On the Millennium Trilogy

Sadistic Pigs, Perverts, and Rapists

Sexism in Sweden

By Wind Goodfriend, Ph.D.

The world is full of bad people in various forms: sadists, murderers, pedophiles, sex traffickers, and rapists top many people’s lists for the worst criminals against humanity. While these crimes can be found in every country around the world, some cultures have more than their fair share of perpetrators. If one examines the psychology behind the actions of the people on this list, a common theme emerges: sexism. Sexism is not just a theme in these crimes; it’s also one of the most pervasive themes in the Millennium series. Lisbeth Salander, the trilogy’s main character, has been surrounded and suffocated by sexism for her entire life.

Sexism in Sweden

Most readers of this essay are familiar with sexism in the United States, but the Millennium trilogy isn’t set in the US or written by a US citizen; it’s set in Sweden, and was written by a Swedish author. In 2010, Amnesty International and the European Union produced a report, called “Case Closed,” identifying troubling statistics about sexual crimes in several European countries.1 The very first lines of this report state, “Sexual violence against women and girls is a worldwide phenomenon. There are no countries where women live free of the threat of such violence and no class or group of women is exempt from its destructive effects.” According to “Case Closed,” Sweden is the rape capital of Europe; there are forty-six reports of rape for every 100,000 Swedish citizens. This is twice the rate in the United Kingdom, and four times the  …

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