What about the implants?

What do you think about the breast implants? I don’t think that was necessary, she didn’t strike me as someone who would care about that.

Posted by Petra in Kempten , 20 November 2010

By Editor

33 thoughts on “What about the implants?”
  1. it did seem a bit odd but I just chalked it up to another quirk of unpredictabiliy on Lisbeth’s part. The films chose to avoid the subject all together.

    Posted by john S. in minneapolis ,

  2. I agree, it seemed odd, but then getting a plastic chest has always seemed odd to me. But, it occurred to me that given the pedophilia of Teleborian, maybe Salander got sick of looking like a child. But this isn’t spelled out in the book, just my thought.

    Posted by Margaret in Portland ,

  3. Here’s my thoughts:

    All through the books, Larsson plays on our preconceptions, first allowing us to judge the ‘baddies’ for doing something wrong, then turning it on its head by making the ‘goodies’ do it. If one of the baddies were a womaniser, who slept with a married woman who had been into S M, we would be judging them for all we’re worth and yet, that’s our male protagonist.

    Similarly, we would judge women for having breast implants, but by allowing Lisbeth to get them, Larsson is again turning around preconceptions by almost saying ‘all things in their context’ and that sometimes, even the most pigeonholed actions are OK.

    Also, I think there’s a big thing by Larsson, on how although we all agree that Lisbeth is doing the Right Thing by standing up and making no compromise, that isn’t who she would choose to be. When she is suddenly rich, we see that she tries to just be a normal girl who isn’t fighting the System, or being Radical – she is only doing what is Right because it’s what she’s forced to do. I think that breast implants falls in with her tattoo removals, her grown hair, a swanky appartment and her falling in love.

    Posted by Kaylie in Cambridge ,

  4. I agree, just reread the parts when she looks at herself and when Mimi wants to see them. Her self image improves tremendously

    Posted by Mona in Hawaii ,

  5. I was annoyed at first, thinking perhaps that Larsson was kowtowing to leading lady stereotypes, but the more I read, the less I believe that. Maybe the implants are a replacement for the tattoos and piercings – a new kind of self-expression. Kaylie in Cambridge explored this well. One doesn’t have to look radical to be radical.

    Posted by Irma in Oklahoma ,

  6. They really didn’t say much about them, maybe more was planned for later books. I think it made her feel good, just like the tattoos did at one time.

    Posted by Sammy in Pittsburgh, PA ,

  7. As a woman who is very private and decided to get implants in her late 20’s I thought I would respond as well. Like the character Lisbeth, I too am very small, short and childlike in terms of my physical stature. Although I have always been pretty happy with myself inside and out generally speaking, I just decided one day to get small implants. It wasn’t really a choice based on vanity (need for approval) or insecurity since I never had any complaints or real hang ups. I didn’t obsess or think about for a long time… I just did it. I don’t feel the need to discuss the issue and I never do, except for today on this post. My family and 2 best friends know but no one else notices because it is not obvious and is no one’s business at the end of the day. I was waiting for Blomkvist to notice but if it’s not dramatic it’s hard to pinpoint. I do feel like i’ve grown into my body as an adult.

    I guess it is a little vain, but honestly I forget I ever did it and I don’t think about it much unless the topic comes up and I think to myself “oh yeah, I did that, I have breast implants.” Otherwise, I don’t pay it much attention. It was something I did and I don’t think its interesting or conversation worthy….it just feels like me now. I am still smaller than many women at a 34 B but I feel more feminine than I used to. I was afraid that it was really superficial to do but I went with how I felt, not with what I thought others would think.Maybe Lisbeth was like me and decided to do what she felt was best for her and not think about what others thought. Its hard to relate to unless you’re in the position and based on her physical features, I get it and so did Larsson. It really did make ME feel better. If I didn’t tell you about it, you would never know. At the risk of sounding indulgent, I do actually do feel more like myself and I feel more feminine rather than androgenous. I don’t feel 12 anymore. S

    Posted by susan in ontario ,

  8. lisbethis ashamed of her skinny body, wanted a more presentable & acceptable body, imo.

