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Stieg Larsson supposedly inspired by witnessing gang rape at age 15?

(27 Posts)
DirtyMartini Sun 10-Jul-11 20:53:02

I had never heard this, and it seems extraordinary to me that I hadn't, given how massive the cultural presence of his books has been recently.

I haven't actually read them; I haven't seen the film (films?) either. Just clicked on this Radfem Hub article and it has left me shock. What do you all think? Has it been discussed before? (I searched "larsson rape" but didn't see anything) Do you think it is likely to be true, or (as suggested in comments to the linked post) more likely that he made it up as a convenient PR "angle"? Either way seems horribly exploitative and troubling.

DirtyMartini Sun 10-Jul-11 20:53:33

GOd sorry, forgot link in my head-spun state Radfem Hub

Shallishanti Sun 10-Jul-11 20:57:12

hadn't heard that, but I remember hearing that he was motivated to write something that would bring to public attention the level and extent of violence against women- this made me more inclined to read 'the girl with the dragon tattoo' which was actualy quite good, better than I'd expected.
I imagine if he had seen a gang rape that would account for his motivation.
I don't think he needs any PR, does he?

giyadas Sun 10-Jul-11 21:02:07

I vaguely remember reading an article about it a while ago. Apparently he didn't step in to help the girl and the books were a way of assuaging guilt.
Apparently. Actually, reading that back it does sound like a good angle to flog your latest book.
But my hazy memory can't really be relied on.

Shallishanti Sun 10-Jul-11 21:02:08

just read the link, so people are still writing like that are they?

I'm afraid I can easily imagine how a boy might be too scared to do the right thing, and 'friends' might not be so easy to trace- mat just have been people he met on holiday, if it was at a campsite

and really, so what if he didn't write a will? this is hardly proof of misogyny!

DirtyMartini Sun 10-Jul-11 21:03:25

Well no, he is dead, isn't he; but I guess the point being made (not by me but by the comments in the linked post) was that he might have made it up as an explanation for his motivation to write, one that was dramatic and anecdotally compelling.

So, forget me mentioning PR, the suggestion is that he might have made it up. Which is still, I think, a plausible option. I'm just baffled by the whole thing tbh. A lot of people seem to think the books are feminist and a lot of others seem to think that is the last thing they are. Not having read them, I cannot say.


DirtyMartini Sun 10-Jul-11 21:04:11

sorry, last post was reply to Shallishanti's first post.

giyadas Sun 10-Jul-11 21:04:16

great link though. I remember thinking something along the lines of 'poor him, he had to witness it hmm' at the time

DirtyMartini Sun 10-Jul-11 21:06:17

Quite, giyadas.

Shallishanti, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "people are still writing like that are they?" I guess the answer is "yes", though.

Shallishanti Sun 10-Jul-11 21:08:10

well, have only read one.
I think if you are a feminist, it confirms that thare are men who have a violent, murderous hatred of women- and you would understand that as one aspect of patriarchy.
Or, you could read it that there are some men who have a violent murderous hatred of women, because unfortunately there are some nutters in the world (eg Sutcliffe). I think plenty of people just think the latter, it's only a feminist perspective that would link that to other instances of gender discrimination/violence/pornography etc

AliceTwirled Sun 10-Jul-11 21:08:32

I don't know whether I have heard this before, but I do know his stuff is on my Bad Things list, just don't recall why.

Yep shame he didn't invest time in some real recourse for the victim rather than writing some book.

AliceTwirled Sun 10-Jul-11 21:09:36

Sorry 'shame' is entirely the wrong word. I'll go for disgrace instead I think.

mathanxiety Sun 10-Jul-11 21:09:47

From the blog

'of course, if we were to imagine that every film, every book, every everything in popular culture were entitled “men who hate women” everything would look differently wouldnt it? everything would start to make sense. '


Shallishanti Sun 10-Jul-11 21:12:10

Sorry, just that I came across a lot of that sort of thing about 30 yrs ago (am so ancient)
Now I think that actually not all men are evil and not everything bad can be traced to patriarchy- the world is more complicated.
This seemed a good example of that sort of thinking- loads of people don't get round to writing a will, it proves nothing about him except that he was a bit disorganized and didn't expect to die so soon- like most of us!

motherinferior Sun 10-Jul-11 21:15:30

Er, he did do rather more than 'writing some book' in that he was a leading anti-fascist journalist. Which clearly doesn't link to the rape issue, I'm just saying he did do quite a lot of other important stuff.

