My husband and I are gleefully plowing through the film version of Stieg Larsson‘s series about Swedish hacker and fugitive, Lisbeth Salander.  Last night we got to the last story in which Salander goes to trial for attempted murder (for those of you who haven’t read/seen it, don’t worry, no spoilers here).
To give you some background, Salander is considered by many to be mentally deranged and a menace to society.  So when she shows up for her first day in court looking like a scary punk rocker — mohawk, black lipstick, torn leather pants and all — my husband says aloud: “What’s she doing?!”  Her look totally reaffirms the image already created by her enemies!
Ah, but to me it’s clear what she’s up to.  The character is small and skinny, almost child-like.  So, to instill some self-confidence, she wakes up hours early in her jail cell to don this absurd costume because it makes her feel powerful.  Like so many of us, her clothing, hair and make-up don’t just send signals to others about who we are, but, more importantly, they communicate something to ourselves.  They confirm our sensibilities and values, and can even alter our emotions, making us feel happier, sexier, more confident (pick your adjective) than before.
Aren’t clothes and make-up great?!  Now I just have to put my money where my mouth is and get some new things for my wardrobe…whoopie!

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