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The Pornification of Lisbeth Salander

The Pornification of Lisbeth Salander

I have officially become angry at the latest poster to appear online for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. This one as you can see shows Rooney Mara with her breast exposed. The previous ones had Daniel Craig’s hand over her clearly naked boob, but this one goes all the way. It’s risque enough that people have been labeling it NSFW (not safe for work)

I don’t know exactly what to make of it. I’ve read the books, I’ve thought about Lisbeth (a lot) and while I believe she is one of the most interesting characters on screen I’ve seen in a long time (I’ve seen all the Swedish movies and read all the books and even wrote a chapter for an anthology about my hopes for the Hollywood film), I never expected to see a poster of Lisbeth topless. Never. I don’t care that this is for the international version, it still doesn’t work.

It just doesn’t seem to me to be in keeping with her character. Lisbeth is deeply private. She’s been assaulted, she’s been treated like crap by everyone who was supposed to take care of her. If she were a real person I would think she would kick the ass of the photographer who asked her to take her shirt off in public for a photo shoot. I’m pretty sure she would never even participate in a photo shoot, but I know I’m taking it a little far with that last thought.

Look at the poster for the Swedish film. This was created for a European film (where they are supposedly more free with their sexuality which seems to be one reason why the international poster of the American movie has nudity) but look, Lisbeth is fully clothed (and also alone without Mikael.)

When I see a poster like the one for the Americanized version I can’t help but get nervous. This is going to be a trilogy targeted at adults starring a beloved, well-known character. Seeing this poster I start to think that maybe Lisbeth is going to be sexed up throughout the film so that word of mouth with guys will be really positive a little along the lines of yes, she does kick ass but she is so hot and by the way there are BOOBS! To me, this is already a film that appeals to both men and women and by men and women, I mean people over 25 (or gasp! people over 30). This is a rated R movie so it’s not for the kids anyway. I am sure that the marketers felt it was really important to include Daniel Craig in the poster because he is James Bond after all, and Rooney Mara is just the young woman who eviscerated Jesse Eisenberg in a notable scene from The Social Network.

I’ve already started to read posts about how hot Rooney is with her nipple ring on full display. That’s enough to start my blood boiling. Lisbeth is not supposed to be hot. That’s one of the reasons why we love her so much. She doesn’t play by the rules and now we have a poster that puts her right back into the girl box. Disappointment is a wild understatement for what I am feeling.

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I can’t believe Rooney Mara agreed to pose with her boobs showing. Didn’t she get the character at all? She’s a cheap sell out and totally opposite to what Lisbeth would have done. Was it Vanity or in her contract to do that? Shame on her.


Degrading at it’s least, Nudity or not, we know the character, we know her thoughts, the concept.
This is just Hollywood for the mainstream; unintelligble people who only see with their eyes, and they see breasts.


the originals wull always be better than the remakes . david fincher is just another hollywood puppet.thats why there was this picture sells in american if he was truly the type to stay true to things he would of never did the nude poster like this.he has no spine plain and simple.the originals will always be better

Eve Howard

Get what you’re saying, but remember that weird sidebar about Salandar buying a bosom? Struck me at the time as something only a male writer would write, esp. for a character like her. So who knows, maybe Salandar would like the poster. Maybe she’d even produce one of her rare smiles.


In total agreement, and sorry to say this very typical American. I have read all three books, can't wait for the fourth even though it will not be as Steig would have wanted it. I have watched the movies The Swedish triple and UK single and the advert most certainly does not fit the image of Ms Salander. I am old and retired, as is my wife, but we have both enjoyed the trilogy so don't let outsiders spoil it for the want of a bit of sensationalism.


I agree with you about this poster. Lisbeth would kick some ass over it! I preferred the Swedish version of the film and love the poster released for it shown above. It shows Lisbeth as quiet, shy, and yet there's something intriguing about her without showing her breasts.




I am not in favor with the poster.But still the American version actually touched me. Its very rare that a movie or a character gets into my head like that. The week following the day I Watched the movie. I couldn't stop thinking about this punk-rebel girl. I loved both the american and original versions. I can't wait to see the rest. Btw I think the two lisbeth play their role magnificently and find them both pretty hot! If I see a girl like lisbeth on the streets I don't think I could resist. I would have to go and talk to her! Love girls with Mohawks! ;)

Breaking Bad

Sadly, you were right on the money with this poster as a sign of things to come. The opening credits of the film were like a nauseating porn-version of a James Bond movie and it went downhill from there, including the overly sexualized rape scenes, which managed to victimize her even when she was supposed to be taking control. I wish I'd just left but it was like watching a train wreck to see how badly they remade the Swedish version. I'm not against remakes but if American studio execs want to make porn, why don't they just go over the hill to the San Fernando Valley and do it? Why sink millions into it and call it mainstream art? I keep a list of directors I don't bother to see anymore and this one goes on it.


This poster is" off the chain!"
It makes you wonder about their relationship, who she is, and what is this flick about!
It risquey!

Senior Barbie

The very sad part of this poster is not specifically that the breasts are exposed… is that "marketing" has become more important than the product. Imagine a poster for starving children with a malnourished child dressed in an uber couture dress from Givenchy…..equally as out of place. And, YES, this poster does take away from a very strong and compelling story. The movie is not about sex, it is about the characters, specifically Lisbeth (and sorry, fellow Americans, the US version does transfer the "power" to Daniel Craig…..and while I absolutely love Rooney Mara's performance here, the overall Swedish film left a much longer impression on my soul).


Wow, i too am gobsmacked… what is with the West and sexualising everything all the time? Not only the Hollywood film and media industry, which dominates much of the air time on Foxtel, but the capitalist system that we live in. These powerful institutions convey images and stories in such a way that it feeds the unaware, passive person's egoic desires and re-instills the constant oppression and objectification of women. hmff! In addition, i wonder what Noomi Rapace thinks of the US version of her character's characterisation!


Great article!


