Violence Against Women Is a Global Pandemic – The Feminist Wire

Violence Against Women Is a Global Pandemic

By Soraya Chemaly, TFW special correspondent, feminist satirist and media critic

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Violence against women is a global pandemic? Like H1N1? Like in Contagion? No way. Think of your instinctive response to the idea of a worldwide bio-terror — that’s what your response should be to the normalized level of violence against women around the world. Because, here’s the thing: women are not a special interest group and fighting for the ability to live without violence is not a pet project.

Think I’m exaggerating, don’t you? Until I became aware of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which kicked off on November 25, I might have thought so, too. That’s because we, as a culture, embrace the glamourization of misogyny instead of considering its ill effects and trying to change norms. As far as collective awareness goes, we’d rather pass — sexy is so much more fun than sad.

Case in point: anyone else find it interesting that the 16 Days campaign is bookended by the releases ofBreaking Dawn, a movie that pivots on male/female violence, love, pain, sex and death and Girl with a Dragon Tattoo?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is not the original name of the series, the title was changed for the English language market from Men Who Hate Women. Steig Larsson’s trilogy, packed with explicit scenes of sadistic gender-based violence, is a global female vigilante revenge fantasy against male perpetrators of rape, trafficking and murder. The story, which features a man-repellant protaganist, was not originally designed to glamorize violence against women — hence the original name, which was simple and honest. However, the intent has been subverted by the name change and at least the initial marketing of the American version of the film, which Melissa Silverstein, founder of Women and Hollywood, described as the “pornification of Lisbeth Sander” when the first poster for the movie featured a naked, nipple-pierced, Mara Rooney as the violent and distinctly not stereotypically female heroine, being protectively embraced by a scowling Daniel Craig (whom I actually love for his cross-dressing We are Equals campaign).

The original name left nothing to the imagination or interpretation. Was the blunt and accurate title, with it’s unsettling and intense misogyny, too harsh, too indicting, too real?

Was “hate” too strong a word? Think there aren’t men who really hate women or think of them, because they are not male, as subhuman, which makes violence somehow more acceptable or inevitable? Maybe you think this is a third world problem, a race or a class specific problem? I know that there are readers who will immediately assume that I’m condemning all men for the actions of a few. In any of these cases, you might want to consider these statistics*:

To continue reading, visit The Huffington Post.