Girl With Dragons & Fires & Hornets, Oh My

by Lisa Kirchner

Ima gotta admit–I think the world was a better place before this series of books and movies came out. OK, maybe I should limit it to the movies since I haven’t read the books, and obviously that means just the first two since the hornet one is yet to arrive on our shores, but I can’t imagine how augmenting my knowledge of this trilogy would change my mind. I was going to hold off on passing judgment until the third one came out, but with the the ABC News report this week that the film’s distributor plans to send copies to rape crisis centers and college campuses, I couldn’t wait. That the plots in these books have captured the public’s imagination around the globe saddens me to no end. This is not out of some simpy violence-begets-violence thing (though I believe that’s true, but this is a movie for chrissakes). My disillusionment is this: Does a gal really have to battle an abusive dad, abusive protectors, abusive strangers and Hitler-loving freaks to be sympathetic as a strong (read: angry) woman?

First off, I was so bored in both movies that I drifted off at various points. It wasn’t about the subtitles; I can handle that level of boredom. It was the level of abuse piled on the female lead, Lisbeth. At a certain point it went so over the top that I totally expected her to kick some ass. When (spoiler alert!) she did, it wasn’t all that gratifying.

And what does it say about our world that people are LOVING these books? Are we really that angry with men?

I was glad to see in the film that they didn’t go into the breast augmentation that she gets in the book (now THERE’S some empowerment, ladies!), but it still didn’t make her an exemplar of female strength. I do take heart from the fact that she’s a flawed character, but must she be so put upon she can’t have normal relationships? I’ve had my share of nasty exchanges with the opposite sex, but it doesn’t define my whole being. Good God, I may sound a bit like Mama Grizzly here, but we women can do better than that.



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