Fragile Women
Experiences, Opinions

Fragile Women

An Interview with Mathilda Gustavsson
Paulina Małochleb
time 11 minutes

A Swedish journalist undertook an investigation that shook the Swedish Academy, caused a scandal and provoked one of the biggest debates in recent years in Sweden. Mathilda Gustavsson, author of The Club: A Chronicle of Power and Abuse at the Heart of the Nobel Scandal, talks to us about the investigation, Jean-Claude Arnault’s rape victims, and her own position. She spoke to Paulina Małochleb.

Paulina Małochleb: When the scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein’s actions erupted, the editorial office of Dagens Nyheter started looking for a similar affair in Sweden. Why did you choose to look into the gossip around Jean-Claude Arnault?

Mathilda Gustavsson: Because the gossip was vague, but we kept hearing it from different sources. 10 years ago, when I still lived in a small town, a friend from Stockholm had told me about Forum club—I was very envious that he was going to a place where he could meet so many famous faces from world of literature; that he could visit some amazing exhibitions. I wanted to go to that club too, but he immediately warned me that the artistic director, Jean-Claude Arnault, liked to touch up his assistants. So when the #MeToo movement started to grow in strength, I decided to check what lay behind those rumours. I think many journalists all over the world, both male and female, wondered whether something similar might be happening in their environment, if men like Harvey Weinstein were active there too. At first, I thought something like that could never happen in Sweden, because we’re too small, open, modern, democratic a country. But then I remembered those rumours.

What did you discover during your investigation?

First and foremost, that the gossip was just a faint echo of what really happened, because Arnault didn’t just molest his victims, he also raped many of them. He ran a literary-music club, it attracted many artists, male writers and young, aspiring female


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A Witch in Princess’s Robes
Mona Chollet. Photo by Mathieu Zazzo

A Witch in Princess’s Robes

An Interview with Mona Chollet
Paulina Małochleb

French essayist and writer Mona Chollet, author of the book Sorcières – La puissance invaincue des femmes [Witches: The Undefeated Power of Women] talks about why women should be sorceresses, the history of persecution of women, and contemporary culture, which is still discriminatory.

Paulina Małochleb: Your book says that at bottom, our society hasn’t really evolved since the 16th century, and though the forms of violence have changed, witch hunts are still organized.

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