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Girl With A Dragon Tattoo Marketing

December 24, 2011 by staff 

Girl With A Dragon Tattoo MarketingGirl With A Dragon Tattoo Marketing, Lisbeth Salander is not a hero. She’s not a woman we should all aspire to be, and she doesn’t have superpowers — but she is a strong character, and one worth the 158 minutes you’ll spend with her if you see the highly anticipated film “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Salander, at least in her original incarnation as the heroine of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling book series, is a character that women love to love. She’s a 24-year-old goth, tattooed computer hacker known on the Internet only as Wasp. In the first book, which the movie is based on, she teams up with famed journalist Mikael Blomkvist to solve a 40-year-old murder mystery and root out a misogynistic serial killer. Oh yeah — and she has a photographic memory.

As Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart put it, “Women love a kick-ass woman. She doesn’t take any guff from anybody. That’s really refreshing.” She’s physically strong, mentally sharp and is in control of her sexuality — and she’s all of those things despite a history of physical abuse and sexual violence. Even if women don’t strive to be Larsson’s Salander, they respect her.

By some measures, they haven’t felt the same about the on-screen Salander, at least not as she appears in David Fincher’s American adaptation of Larsson’s tale. In a recent article detailing Sony Pictures’ concern that the film won’t attract enough female viewers, Vulture reported that 71 percent of the movie’s Facebook fans and 65 percent of Larsson’s Facebook fans are female, yet in a poll conducted by Nielsen Media’s Research Group, only 36 percent of women expressed interest in seeing the film.

Some argue that the reason many of the women who loved the Millennium trilogy books won’t flock to the movie theater is the way the film has been marketed. Vulture’s Claude Brodesser-Akner wrote:

While Larsson’s books are filled with brutal misogynistic violence, that doesn’t make a movie version a reflexive deal-breaker for women. After all, millions of women read the novels, and horror and slasher films are popular with females. Rather, it is likely the unforgivingly creepy and dark marketing for the movie that has scared off female fans of the book.

This argument seems plausible enough. The Dragon Tattoo trailer is definitely dark, and there is a fair amount of graphic, sexual violence, which I can easily imagine many women (and many men) wanting to skip. (The scene in which Lisbeth is raped by her guardian is indeed one of the more disturbing things I’ve ever seen — and the only part of the film that made me burst into tears.)

However, I wonder whether women’s hesitancy has less to do with the violence in the film itself and more to do with the way that Salander’s character has been positioned by marketers. We all know that sex sells, but there’s evidence that violence is really what makes the big bucks. Counter to the way Larsson wrote Salander and how the Swedish film portrayed her, Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth Salander has become the centerpiece of a marketing campaign that bets on the fiscal success of sexual violence.

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