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"Somebody'd get a fat lip if they called me Pippi Longstocking": Gender, Sex and Red Hair in Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Riedlinger, Elise LU (2011) LIVR41 20111
English Studies
Master's Programme: Literature - Culture - Media
Abstract
In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson depicts a fiery, independent and highly sexual protagonist in the character of Lisbeth Salander. While many readers fail to notice the subtle reference to Lisbeth’s natural red hair, this quality, along with Larsson’s admittance that his inspiration originated from Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, situates Lisbeth in a long tradition of redheaded women who have been stereotyped as highly intelligent, strong, adventurous and passionate. This thesis explores the cultural and literary background of such stereotypes, tracing the image of the redheaded woman back to biblical interpretations and Renaissance paintings. Using Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, the ways in which... (More)
In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson depicts a fiery, independent and highly sexual protagonist in the character of Lisbeth Salander. While many readers fail to notice the subtle reference to Lisbeth’s natural red hair, this quality, along with Larsson’s admittance that his inspiration originated from Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, situates Lisbeth in a long tradition of redheaded women who have been stereotyped as highly intelligent, strong, adventurous and passionate. This thesis explores the cultural and literary background of such stereotypes, tracing the image of the redheaded woman back to biblical interpretations and Renaissance paintings. Using Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, the ways in which both Lisbeth and Pippi subvert their gender expectations is also discussed, and Lisbeth’s vibrant sexuality in seen as a continuation of her independence and fearlessness. Finally, this paper takes on charges of Larsson’s misogyny, in an overall attempt to establish Lisbeth Salander as a strong, feminist character and a continuation of the subversive role so commonly assigned to redheaded women. (Less)
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author
Riedlinger, Elise LU
supervisor
organization
course
LIVR41 20111
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
gender, red hair, sexuality, Stieg Larsson, Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren, Lisbeth Salander, redheads
language
English
id
2025491
date added to LUP
2011-08-31 13:51:30
date last changed
2011-10-03 12:20:11
@misc{2025491,
  abstract     = {In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson depicts a fiery, independent and highly sexual protagonist in the character of Lisbeth Salander. While many readers fail to notice the subtle reference to Lisbeth’s natural red hair, this quality, along with Larsson’s admittance that his inspiration originated from Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, situates Lisbeth in a long tradition of redheaded women who have been stereotyped as highly intelligent, strong, adventurous and passionate. This thesis explores the cultural and literary background of such stereotypes, tracing the image of the redheaded woman back to biblical interpretations and Renaissance paintings. Using Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, the ways in which both Lisbeth and Pippi subvert their gender expectations is also discussed, and Lisbeth’s vibrant sexuality in seen as a continuation of her independence and fearlessness. Finally, this paper takes on charges of Larsson’s misogyny, in an overall attempt to establish Lisbeth Salander as a strong, feminist character and a continuation of the subversive role so commonly assigned to redheaded women.},
  author       = {Riedlinger, Elise},
  keyword      = {gender,red hair,sexuality,Stieg Larsson,Pippi Longstocking,Astrid Lindgren,Lisbeth Salander,redheads},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {"Somebody'd get a fat lip if they called me Pippi Longstocking": Gender, Sex and Red Hair in Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo},
  year         = {2011},
}