How is this supposed to be a portrayal of feminism when shes naked? Pornography does terrible things to peoples' minds.. it makes men's standards of women higher, makes men more emotionally detached from women.. lots of other bad things. This is just another example of sex selling. I'm disappointed that a heroine had to be turned into this.


I write about Lisbeth in my article "Fincher's Lisbeth: The Queen of Spades" at

Dennis Harvey

Totally agree with this piece. The movie itself (after that ridiculous kinky-magazine-fashion-ad opening credit sequence) is faithful to the portrayal of Lisbeth in the books. But from early on the advertising has made Rooney Mara look passive, exploitative, "protected" by Daniel Craig (pretty much the opposite of their characters' dynamic in the stories), an exotic "edgy" twist on the traditional movie poster image of a heroine clinging to the action hero's leg. Depressing, but no doubt this is what marketing folks think it takes for Americans to go see a movie–"the chick" has to be sexy and vulnerable, the man firmly in control. By the way, I am a guy.


Hey, guys?

It's a movie poster.
It has exposed breasts
It's part of the human body.
I'm sorry that you are uncomfortable with sexuality.
The rest of that "disgrace to the original story/characters" talk is a load of shit.

concerned human.

Stephen Comerford

What strikes me is that people have missed out on the characters presentation in the books being equally porny. Larsson constantly refer to her pre pubescent appearance in a salivating way and when describing her sounds like an awkward priapic uncle furtively glancing at a nieces forbidden body. Pornification may also be found in the Asian Dominatrix (how original!) as Larsson gives us a lesson in one handed typing.


The American poster is just a pathetic apology to the actual story. I'm pretty sure that S.Larsson would be completely schocked by it.
It also talks about the lack of ethos by the two actors themselves. Clearly they didn't grasp the characters of the two protagonists in the novels, otherwise they would've refused.
The swedish poster is more powerful and even more appealing. Again, the market is the market, and money talks, sadly.
I'm glad that Salinger never wanted to sell the rights of his magnus opus to a film producer. Specially now. I could imagine Di Caprio (with a make up make him appear 20 years younger) playing Holden, Al Pacino, Mr. Antolini and a hot babe, S. Hayes.


Americans want always adapt foreigner movies or histories to their own idiosyncrasies because it seems that they don't understand the original versions unless they appear Americanized.
Specially I found this practice so pathetic when the sweedish films have been just recently released with a superb characterization.
It's like a year later after the Release of the God father the suedes decided to make a sweedish version. Well, money talks in the film industry.


There are a lot of "oh, please"s on this page. Has anyone bothered to watch and listen to Rooney Mara's take on the photo? If not, please do. Chris Finnegan (down the page) expressed a genuinely thoughtful opinion and though it may not be completely accurate or mesh with your feelings, it does in some way help the argument that not all of us men are dense gorillas. Project much?


Quit kidding yourself and wasting everyone's time. The story and characters are addictive and a little boob on a poster to bring in more close-minded American money is a good idea.

Concerned Girl

I think that biggest problem is that, as women, we have to get together figure out what we are ok with because, while some of you idiots complain that this is overly sexualized poster, most of us intelligent women would understand that by complaining that nudity is sexualization we are actually fitting in MORE with the male mentality that women are sex objects. In reality, this shows the power and UN-sexuality of a woman bearing her chest just like any man would be allowed to do. Please, don't make us women look bad by complaining about this clearly woman-empowering image.

Elaine Charkowski

The men that control the film industry trivialize womens concerns by sexing them up. Such as the DVD cover of "Iron Jawed Angels" about womens 70 year fight to get the right to vote! The cover shows a women facing away wrapped in a flag and nothing else. I am SO sick of this shit! All we are to patriarchal men are sex parts. And sometimes not even that. Women ARE the sensation of sex.


I couldn't agree more with you. This poster is completely absurd to anyone who has atleast seen the Swedish version of films, let alone having read books. The essence of Lisbeth Salander is that she is aboslutely against voliating women's right and any kind of abusse against them as her mother and she herself has suffered a lot from that. And in this American poster woman's nudity it's how it's tried to attract public's attention. It's pretty clear for me that Hollywood uses sexuality in oder to promote their movies and I put up with that but not in this case, not with Lisbeth Salander. Moreover, Lisbeth Salander is kind a extremely reserved person, who wouldn't allow anyone to take picture of her nude body. In Swedish trilogy there are just two occasions when Lisbeth Salander appears nude – it's when she is having sex with Michael Bolmkwist and Mimi. In both cases these are people who are her closest relatives. In all other cases she has her body fully covered and in a kind agressive manner (as it's written in the book it's her way of letting people know that they should stay away from her). So I am completely against such type of advertising of Holywood version. It makes me angry to think that one of the gratest characters might be destroyed by indifferent attitude of the film makers.

liz salander fan

I reserve judgment until I see the film…which I can’t wait to see! I LOVE the books. Nothing will compare the books. The swedish movies didn’t do justice either, but I did like the woman who played Liz Salander. As for the rest of the movie characters in the swedish films, ick. They need better looking people for films. I like David Fincher. I’m excited to see what he does with this. Again, I reserve judgment. However, if he makes her into some stupid, retarded, sexualized trophy woman I will be very, very mad and will go TRUE lisbeth salander on him.


Don’t these people read the books? Or do they just read and see what they want? This isn’t her at all! I really hope they chose to go with another poster.

I’m all out for nudity in the right context or for the right film.

Bad bad choice if they go with it.


This was totally gratuitous to men and is insulting to the author, to all women who FINALLY had a strong female character to respect, and if the public weren’t so selfish and obsessed with sex, this should be offensive to the public for thinking that WOMEN ALWAYS HAVE TO BE EXPLOITED to make a dollar. I refuse to watch this movie. I do NOT support exploiters and I hope others do the same.


…but of course it is all just a film. We’ll see what happens.


I have just watched “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and I really liked it. I haven’t read the books before so I can’t compare the character to the films.

Before I had seen the movie I had read a article in “Entertainment” Magazine and they had pictures of Rooney Mara in Lisbeth character and they have completely sexualized her.

