Friday, December 16, 2011

ABC Gets It (Almost) Right

ABC did a piece on the Dragon Tattoo story today, and unlike some of the other ones, they actually took the time to speak to me first.  The story is actually quite balanced and true, except for the line:

"My fear is that people will watch the film and have this impression of the heroine and what she endured to be that person."

It doesn't really make sense (even if I said it,) but what I intended was, I fear that people who see her as a heroine WON'T think about what she endured to get that way.

You can read the whole piece here

There's a column coming out in the Toronto Sun on Sunday, and I'm hoping that's the end of it.  But I wanted to answer the comments and be black and white on what I actually said and didn't say.  So:

This is not an attack on how you or anyone dresses.

This is not an attack on H&M, or on the film.  I LIKED the film (the original Swedish version, anyway).

I'm simply questioning the association of a line of clothing with a victim of childhood abuse and rape, who exacts violent revenge.  I found it to be negative; a thoughtless marketing ploy.  That's all.  I wanted people to think about why Lisbeth does what she does, before they choose to emulate her.  I questioned it, and I proposed that others question it, too.

For doing that, I've been attacked, and some of these attacks have come from people who were also raped - which I find really painful and difficult.  I know they are in pain, and that they are angry. And yet they're responding as if I attacked them personally - their life experience, how they dress, how they feel.  That is not what I set out to do.

This was an opinion piece, based on my emotions and judgement.  Most importantly, I NEVER said that H&M is trying to glamorize rape.  I said they are glamorizing the rage and fear that sexual violence leaves behind.

One last thing to the people who claim I'm doing this to draw attention to myself: believe me, this is the last thing on earth I want to draw attention to.  I made this message public, and I feel it's my responsibility to follow through with it.  But every time I check my e-mail or my twitter feed my heart pounds, and often I'm left shaking and deeply upset.  I'm having to defend not just my opinion, but my opinion as a rape survivor.  That's not fun.  It's actually pretty horrible.

Try to remember that before you put me down.


  1. Hi Natalie. You were very brave in sharing your story in voicing this opinion. It is media and marketing that make up the minds of the eager to be like everyone else and the easily swayed youth. Give them edgy rape-chic and that will be the trend to wear.
    You go girl!

  2. Just know for every person who puts you down, there are so many more who appreciate your perspective, and courage for giving voice to it. Truly.

  3. I'm so proud of you. As a person. and most especially as a woman. You can only speak for yourself, in the end, and that's what you did.

    There's no need to explain anything else.

    I tip my hat to you, buddy.


  4. good morning natalie, Im a greek woman and mother of two girls 25 and 23 y old. I read your opinion in TF1 site. You are very brave. I hope you beleive that the most people in greece are very kind and not at all what this monster did to you. the problem with the lateness of the greek justice is our problem too. i hope everything will go right.

  5. Thank you so much, ladies. I really appreciate your words. And Maro, I know there are very many good-hearted Greeks. I married one of them! Thank you for letting me know about TF1 and for your kind thoughts.

  6. Hi Natalie,
    I agree with this "I wanted people to think about why Lisbeth does what she does, before they choose to emulate her."
    I think there're always going to be marketers (whether of clothes or something else) who will be quick to jump on something that's popular.

  7. Dear Natalie,

    The degenerative nature and very soul of the majority of our modern culture is alive and well: H&M saw something that would make money and all else (common sense and decency and sensitivity to related issues) are shelved in the never tiring hunt for cash.

    I completely see your point and agree. God bless.

  8. This "story" is getting way too much attention. I'm sorry for what you went through, but people like you are over-sensitive to everything.

    I mean, the mother who loses a child to a drunk driver is going to complain about every movie, book, or other piece of fiction that has a drinking scene without an explicit public service message saying how bad drinking is.

    We get it. Rape is wrong, and 100% of us know it...even the rapists know it.

    I commend you for coming out and speaking your mind, but I commend H&M even more for not putting up with "political correctness" and moving on with their clothing line despite this "bad" press coverage they're getting.

  9. Dear GDT,

    I'm sorry you feel the need to minimize and label this story as coming from "people like me," since we've never met.

    And I wouldn't be surprised if a mother who lost her child to a drunk driver complained about a clothing line inspired by a child who is killed by a drunk driver in a movie.

    To call this "political correctedness" is another label. My goal was to get people to think before they bought and wore the clothing. It appears that you have, and for that I'm glad. Thanks for weighing in on the discussion.

  10. Hello Natalie. I respectively disagree with you. First and foremost, you are making rape victims out to be just rape victims. Lisbeth Salander is also an investigator and a fighter. For you to ignore that and focus on the rape factor is so incredibly offensive and degrades rape victims and even women who aren't. Secondly, this is PC gone way too far. If a dealership sold her motorcycle would they be glorifying rape? If a salon advertised her haircut are they glorifying rape? Rape was just an aspect of the movie. It's about an investigation and critical thought. I am in no way impugning you or any other victim. I am simply saying that you are more than that and so is the girl with the dragon tattoo.

  11. Okay, for comment number three I've left tonight. I had no idea what a huge-stirring your opinions have made. I think that's remarkable, even though it does seem to be at times, unpleasant or even painful for you. You go! Here I was thinking I was one of a few who'd read your thoughts...after reading this post, I felt a wee bit embarrassed for all the things I wrote in response to your open letter. This post cleared up any questions I had about your opinions and now I am just filled with admiration for your bravery and clarity in your ability to ask consumers to examine their aesthetic preferences more fully.