noomi_rapace_lisbethBadass Femmes is a bi-weekly column written by So from So’s Reel Thoughts about all the Badass Females in pop culture that shaped her life.

Cat-calling, being forced to smile or unwanted advances are just a few of the unavoidable, shitty things that happen to women on a daily basis. Some might argue a few of these as flattering, but in the eyes of a woman, most are the unwanted perks of living in an overwhelmingly sexist environment. In times like these, I ask myself, “What Would Lisbeth Salander Do (WWLSD)? As one of the most influential and powerful female characters in pop culture (at least in my eyes), the Swedish Millennium Series’ Lisbeth defies all conventions in societal beauty, behavior and status quo when it comes to being a woman. When I first watched the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I was enamored by her uncompromising attitude towards a world that offered her no favors. Through her sharp temperament and cool demeanor, Lisbeth is a Badass Femme that urges women and men all over the world to never hide who they are to themselves and others, a survivor in every definition of the term.

Lisbeth’s singular identity is one that is formed both inside and out. When she’s first introduced in the Swedish films, actress Noomi Rapace sports an a-line hairline and undercut, jet black lipstick and ripped clothes, chained platforms, and a choker and piercings to top it off. The first glance of her is a startling contrast to the pristine and corporate environment of her security work place. Her DGAF and blunt attitude towards people is commanding and follows through from her intimidating fashion sense. At 24 years young, she is a world class computer hacker with a photographic memory, a fine example of everything I wanted to be at the age of 19. I too had been sporting a closet full of black attire from the combat boots to the short cut but the only thing I hadn’t adopted from Lisbeth was her cutthroat dominance. Would I be able to embrace and exude her alpha-female attitude after being beaten by society’s unjust ways like she had? I guess only time could tell.

Whether it’s getting attacked by random men in the subway, being raped by a “trusted” guardian or shunned by society because of her dark past, Lisbeth continues to overcome life-threatening obstacles through piercing courage, perseverance, and unwavering control. As hard as she is hit by life’s worst battles, she comes back tenfold, bigger and harder, ready to knock down the enemy to a pulp no matter who they are. You could, argue that Lisbeth’s lifestyle choices put her in danger, but that’s what is so great about her – she’s an outcast by choice. Her indestructible confidence and courage is admirable and there are so few characters like her.

It was Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Harvard History professor who penned the phrase, “well-behaved women seldom make history”, and it couldn’t be more true in Lisbeth’s case. No one in pop culture seems to have influenced my philosophy, fashion choices, and essence as much as Lisbeth has; in her career, perspective, temper, and even sexuality, Salander is in the driver’s seat the entire time. Thank god for a heroine that freely refuses to succumb to society’s standard of beauty and gender. No matter how scary it was for me to begin standing up for myself (in fear of being called a bitch or potentially getting killed – seriously), I have Lisbeth’s courage to thank through trials and tribulations. Now I can stand my ground against the face of danger, channeling my inner Lisbeth even if it makes people feel uncomfortable – and I think that’s pretty badass.


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