Not to say that Lisbeth’s character isn’t sexual but her wardrobe in the American version seems to be for the sake of looking “sexy” in the Swedish version the character exudes “sexy” without trying, she isn’t wearing skimpy clothing and on display for men.She is actually covered from head to toe.

Fincher’s portrayal of Lisbeth is starting to look like eye candy with an attitude.

I understand that this is a character and various people will have different interpretations but from what it looks like it looks as if the creators of the American version are exploiting the character in order to make money., but of course that is their job. Their defense? Simply say she is a “strong” women who doesn’t give a F***K and it makes things okay.

The reason I don’t like the American version of this film is because they are taking a real life issue, a delicate issue, and exclude the “thinking” part of the film out of it.

It’ll become just another film that will make millions.

Chris Finnegan

My interpretation of the poster…

It appears to me as though she’s merely allowing him to think that he’s protecting her when in fact she’s the one acting as a seemingly vulnerable “meat shield” for him just by standing in front of him like that (e.g., she’s actually the one protecting him). On top of it all, her bare upper torso could suggest that not even clothing can or will protect her (e.g., only she can protect herself, naked or otherwise).

I would also like to mention that just because a woman might be strong on her own that doesn’t automatically mean that she can’t want someone to protect her even if and when they can’t. Strength can be both actual and an actual facade all at the same time.

Yes, the poster was also done for the pure titillation factor and extra “exposure” a poster like this would generate to be sure but there are a vast many ways you could interpret a poster such as this one which is why it’s in my humble opinion a BRILLIANT POSTER!

Remember folks… at the end of the day even Lisbeth Salander is just another fictional character in a book and nothing more. As such we are each entitled to our own representation of her as such in our mind’s eye.


The Swedish title of the book and movie is “Men Who Hates Women”


Thank God I came across this post. This poster makes my blood boil, and for a while I thought I was the only one outraged by the fact that Hollywood has drowned the theme of Stieg Larsson’s trilogy in a sea of gratuitous images and sexism.
@Gaby – You’ve said it all.
“we have become desensitized to sexism and too many do not question those putting out the images.”
If only more people would actively boycott the objectification of women…


This poster just pisses me off.

First of all, its an image of oppression as ‘Lisbeth’ is portrayed as vulnerable through her nudity. We don’t see ‘Mikael’s’ parts hanging out, do we? While she in the fore-ground; she is lower than the male character, a position of submission. In addition, his arm circling her signifies to me, control. His face has a look of dark determination, hers is a porn face….lips parted, dumb doe-eyed look. I’m sorry but Lisbeth would not make a face like this.

Anyone who has read the books knows Lisbeth is a victim but she takes control of her victimization and turns it against the oppressor. She is not weak, she is not vulnerable, and I think Stieg Larsson is rolling around in his grave over this one.

I don’t think the Swedish films can be beat by our watered-and-dumbed-down-boob-fueled sad American attempt. The problem is most Americans don’t read actual novels, so they will probably never know the ‘real’ story. I will likely boycott the American films because I don’t think I can subject myself to the dumbing down of the books or Swedish films.


I don’t see this as sexually exploiting women/Lisbeth. A lot of people are writing that this is simply targeted towards men and the sex angle (sex sells), but as a big fan of the books and Swedish movies, and as a woman, I think this poster (while it is sexual) shows a strong woman with a f**k you attitude, who doesn’t care what other people think. Ironically enough, that is how I picture Lisbeth.

There seems to be a lot of anger as well about a character who is sexually assulted being represented like this on the poster – yes she was a victim, but Lisbeth was a sexual character when she felt in control. When the sex was on her terms, she was overtly sexual, something the Swedish movies portrayed…just not on their poster.


P.S. i bet Fincher would have choosen angelina jolie if she weren´t getting older


damn hollywood!!!! it’s all about money!!! sometimes i think writers, producers an directors in hollywood can barely read, so how can we expect from them to understand the ideas??? hahaha… i’m just really sorry for Larsson and Eva, must be really dissapointing dedicating a whole lifetime fighting for their beliefs and watched the wor being prostitute…kind of glad and outrageous he`s not here tho see this… in the name of real fans… SORRY LISBETH…

Martyn Hobbins

Lisbeth Salander would be horrified if she knew – I wonder what action she would have taken against the perpetrators of this poster. It is quite clear to me that the American film makers and Stieg Larsson’s relatives only want to make money, i.e. exploit the books and characters which is exactly what the stories are against. I shall NOT watch the unnecessary American film version – anyway how can the Swedish version be bettered?
I was living in Stockholm and working there and in Lund when the books were published and later when the Swedish films were made and feel a great affinity with the story and with all the characters.


Very good points, and ones I can completely agree with. While I have appointed Lisbeth Salander my future wife, she is by no means the sexualised woman in this latest promo ad. I’d like to tell the marketers to f-ing read the books. They’d get quite a different view of Lisbeth in them.

Noomi Rapace’s interpretation of the character in the Swedish films/TV series was pretty much in accordance with how I’ve seen Lisbeth while reading the books. She is way more waifish, even tomboyish, than feminine, would rather hide under layers of gender unspecific clothes than ever publicly undress, or even wear a dress. She isn’t a woman yet, still a child healing from the traumas of her life.

Still, Lisbeth Salander is doubtless a sexual person, but it is a private sexuality, one where she feels safe and in control. Sure, people tend to fetishise and pornographise piercings, tattoos, non-heteronormative vanilla sex, but that doesn’t make it any less private and, yes, non-pornographic.

So please, Hollywood, don’t sexualise Lisbeth Salander. She’s not there yet.


Film marketers please note: I sought out the Swedish films (and the books) AFTER being attracted to the intriguing character and poster of the Swedish GWTDT movie. My husband and I walked past an independent movie theatre in a Minnesota while on vacation, and the theatre was closed late at night, but that poster made me stop and ask my husband to wait, and we both looked at the poster and we both remembered the name of the film/books due to that poster—Noomi Rapace was fully clothed in line with Lisbeth’s character, and wasn’t even posed in a provocative way—and yet, it caught our attention. It was that poster that made us see the Swedish films, and THEN seek out the books. Try treating audiences, women and men, in a more diverse manner than the “show us your tits” approach.


