet, submit, and try to exact revenge at a later time.

The antagonists, Martin and Gottfried Vanger, fuel their sexual fetishes with torturing and sexually tormenting innocent young women. The author paints a picture of them hating women.

Lisabeths guardian Nils Bjurman uses his position as a social worker to rape and dominate, referring to her as “a hard-nosed bitch who is fucking retarded”. When Lisabeth exacts revenge she tattoos his chest with “I AM A SADISTIC PIG, A PERVERT, AND A RAPIST”

There are other examples, but the protagonist himself is an even more interesting case.

Mikael Blomkvist is portrayed with no direct hate but admits that his entire career is motivated by indirect hatred of big business. In the seminal moment of the novel, after Blomkvist’s scheme to exact revenge on Armani-wearing Wennerstrom is successful, Blomkvist elaborates on his ultimate motive:

“You have to distinguish between two things- the Swedish economy and the Swedish stock market. The Swedish economy is the sum of all the goods and services that are produced in this country every day. There are telephones from Ericsson, cars from Volvo, chickens from Scan, and shipments from Kiruna to Skovde. That’s the Swedish economy, and its just as strong or weak today as it was a week ago.

The stock exchange is something very different. There is no economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions, more or less. It doesn’t have a thing to do with reality or with the Swedish economy.”

When prompted by an interviewer, Blomkvist delivers the media’s responsibility in what is the most revealing and critical statement in the book:

“Oh yes, the media do have an enormous responsibility. For at least twenty years many financial reporters have refrained from scrutinising Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. On the contrary, they have actually helped to build up his prestige by publishing brainless, idolatrous portraits. If they had been doing their work properly, we would not find ourselves in this situation today.”

And here is revealed the seminal philosophies that most likely drive drove Stieg Larsson. The antagonists in the book are men who dominate women and big businessmen. Hmmm. Particular choice of characters- any coincidence?

Larsson is another blue pill beta pawn  in the matrix who vents his frustration on the typical culprits: evil bad alphas who don’t actually produce anything. He fails to acknowledge that neither does his protagonist! Blomkvist hardly produces anything unique: a magazine that digs up dirt on the speculators of the world? Please. The world would be better off without big business AND journalists that perpetuate the media. Looking at his position from the opposite angle, the media exists just to self-flagellate because they are not raking in the corrupt fortunes. Media will perpetually nip at the heels of the stock market. It’s a love-hate coexistence.

But this is about capitalism at its core. The author simply cannot believe in the forces of supply and demand that exist from a toothbrush up to an AK47 rifle. The same forces also put people of high degrees of extroversion and dark-triad traits into those positions to make it happen. The author sells himself short by trying to convince us that hate is  a legitimate motivation. I would say it looks more like this:

Big business: driven by large ego, dominance, self-obsession, desire to enrich self above the masses

Media: driven by jealousy, self-loathing, desire to lower everyone to the same equal level

A quick search reveals that Larsson was a communist and extreme liberal. So these ideologies are not far off. This book is more proof that if you cannot cut it with ego and dominance, you resort to passive-agressive loathing and passive-agressive dominance. And it adds more proof that fundamentally we are still directly tied to our biological makeup as hunter-gatherers. It doesn’t matter if its an international corporation or a group of ten men and women. We will still act according to our human condition.

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