?The other night I had a girl in that cage. Irina, another immigrant whore?, says Martin in the torture chamber basement of his beautiful house, while bragging about his killing conquests to horrified, chained Daniel Craig. All that to the beautiful sounds of Enya.
Watch the movie if you haven?t. Martin?s torture chamber is Sweden?s basement ? the place of society?s most grotesque, ugliest secrets. Just beneath the finest piece of modern architecture and impeccable minimalist furniture that you would find. Until you get to the basement. And then it really starts smelling like supremacist mold.
Some people search for plot in a movie. Others ? for layers. Note ? the hereditary killers, father and son, don?t kill indiscriminately; there are categories. Not everyone deserves rape and death equally. Some have less value than others. Father killer and son killer?s hate target groups are defined historically (and religiously). The victims are all women, of foreign origin. Father killer?s target group in the 50s is young Jewish women. Fast forward 40 years and son killer?s target group become Eastern European ?immigrant whores?, Western Europe?s pest of the 1990s and 2000s. Times change. It?s historically-informed misogyny at its finest.
I can almost hear some say that perhaps we are going too far here by trying to link the origin of victims of a fictional sick mind to societal characteristics at large. We should rather focus on the bad apple, without this being indicative in any way of the basket.
Yet again, Stieg Larsson?s killers don?t kill indiscriminately. Just take a look at the way the victim category changes over time. Jewish women to the 40s and 50s are what Eastern Europeans are to the 1990s. This isn't a coincidence. Stieg is onto something here. Not everyone deserves mistreatment equally. There are women it is easier and more okay to use, hate and kill. The sadistic violence portrayed and hinted to in the movie is violence at the far end of the spectrum. But it?s also violence looking for directions from the laws of societal foundation defining who can be hated. When. And just how much.
Larsson?s killers operate in a societal context of embedded perception of worth and value, and underlying direction of right-wing associated misogyny, backed in part by religion. The killers? evolving choice of victims is the tip of the iceberg. The bit we don?t see is the same bit that makes violence against some women more okay and easier than violence against others. At the lighter end of the spectrum, this applies to even minor acts of verbal aggression.
What can you do as an ordinary person? You can?t catch a killer but you can catch yourself. Catch yourself next time you call an Eastern European woman a whore. Even if it?s just mentally. Stop and think about it. You?re reinforcing the foundations that define some women as less worthy than others based on origin, some as less deserving of respect than others based on origin, and some whose mistreatment (offense, abuse, rape, human trafficking) consequently, and somewhere down the line, would be more acceptable than that of others ? again, based on origin. Next time bite your tongue.
Amazing, powerful movie. And highly recommended.
*The movie?s original title in Swedish translates to the perhaps less adventurous and less universally appealing ?Men who hate women?. The original title is carried into the movie's screening in some non-Anglophone countries, including Bulgaria.