Lisbeth comments in disgust about how searches online for women’s names brings up porn sites. Nudity is not porn, but this poster is pornifying Lisbeth, who has sex but doesn’t pose in the nude for photographers or male audiences as a commodity. The books are centered on violence against women in various forms. And violence against women is normalized and institutionalized in a patriarchal world—look at “Killing Us Softly” ads or look around for your own examples of this.

Also, I agree with this statement written by another on this site: “Honestly, after David Fincher and the crew behind The Social Network so clearly showed their hatred of women in that movie, should we really be surprised?” And while The Social Network earned Oscar nods, the Swedish version of The Girl…trilogy did not receive an Academy nomination. And now this poster!

In a world where women as a social group face social, economic, and political disadvantages, need we be reminded of women’s patriarchal position as sex objects in such a predictable Hollywood fashion? Can’t Hollywood produce a trilogy with a strong female character that shows a poster that is more truly reflective of her character? James Bond has a lot of sex and we expect that of Bond’s character, but I never saw posters showing him naked with a fully clothed woman just to get people to watch Bond films–yet, a sexy clothed woman could be strategically draped over Bond’s penis if sex truly sells. It’s female bodies that is the pattern here–not simply sex. It’s women’s bodies being oversexualized to sell practically anything, b/c we have become desensitized to sexism and too many do not question those putting out the images. They could just as easily create a pattern of men’s bodies being overcommodified and oversexualized, so let’s not simply say “sex sells.” It’s more complex than that, though quite simple if we accept that the world has a long way to go to eliminate sexism.

Is a strong woman or “girl” like Lisbeth so threatening in a patriarchal world that she must be minimized to boobies to get men to see a strong female lead? Fincher’s posters suggest yes. If there was a pattern of this oversexualization and overcommodification of black people (or any racial/ethnic social group), there would likely be an uproar by more men and women than we see in response to a sexist pattern.

What can we do to not be complicit or silent about sexism? We can choose to boycott such films as this Hollywood version in response to the int’l poster, and write to advertisers and others who oversexualize the female body to sell products, among other acts of disagreement with sexist norms. Allowing those in power to overcommodify women’s bodies and dilute strong women characters into “show us your tits” marketing goes against the spirit of Lisbeth’s character. So if you truly care about Lisbeth’s character, rape victims, or Stieg’s message on how women/girls are treated by a patriarchal culture, then don’t financially support this Hollywood film by going to see it in the theatre. The Swedish version shows breasts, but it is in the spirit of Lisbeth as a survivor and as a feminist who opposes perverts, rapists, pornographers, misogynists–so if you want to financially support Lisbeth on film, I would recommend supporting the Swedish version. It’s posters had Lisbeth fully clothed as she (and most women) are for most of their 24 hours each day, and yet it was an international hit.


The promo image is intended to do one thing.. promote a movie about a fictional character. I read the books first, I thoroughly enjoyed them, but this is not dissecting Shakespeare.. it’s basically pulp fiction. The image that was brought to my mind looked more like Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth then Noomi Rapace’s. Though I can see why you could get attached to her version, she played the part well.. and she’s drop dead gorgeous. Maybe Mara will be better, maybe she’ll be worse. When the movie comes out, like it or don’t. Write a review then. Much ado about nothing.

not so fast....

@Jh Yea right. Highly doubt it! No one is bitching or moaning over the sexualization of the female body” Huh? And way to belittle an important take on female characters portrayed in Hollywood by stating that folks here may believe that nudity enfeebles them or makes them vulnerable. Not true, but again not the point. At all. Sweet Jesus. Nudity can be quite empowering.

Most posters here agreed and know she is an incredible sexual character, but she’s indifferent. She should be portrayed as powerful, sexy and sexual, but not like this.

This poster is WRONG and reflects a misguided viewpoint from the studio that once again in order to sell tickets you must nude it up. Salander does not show strength. If she was standing with her arms crossed defiant and strong with Michael behind her not touching her..maybe. BUT THIS NO WAY. She’s even holding on to his arm. That’s what I do when I’m showing affection and love toward my boyfriend.

Craig does not deteriorate into the background at all. Craig appears old, menacing, and possessive even. This does not jive with a woman who has suffered severe sexual abuse and manipulation and has decided to close herself off emotionally by living on her own terms sexually and independently. Salander is sexual, astute, strong and vengeful. This is simply showing boobs for boobs sake unnecessary and sad.


…but nice boobs


I agree with Melissa Silverstein comments 100%!!!!

The character of Lisbeth is that of a private person who is publicly humiliated.

Spider Jerusalem

Most of the folks putting Salander on a pedestal like she’s a goddess seemed to have missed the point of the character completely. She’s not some asexual creature who only has sex because it passes the time, she’s fiercely independent to the level that everything is on her terms, in every way possible. In the Swedish film adaptations she’s even shown numerous times as having sex with different people, as a very, very sexual beast – something that people are now saying is a bad thing when it’s done in the American version.

Which isn’t to say the the American version is doing anything that the Swedish version didn’t. Salander is totally on her own terms in this, she’s the prominent figure, the stronger alpha creature in the poster. Even her sexuality is a pierced nipple, fighting against the mainstream ideal image of beauty. She’s turned her back on Craig and is staring the audience down, deteriorating the male in the image into a shady, sad looking appearance in the background who looks weak compared to her. Combined with the previous image of Craig as the ultimate alpha male and the poster is a remarkably smart design.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Salander would slap the hell out of the commentators who are moping and bitching over the “sexualization of the female body”, afraid that nudity somehow enfeebles them or makes them vulnerable.


