Study Guide

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Gender

By Stieg Larsson

Gender

Modig cocked her head. Zalachenko's answers were much more aggressive and hostile when she asked the questions. (3.31)

Zalachenko seems to despise all women and doesn't even try to hide it. When Modig begins questioning him, he can't even maintain a civil tone.

"I can understand why you'd want to quit this madhouse – but to be the head of Sweden's most turgid old-boy newspaper? That's going to take some time to sink in." (3.123)

As Blomkvist observes, being a woman is not a plus at SMP. The men on the board hired her as editor in chief, but they have no intention of giving her any real control.

If he could have screwed the whore without beating her up every time, that would have been one thing, but Zalachenko was guilty of repeated assault against his girlfriend. (5.131)

This thought is from Gullberg's point of view. That he views Salander's mother as a whore suggests that he has about as much use for women as Zalachenko does. The fact that he protects Zalachenko when he beats women is strong evidence.

"You're wrong. You're a lawyer and you're a recognized authority on women's rights. In my considered view, you're precisely the lawyer she needs." (6.36)

Blomkvist seems to think that Salander could use a women's rights lawyer. Why do you think that is? What about her case makes Blomkvist's sister, Giannini, well suited to represent Salander.

"Let's see if you understand this message. If it happens again I'm going to relieve you of your job as news editor. You'll hear bang-boom, and then you'll find yourself editing the family page or the comics or something like that." (10.127)

Berger talks tough to all the boys at SMP, defying many of the expectations they have of their female editor in chief.

Without actually uttering a single inappropriate word, they displayed an attitude that was so antediluvian it was almost comical. You shouldn't worry your pretty head over complex matters, little girl. (11.107)

"Antediluvian" means "before the flood" – the guys at SMP are really stuck in the dark ages when it comes to women, and they use her gender as an excuse to discount her ideas.

"I notice that quite a few men get interested, but then they start challenging me and looking for ways to dominate me. Especially if the discover I'm a policewoman." (18.301)

Figuerola confides to Blomkvist that men are threatened by her because she doesn't conform the their expectations of what a woman should be like.

Why the hell had this group of boys hired Berger at all, if all they did was tear her limb to limb? (21.13)

From reading SMP correspondence, Salander gleans that the men at SMP didn't hire Berger for her brains. They shoot down every idea she has.

He reminded himself that she was a lesbian and consequently not a real woman. (21.147)

Hans Faste is the Stockholm policeman who despises Salander for no good reason. His point of view shows little respect for or sensitivity toward women in general, and especially for women.

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