    Posted by kristin in winchester ,

  9. I don’t think it was out of character at all. Lisbeth is a sexual creature after all, it does not seem out of place that she would want to do something like that since it may improve her sexual image of herself. I don’t think she did it for anyone but herself.

    Posted by Jill in Vancouver ,

  10. i dont think it was “replacing” her tattoos……. she still had them all except the wasp on her neck— which she only got removed as it is easily identifiable….. the books never say she no longer likes her tattoos/they no longer made her feel ‘good’, etc.

    Posted by jeska in nyc ,

  11. But you know, in the 2nd book, Miriam Wu tells Salander that she’s obsessed with her body (Salander). So I guess Salander cares about the way she looks.

    Posted by SalanderFTW in Somewhere, Croatia ,

  12. The book says the implants were “two solid, round breasts of medium size. The enlargement had been well done, and the proportions were reasonable.” (Played With Fire, pg. 17). Boy, if I had her money I would want to have a reduction to make my breasts reasonable and proportional. I am also 4′ 11?, but unfortunately, I am top-heavy. Perhaps it is hard to understand how you are perceived by others, depending on your breast size. I have often been approached by others as either dim-witted or over-sexed because I have a large chest. It’s exceedingly annoying.

    Posted by Rose in Indiana ,

  13. It’s clear from many of Salander’s thoughts and reactions that before the implants she does have some body image issues. It doesn’t stop her from doing the things she does or being the person she is but constantly having others treat you like a child because of how you look must start to get pretty old.

    It’s interesting that Teleborian didn’t comment on it at any stage of the trial and considering Salander had avoided Blomkvist for two years, he hadn’t really been in a position to notice the change.

    I’ve had friends who’ve had either implants or reductions. They didn’t have low self esteem or distorted body images but they certainly feel more comfortable in their own skin after the surgery.

    Posted by Lyn in Auckland ,

  14. I felt is was one more way Lisbeth was expressing her new found sense of adulthood. It’s relative to the buying of her new apartment and filling it with IKEA furniture. Spare bedrooms she will never use. By getting the implants she was starting a new chapter in her life, she had money, now it was time to say goodbye to the skinny, unatractive body she had been so self conscious of .

    Posted by Mickey in Indianapolis ,

  15. More likely it was that the person Larsson based Salander on also got implants. It doesn’t really figure in the plot as a whole. It’s just Steig honoring a memory.

    Posted by Gregor in Los Angeles ,

  16. The passage that answers this question is right before she was going to have sex with Blomkvist for the first time.

    “The hardest thing for her was to show herself naked to another person for the first time. She was convinced that her skinny body was repulsive. Her breasts were pathetic. She has no hips to speak of. She did not have much to offer. Apart from that she was a quite normal woman, with the same desires and sex drive as every other woman.”

    – page 433, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    Posted by Ivonne in Rockledge ,

  17. Don’t forget that she was trying to create a new identity. Her hiding place was a swanky address – which would be the last place people would look. She removed her visible neck tattoo and got breast implants and different clothes. She was quite adept at creating new identities.

    Posted by Kate in BC ,

  18. The poor girl had been mistreated all her life – the implants were a little treat she gave herself because, as indicated in the second book, she viewed them as so small as to be a kind of deformity. And maybe it was also a literary device to remind us that she has vulnerabilites – and to add another dimension to her character. She’s an anarchist punk, sure – but she’s also a woman with feelings and a keen sense of her own sexuality.

    Posted by Lee in seville ,

  19. In Dragon Tattoo, when she finishes stealing all the money in Switzerland (?) the only parts of her disguises she keeps are the latex breasts and the Passport for her identity she uses when the IKEA men deliver her furniture. She rather liked the latex breasts. If you enjoy a change to your body that much, I can see how implants would be more convenient in the long run than putting on latex breasts every morning.

    Posted by L in USA ,

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