I’m glad to see this conversation is going on, and don’t want to simplify it or try to solve the problems presented by this poster,
But—I think the poster itself is being misread by most of the commenters here. The text is being ignored–“Evil Shall with Evil be Expelled.” Lisbeth is being presented here as a weapon, an “Evil” weapon, that will be used to expel the greater evils in the story. Craig is not protecting her, or “standing behind her;” in this image he’s using her as a weapon to attack others and as a shield to protect himself.
Please note that I don’t think this reading renders the question of her increased sexuality moot.


Howie has the best comments of what I read. The poster subverts the very premises of the books, and they are important. Don’t pretend otherwise.

Grim Griefer

I don’t know whether the people behind this poster are being ironic or hypocritical.

The entire “Girl With/Millennium” series has been about exposing the evils of the sexual exploitation of women.

If Lisbeth Salander were real she would stare the photographer dead in eye, cross her arms while she thinks “Fuck you creep. I’m keeping my clothes on!”


Lisbeth was very self-conscious about her breasts. She would never be showing them off this way.

Lisa J


Yeah, how come men are never depicted half naked in movie posters?


I’m pretty sure I’ve seen more man-boobs in movie posters over the years than lady-boobs, but by all means continue to embrace your delusion.


I hate how they’ve reduced Lisbeth Salander to this sexual object. Having seen all of the original films, I can tell that this is not something that she would agree to: she’s not overtly sexual, not so exhibitionist.


Regardless of who Lisbeth is as a character in the books or original movie – I don’t understand why she has to be naked in the poster, why a kick-ass, strong, powerful woman has to be sexualised. Perhaps if the context of the movie industry was different, where women were not systematically sexualised, then it would not be so glaring, but when I look at the poster, what I see is yet again a woman half naked and a man not. Sick and tired of that.


Good god, these comments are painful.

It’s amazing how easily people, or women specifically (seeing as how everyone seems to be referring to the damage done to women’s perception of the character) are disturbed by being taken out of their comfort zone. Sexual encounters are an easy thing to come to terms with in a book when you can imagine it as conservatively or as explicitly as you like, but when it’s on film (or a poster in this case, which people seem to be forgetting is all this is) it’s on their terms.

And can anyone really say that the aesthetically pleasing image of Noomi Rapace really embodies a character such as has been described below. I mean look at her in the poster above, she’s clearly been made up to appeal to men and women, she’s pretty and safe. Fincher’s Lisbeth is ugly and overtly sexual, and it gives a far better impression of a character who is supposed to be troubled and against objectification. Noomi looks like she spent hours giving herself the “pretty emo girl” look while Rooney looks almost like an orc.

The reaction to your generally soft sensibilities is hilarious. And anyone who says the marketing team don’t know what they’re doing are naive fools. Your reaction has been anticipated and exploited, exploited far more than this character.


@Lisa J. You are a GODDESS! *applause*

@Howie A.: So the only folks allowed to have an opinion about this are those who read the books? If’s obvious to me that you’re going to HATE this movie no matter what Fincher does unless it’s a page-by-page reenactment of the book (I wonder what you thought of the Swedish version?). And you missed every point I tried to make (ex: I wrote “depicting sexuality is NOT ALWAYS sexist.” You conveniently left the NOT ALWAYS part out…) But whatever…


A fully clothed Mikael holding a nude Lisbeth in this manner just isn’t a reflection of what the story is about. It makes me think that the American version of this story is going to be a big fail.

Lisa J

So because a woman was abused, her sexuality is lost and gone forever?

This is why we can’t have nice things. To see the ugly photoshopped crap that is the original poster praised while this gets torn apart is infuriating. Good lord, this poster looks like a fine art print and everyone’s acting like it’s the most debasing thing to ever happen to women. She does not have a come hither look on her face. Their posture is not sexualized. The female body does not automatically equal porn (talk about offensive!). I read the books, I loved the books. Saw the Swedish films, loved the Swedish films. And I love this poster. People need to stop shouting fire when there’s no fire to be seen. Pornification? Give me a freaking break!


I never understood the rationale for remaking this movie. My only explanation for the poster is that they made Lisbeth so ugly they had to offset the ugliness by promising some nudity to go with it. As usual, Hollywood goes all in when it comes to cheap and tawdry.

Melissa Silverstein

I just wanted to thank everyone for the great conversation over this post. I think the passion this film elicits is because we have lived with Lisbeth for an extended period of time and because there has never been a character like her (that I can recall.) It’s just fun to her the passion for a film that won’t come out for over 6 months. Stay tuned I’m sure there will be much more to come.

Linda Stein

OMG. As one who has written about Salander, in addition to using her in my lectures and art, I’m appalled by her objectification in this poster for the new movie. My initial thought is that it will be a film to appeal to adolescent guys, while the Swedish films engaged so many women of all ages, as well as men.

Howie A.

In reply to Faith:

Not one single person is criticizing the poster solely because a woman is naked. You touch on the fact you have not read the books. That right there may be the problem. The very thing the poster represents is the very thing the books are against which is men having control over women sexually and women being exploited sexually. The character of Lisbeth Salander actually does not find Blomqvist physically attractive, in the books he is not described as a physically attractive guy. She is a person that sleeps with many men and women. Her reason for having sex with Blomqvist is because he is not a bad person and he is frankly available. She only has sex with him because no one else is around to have sex with that she can stand. Now this is important. She is very clear during sex with him that a) she controls it b) she is on top c) that she does not want any kind of control by him during the sex d) during it and afterwards she wants no affection e) it is only sex and has no deeper meaning. The only persons she is shown going beyond emotionless sex with is Mimmi (who she makes love with in each book and who she allows to control the lovemaking in the most famous sex scene of the books – book 2). She never has sex again with Blomqvist after the first book and it is made abundantly clear when they meet again that she sees him only as a friend with zero romantic or sexual interest in him.

Going a further step, Salander rejects men protecting her. She is a take care of herself individual. She would never, ever allow a man to hold her like that. This is not theory. It is stated in the book she hates this type of behavior. One of the reasons she is not bothered by Blomqvist is that he shows no urge to control or dominate her.

