Hello! Welcome to the blog of the WCC - a feminist mental health and social action organization.
April 01, 2010
Feminist Government Bans the Exposure of Nordic Nipples!
Johanna Sigurdardottir, Iceland's prime minister and the world's first openly lesbian head of state, has led the government, along with backing from its strong female parlimentary officials and large number of women's movement participants, to close down Iceland's sex industry.
As the Guardian reported in the article "Iceland: the world's most feminist country," what is even more impressive [than just banning sex work is that] the Nordic state is the first country in the world to ban stripping and lapdancing for feminist, rather than religious, reasons. Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir, the politician who first proposed the ban, firmly told the national press on Wednesday: "It is not acceptable that women or people in general are a product to be sold." When I asked her if she thinks Iceland has become the greatest feminist country in the world, she replied: "It is certainly up there. Mainly as a result of the feminist groups putting pressure on parliamentarians. These women work 24 hours a day, seven days a week with their campaigns and it eventually filters down to all of society. Guðrún Jónsdóttir, a participant in the anti-sexual violence campaign, was quoted as saying that she is confident that the law will create a change in attitudes towards women. 'I guess the men of Iceland will just have to get used to the idea that women are not for sale.'
Is this, however, really a feminist decision? There is at least one other school of feminists, particulary liberal feminists who would object to such a ban. Grassroot groups such as COYOTE (call off your old tired ethics) were founded for all sex workers to support the rights of sex workers in their work, and to promote, among other things, sex education for the workers, their clients, and the general public. Here in Philadelphia we are fortunate to have Project Safe, an organization also dedicated to the advocacy and empowerment for the basic human rights of women working in the sex work industry. Again, women find themselves in the middle of centuries-long debate! Take a look at this snippet of video of a debate in action.