How to transform yourself into Lisbeth Salander

Over the Halloween season, I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few costume-heavy parties. After the realisation came to me that I actually had to ‘dress up’ for these events, I realised I needed a kick-ass costume that was easy on maintenance, and high on ‘scare’ factor. Enter: Lisbeth Salander.

In case you’ve never heard of her, Lisbeth Salander is the main character of the ‘Millenium’ series of books, the most popular of which is ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’. Two films were created, based on the book: one in its native Sweden, and the second out of the US.

The actresses who played Lisbeth in the Swedish and American versions of these films were Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mana, respectively. You can see them here:

I based my costume more around the Swedish version of Lisbeth – mostly because I think that Noomi’s portrayal is amazing, but also because it was a bit easier to achieve when considering my hair and eyebrows (I was not going to bleach or cut anything).

Let the transformation begin!

BEFORE: No make up, hair relatively frizzy, minus the ‘clothes’ part of the costume.

STEP ONE: Wet and then braid hair. I sectioned my hair off into two chunks, divided by the side part. I then pinned up the top section on my right side, in order to later ‘drape’ it over my face.

After doing this, I braided the two chunks of hair towards the back of my head, and then tucked them up and pinned them. From a distance, it almost looked as though I’d shaved my head, which was the intended effect.

STEP TWO: Apply liberal amounts of eyeliner. Just keep piling the stuff on.

Chuck on as much foundation as you like, and then powder over that. Try and make yourself as pale as possible (I didn’t have very much ‘pale’ make up, but I’m sure you can go out and buy some if you’re super-motivated).

STEP THREE: Apply approximately 543, 289 coats of eye shadow in grey, or black, or dark brown. Can you see how thrilled I am about the eye make up? But in all seriousness, you need a few coats. And then you’ll probably have to re-apply the eye shadow over the top of that.

STEP FOUR: Apply black lipstick. FUUUUN! I always like this bit. I couldn’t actually find decent black lipstick, so I made do with a black eyeliner pencil. It stayed on much better than lipstick, so it may be the easier (and cheaper) way to go.

STEP FIVE: Chuck on your costume. You’ll need whatever ripped black clothes you own, plus a pair of boots. I already owned the shirt, the cardigan, ripped jeans and some combat boots – but it would have been nice to have a leather jacket! The only thing I had to purchase was the dog collar.

STEP SIX: Apply piercings. Great if you already have all these piercings – and if not, you can buy a pack of 10 off eBay for about $6. Super cheap, and really easy to use.

STEP SEVEN: Go out and frighten the masses. You’ve earned it.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie posters – are you serious?

This series is one of my very favourite book trilogies. A bit predictable, given my views on men and women, but nonetheless I adored the original books – from the Swedish setting, to the character of Lisbeth Salander, right down to book’s themes of highlighting how “men hate women” (in case you’re wondering, that’s the title of the original book in Swedish).

In saying that, I have so many problems with how the current American version of the film was marketed to the English-speaking public. That’s what I’m tackling this issue, rugby-style, today – it’s been niggling at me ever since I saw the film a few nights ago.

The Film Posters:

Firstly, a comparison. Here are two of the Swedish versions:









And here are two of the American/international versions:








The differences are blatantly obvious. Particularly so in how they play on the dynamics between Lisbeth and Mikael. Firstly, looking at how Lisbeth and Mikael are positioned in the second Swedish poster – she’s in the foreground, gazing directly into the camera, and looks a lot more confronting than Mikael, who’s just chilling out on a chair in the background. She’s crouched, alert, and dare I say, ready to pounce. In the first Swedish poster, she’s staring straight out into the camera, with just a hint of aggression on her face. Not even a hint of sexuality.

If you jump straight from these posters to the first poster in the American/International series, you’d almost be forgiven for thinking it was a completely different storyline. But nope, that’s the very same Lisbeth Salander- albeit, one with less clothes.

I’m not sure if the people marketing the American version got the memo about Lisbeth Salander not liking to be touched, and the very graphic rape scenes in the book – but I’m going to take an educated guess that they either don’t know, or don’t care. Because why else would they have put her in a poster, naked, in a very submissive, ‘protected’ pose?

Rooney Mara said this about the poster:

There’s a certain way people are used to seeing nude women, and that’s in a submissive, coy pose, not looking at the camera. And in this poster, I’m looking dead into the camera with no expression on my face. I think it freaks a lot of people out.”

You know what wouldn’t be a submissive, coy pose? One in which she’s not some weird cross between a stranglehold and a protective arm placed across her by Daniel Craig. One in which she actually looks something besides passive, or at the very least, neutral. Give me the Lisbeth Salander holding a golf club, or a gun, or riding a motor cycle any day.  Because I’m sure as hell not identifying with the one with ‘no expression’ on her face. The only thing that freaks me out here is how she magically lost her clothes.

And for all the people out there that argue that Rooney isn’t sexualised in this pose, let me ask you a question: why doesn’t Daniel Craig also have his clothes off?

Because he’s an older man (albeit, an attractive one). He isn’t a young, sexy woman with her nipple pierced.

I’ll probably carry this into another post, because there’s quite a bit I’d like to say about the entire series (books, and films), and I won’t be able to do it justice all in one hit.