Lastly, you come across condescending when you state depicting sexuality is not sexist. Everyone here knows that and no one here has said sexuality is sexist. What is arguably sexist is a clothed guy holding a naked woman in a protective hold and her clinging to him thankful for that protection. What seals that it is sexist is when one recognizes that the behavior exhibited by Lisbeth Salander in the poster is the antithesis of Lisbeth’s behavior in the books. Lisbeth Salander owns her sexuality in the books. She does not allow anyone else to own her sexuality or treat her like a sex object.

The difference between you and the people ripping this poster to shreds is it seems they have read the books. And anyone who has read the books and respects the character in the book knows this poster is absolute cringe-inducing bull.


I think this poster is lame and unimaginative. “Boobies”…gee, I wonder how David Fincher ever came up with that idea for a poster concept.

The entire idea of this film breaks my heart. The Swedish version was pretty perfect of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The books and Swedish movies are criticisms of the over-sexualization and exploitation of women. Odd, that they would use an over-sexualized and exploitative image for the poster to promote the US version of this film.

I’m attracted to women, hands down. However, I’m attracted to the entirety of who women are. Their thoughts, emotions, opinions, sense of humor, as well as their outward appearance. I hate when sh*t like this resorts women to just their t*tties. COME ON!!! Yes, boobs, are cool, but COME ON!!! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!

I’m tired of porn taking over pop culture. It’s pretty f*cking irritating. Most of the porn I’ve seen sucks the soul out of sexuality and comes across extremely emotionally empty.

The sin of all sins, turning this awesome, bad ass, hero, Lisbeth Salander, into porn. Stieg Larsson would not approve.


In reply to Howie:

The job of the movie is to be a movie. The job of the movie is not to slavishly cater to the whims of those who liked the original source material, be it a book, play or TV show. By definition, a movie is not a book so changes are inevitable. When a movie tries too hard to honor previous material, the result can sometimes be stultifying (see Watchmen). When a movie honors the material but finds room to change characters and backstory to make it their own, the results can be creatively successful (see JJ’s Abram’s Star Trek).

Now, if Fincher WANTS to make the movie slavish to the book, that’s his choice and that’s great. If he wants to make Lisbeth an African-American hairdresser, I’ll go with that, too, as long as the movie is good.

All this gets back to my central point: if fans of the book are claiming offense because of the poster, then it’s possible they cannot be fully satisfied. And that, of course, brings me back to my other point: since they cannot be satisfied anyway, then do what you want with the characters, as long as those changes result in a good movie.


@Howie A. (and mostly everyone here): I have not read the books, but I did see the Swedish “Dragon Tattoo” film. And I think this is where folks are getting bent out of shape. This is a film dramatization–they are marketing the FILM, not the books (so it doesn’t matter what Mikael “looks” like in the books).

Obviously, fans of the trilogy have hard and deep love for Lisbeth Salander and don’t want to see her defamed, which many of you thinks this poster does. I get it. She’s a great character. But I disagree that the poster sexualizes her any more than she already is. Lisbeth is sexy because her sexuality is on HER TERMS. Bored or not, Lisbeth had sex with Mikael because she found him 1) attractive and more importantly, 2) decent. You can make some easy $$ betting that Craig & Mara will have sex in this film (which leads us back to…the poster). And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s in the context of the original story!

I’ll end with this: depicting sexuality is not always sexist.

P.S. I should have written in my previous post that both men AND women would switch places with Daniel Craig in that poster.

Howie A.

In reply to Johnnie:

That seems like an odd defense. It sounds like you are saying that the poster may not be bad because it may end up reflecting a movie and a character that is far removed from the book’s character. Instead of the tough, detached woman of the books who decries sexual exploitation, decries being treated like an object by men and whose primary sexual and romantic connection is a woman, we may be getting a different character. Would you not see it as condemnable if the woman of the books is turned into a woman who embraces being a sexual object, a woman that desperately wants a tough guy protecting her, a woman whose primary sexual and romantic connection is a man – in other words the very tropes that the late author was rejecting when he wrote the character of Salander.

I don’t think it is all that great a defense to offer up that maybe the poster is okay because the movie is going to reject the book’s characterization of Salander completely.


I’m still thinking about the post and the poster, but I must say I am fascinated by the people who’ve said, “Lizbeth would never pose for a poster like this.” I can honestly say that I’ve never thought of a movie poster in these terms. When I look at this poster, I imagine that they are standing in a bedroom, looking at another character, or out the window, or into the mirror. I don’t think the characters walked out of their story to pose for a poster!


None of us have seen the movie, so we’re not sure what the relationship is between those two characters. For all we know, the source material has been substantially changed. So until we know the details of this relationship between these two characters, we have no idea if the poster is accurate.

Whether it’s aesthetically pleasing is, of course, another matter. I’m just saying we don’t know if the shot represents their relationship in this specific film.

Howie A.

In reply to Faith who writes the following “The two main characters have an intense sexual connection (and happen to be portrayed by two attractive people); the poster simply capitalizes on that, so to me there’s some context as opposed to it being gratuitous.”

Faith, you have either not read the books or have created a fantasy revision of the books. I will go with the former because I cannot comprehend such a distorted analysis of the books. Blomqvist and Salander do not have an intense sexual connection. They are both people that have a lot of sexual flings. They also have sex with each other primarily because Salander feels isolated, bored, and likes having sex. She has sex with Blomqvist in which she is the dominant partner. It is in the first book and that is it. She does not have sex with him again and neither one is preoccupied with the other sexually. She does try to understand what her feelings towards him are and comes to recognize that it is platonic. This is important because up to that point she has difficulty comprehending that she can be friends with men who are not either geeks or very, very old.

One of the the more important points of the book is that Salander must realize she can trust certain people. Her journey with Salander is about friendship not sexual connection. The closing scene in the trilogy states she has no sexual or romantic attraction to him. Go pick up the final book and read the end if you doubt me.

She does have a sexual and romantic connection with someone. As anyone who has read the books knows, her sexual and romantic connection is with a woman named Mimmi. They have sex in all three books and at the end of the trilogy, Salander goes to Paris to make up with Mimmi and hint at a future together at some point if not yet due to Salander still getting past her hangups about romance. They then go back to Mimmi’s place to make love.