DirtyMartini Sun 10-Jul-11 21:16:36

No, well, I don't think all men are evil either; I don't think most feminists do. But that is fuel for another discussion, I think.

And I still think it is worth reading a range of feminist opinion and considering a range of views, because if nothing else, it reminds me to question my own assumptions.

Agree with you about the will though, not least because I myself am utterly utterly crap and have not made a will despite the awful difficulties that will cause my loved ones if I go under a bus.

motherinferior Sun 10-Jul-11 21:17:44

In the foreword to the third novel, he lists the atrocities that have been committed by men against women in Sweden (I think just Sweden. I don't have a copy in front of me.)

I rather like the books. Lisbeth Salander does a lot of horrible things to nasty blokes.

motherinferior Sun 10-Jul-11 21:21:30

There seems to be an awful lot of comment from people who haven't read them...I am not, in fact, sure that some of the stuff in Val McDermid's work - especially I Hear the Mermaids Singing - isn't as bloodthirsty. (VMcD is a lesbian feminist, btw.) And even I cannot quite bring myself to read Mo Hayder with much equanimity.

Ormirian Sun 10-Jul-11 21:23:57

I always say them as sort of Ultimate Feminist Revenge Fantasy novels. Lisbeth Salander was amazing - always bounced back and sorted the bad guys! Specifically the bad guy who messed up her mum IIRC.

DirtyMartini Sun 10-Jul-11 21:26:05

Mathanxiety, sorry to ignore you, I'm just not completely sure I understand what the person you quoted was trying to say. I mean whether she was suggesting that things would make sense if everything was viewed through the prism of us imagining it had that title; or, alternatively, that things would make sense if everything was actually made by people who deliberately used that title.

Either way I'm not sure I agree with her, it seems a little reductive, but then I think she was just making a point in passing and probably didn't intend it to be subjected to confused scrutiny by the likes of me.

giyadas Sun 10-Jul-11 21:30:09

I (still) haven't read it, but I do plan to partly due to the article I read, and learning the the original title was 'men who hate women'. In one way he seemed to be very honest, in a way that quite a lot of men aren't - even if they concede that sexism exists, they tend to downplay it.
I just couldn't help but balk when I felt he was trying to illicit pity for what hw had witnessed.
But that could be down to the journalists representation.
idk, a very large quantity of our media could very easily just use the title of 'men who hate women', at least it would be honest.

PirateDinosaur Sun 10-Jul-11 21:33:06

He only gave one English-language interview about the trilogy, and didn't mention anything about a rape there; he said Lisbeth Salander had been inspired by Pippi Longstocking. The only mention of the rape has come, AFAICS, after his death from one friend who was selling his own book about Larsson.

motherinferior Sun 10-Jul-11 21:34:51

I like the books. The male protagonist is a bit of an arse, but many male lefty hacks are. (I am a journalist, btw. Female. Have vagina and everything.) Lisbeth S is completely bonkers, but I rather like her too. There is a lot of complicated lefty politicking, some of which confused me, but I like a bit of lefty politicking.

DirtyMartini Sun 10-Jul-11 21:36:37

Oh so maybe the idea is that it was the friend who perhaps made it up as a PR angle? Sorry for vagueness, am now darting back and forth between thread and other tasks, don't have time to re-read article until later.

Giyadas, if you do read it, read the comments as well, they expand usefully on points made in main blog post.

mathanxiety Sun 10-Jul-11 21:40:24

I think she meant it partly as a comment on the media, the film industry, maybe the increasing pornification of culture/clothing/music. A lot of pop culture reinforces stereotypes about women and their 'place'.

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