The other people here have read the books and that is why they are ticked. You seem to be defending something without understanding why it would be offensive. To enter a discussion without being uninformed is one thing. To distort the character is another. BTW, as described in the books, Blomqvist is hardly attractive in a Daniel Craig way.

Roy Watson

…and this comes as a surprise to the author of a blog entitled Women And Hollywood why, exactly?


From Faith: “(SEX SELLS! Whether we like it or not), and this one definitely does. The two main characters have an intense sexual connection (and happen to be portrayed by two attractive people)”

If “Sex Sells” and her being nude is okay because of their sexual connection, then why is he FULLY clothed? Shouldn’t he at least take off his jacket? After all, he is attractive, they do have sex in the Swedish version (and I have to assume the American one too) so why does he have nothing exposed? In the Swedish movie, he is more vulnerable than she allows herself to be.

Other posters have it right in that this is a ploy to get male moviegoers to go see the film; the shameless exploitation and out-of-character portrayal of the themes of book and film are in service of appealing to guys who like titties, not stories about women. (Note: the title of the book, as published in Sweden, translates to “Men Who Hate Women.” Joe Average Moviegoer is NOT going to line up for that flick.


i agree with you compleatly. this is a total slap in the face for the character lisbeth and also to stieg larsson who wrote the millenium books. it’s just sad. the swedish version was so good, why ruin it with a hollywoodversion? :(

Helen Hill

I am disappointed with whatever-the-hell David Fincher’s approach has been thus far. The teaser was horrible and gave no idea what the movie is really about. Now this poster. This is definitely looking like a sexed up movie to me, and detracting from really serious subject matter to boot.

I feel that the Swedish versions did such a wonderful job of portraying difficult material and characters. Noami Rapace was just the right person for the role of Lisbeth.

I have huge doubts about this new version. Perhaps they are sexing it up to make sure they get eyeballs in the theatre. Knowing American movie execs, producers and directors, that would not surprise me.

I will NOT be seeing this version. No sense ruining a great movie (the Swedish version) with a Hollywood-esque version that is a poor imitation.


The real story is why those atrocious, boring books were made into movies in the first place. I get that it’s because they sold a lot of copies, but that says more about people having horrible taste than anything else.

come on!

Since when has a movie poster showed a girl’s breasts straight up like that. Please! No, this isn’t porn, but the majority of posters agree this is not how Lisbeth should be portrayed. It’s not about her being nude it’s the tone that’s created by the nudity, (and the creepiness of the man behind her.)

Women loved this book, but instead of selling a great dramatic story the studio takes a smart, strong, female character and sexualizes the hell out her to sell more tickets.

Sure this is par for the course for sex driven Hollywood I was just hoping better for this series.


Porn? Really? You all keep talking about how “Lisbeth” would be outraged, but would she be pissed at the notion that a woman’s naked body must equal porn?

I saw the poster(s) after I read a bunch of outraged posted an when I finally saw it for myself my response was, “That’s what everyone is freaking out about? Huh.”

I must be seeing something else because I don’t see a romanticized poster about Blomkvist saving poor Lisbeth. I see a calm woman in control while a man is practically hiding behind her. Yes, I know she’s naked from the waist up, but I don’t think it’s a sexualized poster either.

And, yes, it’s gross that guys are writing that stuff about Mara, but internet weirdos are going to write depraved an gross things about female actors whether they are naked or not. While waiting for the Swedish film to get released here, I sure as hell came across a lot of gross stuff written about Noomi Rapace.


It is very depressing. To sex up someone who is sexually assaulted is a travesty. I feel we have so far to go. No wonder Fincher chose an unknown – it had to be someone who would say yes to anything and wouldn’t have enough ground to stand on to insist on what the character would do and try to uphold the whole point of the book.


A film/story dealing with the abuse of women, specifically the character featured, and this is the poster we get? Pierced nipples, an arm clamped across the chest? Intentional?


Honestly this seems like just such a stupid marketing ploy why on earth would she have to be topless, i’ve never read the books or seen the swedish originals, but is there ever a legitimate reason to have a half naked woman on a movie poster outside of porn.

Is Lisbeth not meant to be the main character it does seem like their promoting in a crappy manner of Daniel Craigs’ character being the macho hero taking care of the weak woman if thats what they’re pushing if thats what the US version has been turned into its sad.

There are to few strong enough independant female characters in thrillers.

No way

This poster was marketed for men! Fine. Sex sells….. The problem is women bought, read and fell in love with Lisbeth. And this dumbass poster targeting men jacked with the story and is not going to draw in women. I was excited when Daniel Craig was cast, but he looks AWFUL and OLD especially juxtaposed against Rooney. He lost his sexy and became pervy. And pervy does not indicate caring! This is about the GIRL! Now, that they went all in to get men butts in seats it lost me. Lisbeth would never do this. Way out of character. Wasn’t Bridesmaids an indication that women will pay to see movies outside of romcoms? Are they interested in getting the readers in seats? So many other ways to make this sexy for both men and women. This is NOT it. Cheap and lazy.


Honestly, I don’t have a problem with the poster. 1) Mikael/Craig having his arm around Lisbeth/Mara doesn’t read “protecting” her to me. The guy DOES CARE about her and they have a sexual relationship in addition to their working one. That’s how I read it–but for those not familiar with the books/films maybe it will read the way Melissa suggests. (?) 2) Lisbeth is a “risque” female character, especially for American audiences (heavily tattooed and pierced, smart, bisexual, physically able to kick your ass, etc). So it would make sense for Columbia to have a risque poster (even though this poster is the int’l version). 3) Like Gomez wrote earlier, the poster is supposed to get your attention (SEX SELLS! Whether we like it or not), and this one definitely does. The two main characters have an intense sexual connection (and happen to be portrayed by two attractive people); the poster simply capitalizes on that, so to me there’s some context as opposed to it being gratuitous. IMO there will be just as many women wishing they were Rooney Mara in that poster as there will be men wishing they were Daniel Craig with his arm draped over Mara’s chest. Hence, more butts in theater seats.


This is depressing to those of us that read the books because we loved the movies and could not get enough of Elizabeth Salander. The poster is all wrong. Elizabeth would never do a poster like the one David Finch has created. It makes me think he doesn’t get it. Finch doesn’t understand the appeal of this character. And he hasn’t done right by Craig either. That is not who Mikael Blomkvist is. I understand a lot of the sex in the books has been cut out. The Swedish films didn’t have all the sex either but they were made for television. Finch wants us to see her naked with rings through her nipples but cuts back on the sex in the film. But people around the world have fallen in love with Elizabeth Salander and everything I’ve seen makes me feel this waif is not Elizabeth. She does not come off as strong and in control. Her face is Goth but not with any strength behind the make up. Too bad, a lot of us will see this one hoping we are wrong but if it doesn’t deliver it will not be a trilogy.


Honestly, after David Fincher and the crew behind The Social Network so clearly showed their hatred of women in that movie, should we really be surprised?

I tentatively had made the decision to wait on Fincher’s movie rather than reading the books or seeing the Swedish versions. Now, I’m beginning to second guess my decision. Rooney Mara looks amazing in this pic, but if she’s not “supposed” to, as some of you have posited, I think I have a problem.


This poster was actually designed by David Fincher himself.

Therefore, the poster may actually reflect some parts of this film’s content and style.


This poster was actually designed by David Fincher himself.
Therefore, the poster may actually reflect some parts of this film’s content and style.


Those opposed are overreacting. It’s a smart move. You think The Black Swan would have been a huge hit had it not had a lesbian makeout scene between the two leads. I know I wouldn’t have seen it because it’s about ballet and who cares about that?


I hate everything about this poster. Lisbeth would never let Mikael hold her like that. She doesn’t need to be protected. Out of the two of them, SHE is the badass–not him. I don’t have a problem with nudity in films if it’s done right, and I had assumed with the rape and sex scenes in this movie, there would definitely be nudity in it. However, using nudity to MARKET the film is a different story. I’ve also been reading comments on other sites along the lines of “BOOBIES” and “now my arms hurts from jacking off so much,” etc. It disgusts me that this character is being objectified. Like the studio is worried that men won’t go see a movie about a GIRL unless they are going to see boobs. By the way, David Fincher shot these posters himself. And he was fighting to be able to use this poster. There was an article about it earlier during awards season. This makes me very nervous for the film.

sophia savage

Those marketing of this film assume that a semi-unknown female actress can’t carry the film without showing her tits and having a man backing her up (James Bond, no less). And even though Lisbeth is all about retaliating against men who hate women, male audiences still like the idea of her being treated like an object…and torture porn. Putting a man’s arm around a naked Lisbeth is negating the power she’s meant to have – it’s using her anger and sexual independence as a titillating turn-on rather than a source of power, and something to be feared. The poster obviously considers itself badass, but really it’s protecting its own balls by making Lisbeth an object. I’m excited but also really worried to see what Fincher did with this…I’m hoping the marketing does not reflect the film content. I’m a fan of Fincher and think the production quality of his Dragon Tattoo could be much better than the Swedish version, but this is not a good sign for how Lisbeth’s character has been approached. My gut tells me he knows better, and the poster is just to get people’s blood boiling.


the poster’s supposed to get your attention. It did. Who knows what a fictional character would want to be displayed as? She’s not real.

Scott Mendelson

When the first red-band trailer first ‘leaked’ a couple weeks ago, I immediately noticed that Sony was apparently going the ‘safe’ route and selling a standard ‘stern white guy solves a mystery’ narrative with barely a glance at the title character. Personally, I never thought the original films were all that good, and that much of the praise was merely due to the existence of a somewhat outside-the-box female co-lead. Having said that, it will be interesting to see how fans will react to a marketing campaign that, up to now, has either buried Salander or portrayed her as a frail naked girl in need of a strong man to protect her. I don’t believe that’s the movie that Fincher is making, but that’s (so far) what Sony is selling. Having said that, I still believe that Disney’s Tangled had one of the most overtly sexist marketing campaigns in modern history, but it was in the (successful) service of selling a genuinely feminist romantic adventure story that pretty much worked. So once the movie comes out, maybe all of this will be irrelevant.


Are you reading the posts correctly? No one has a problem with nudity. Did you read the book? We know Lisbeth is supposed to be flat-chested and tomboy like with the face of model. She is a sexual character, but only on her terms and she is incredibly private. This poster reeks of protective perverted old man getting his needs met with a free-spirited young punk. Lisbeth would not be down with this. What would be better is to have Lisbeth full clothed behind him with her arm draped over his naked body. Because of her past she decides when and where. This is gross.

Sean Ezekiel

I think you are a littl to sensitive to nudity. I think the poster speaks volumes. There were other oscar calibur actresses who were turned down for the role because theier breats were larger and they thought it would over sexualize the character. They have this in mind.

what the hell?

The poster was bad enough before by implying HE is protecting HER, but now THIS! I have no problem with nudity, but this is OUT of character and gratuitous! Depressing.

MJ Slide

I pretty much lost it when i saw this poster. Honestly, its so out of character of Salander I don’t know why it struck them as a good idea. Like you said, she’s an incredibly private person, and for good reason, suffering the amount of sexual abuse she has gone through there’s no way in hell she’d ever go topless for a photo, let alone for Mikeal with his arms around her, That one scene after they made love and he wants to remain close to her bur she orders him to go sleep in another bed stands out in my mind. This is so uncharacteristic it makes me sick. Hollywood is doing a grand job of fu*cking things up already.

Jihad Punk

she looks like a Suicide Girls model. Ewww.

but, thanks for putting down my thoughts in this post. The poster bothered me, but I wasn’t sure why, and now I understand.

Lisbeth Salander (if she was real) would never consent to that poster, and I get the impression that she’d never wanted to be displayed as a Suicide Girls model. Gross.

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