Thursday, March 19, 2009

No place for the sex industry in Iceland


















'Prostitution is violence' - Icelandic feminists in 2005

I’ve been writing rather a lot about Iceland lately but this is just too good not to mention. The new left-wing government has decided, in an attempt to eliminate all human trafficking into Iceland, to fully outlaw both the purchase of sex and the running of strip clubs. Describing human trafficking as “the most disgusting form of international and organized crime that exists in the world” Social Affairs Minister Ásta Ragnheiður Jóhannesdóttir drew up a 25 point action plan which includes the two measures and it is hoped that as much of it as possible can be implemented in time for the new elections in late April.

With stripping banned too this will take Iceland further than both Norway and Sweden and, since pornography is still illegal (at least according to Iceland Review), will in effect mean that the sex industry is more or less completely outlawed. This is a huge victory for the Icelandic feminist movement which is proportionately quite strong and has long been fighting to shut down the few strip clubs that exist as well as campaigning to get the purchase of sex criminalised.

Iceland of course has a history of strong feminists - on the 24th of October 1975 90% of the country's women went on strike for a day, marching out of their workplaces and refusing to cook, clean or look after children. For a time also there was a women's party represented in parliament with many former leading members now involved in the governing social-democratic Alliance and Left Greens.

Under the decades of right-wing rule progress towards gender equality and female liberation was in many ways held back but with capitalism thoroughly discredited, the left in the ascendancy, and for the first time ever, a female Prime Minister and a gender balanced cabinet the feminist movement can hopefully again march forward and take back what should rightfully be theirs. And can act as an inspiration to their sisters and supporters elsewhere.

There's some more stuff in English about Icelandic feminism here if anyone's interested:

http://www.feministinn.is/almennt/english.html
http://www.feministinn.is/generaltfeministafelagid/english.htm

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend works as an exotic dancer and she has ALSO expressed a lot of interest in Iceland and even thinks about living there someday. I guess I'll have to admonish her that she wont be able to find work there. Next thing you know, icelandic women and girls who post nude pictures of themselves on the net will be political prisoners. Whats next? Will Iceland require women be forbidden to were mini skirts and heels because such clothing "objectifies women into a patriarchal heterosexist stereotype"?

Stuart Miller said...

The proposed Icelandic laws will be directed at the men who engage in and profit from the sexual exploitation of women so your suggestion that soon people there will get locked up for posting pictures of themselves or be banned from wearing certain clothes is patently absurd.

A Very Public Sociologist said...

Dear Stuart

I didn't have an email address for you, so I hope you don't mind me leaving this here.

I'm writing to invite you to take part in the Carnival of Socialism. The Carnival has been bringing a fortnightly round up of everything that's going on in the global socialist blogosphere for the last three years, and draws from a wide and eclectic mix of blogs. It has had the added bonus of helping the blogging left become a more cohesive and welcoming place, as well as delivering more audiences to the blogs that have already taken part.

But the Carnival needs your help. We are looking to expand the number of volunteers beyond a core group of 'usual suspects'. Previous Carnivals are located on its dedicated blog at http://carnivalofsocialism.blogspot.com to give you an idea of what hosting a carnival entails. We have sessions booked up until 26th April but need volunteers for dates after then. So how about it?

If you would like to sign up for a Carnival, know someone who might, or have any other questions about it please drop me a line at philbc03 at yahoo.com

Socialist Greetings,

Phil BC (A Very Public Sociologist)

schopenbecq said...

'The proposed Icelandic laws will be directed at the men who engage in and profit from the sexual exploitation of women so your suggestion that soon people there will get locked up for posting pictures of themselves or be banned from wearing certain clothes is patently absurd.'

No it is not absurd at all. The motivation of these laws is to increase the sexual value of those who make them - i.e middle-aged, ugly feminists, and lower the sexual value of the women whose liberty they are restricting (lap dancers, prostitutes) etc. The same motivations WILL lead (if they are allowed to get away with it) to laws against girls posting nude pics of themselves on the internet or wearing thongs (this has already happened in America).

If it is wrong for men to 'objectify' a woman in a lap dance club, why is it not wrong (and illegal) for a man to obectify a woman in the street (by simply looking at her)?

Feminism has NOTHING to do with equal rights for women but is simply a sexual trade union for middle-aged women.

Furthermore, by the way, this sort of brood mare femi-nazism has nothing to do with socialism.

ed said...

There is a huge difference between 'objectifying' women in the street and paying for it in a club. I would suggest you take a visit to Iceland where both men and women look at each other when attracted to each other. Not in a seedy, objectifying way but one of healthy appreciation. Ive looked at my fair share of ponography in my time, ive also smoked my fair share of cigarettes. Both of them fairly futile and unhealthy activities. Pole dancing more expensive and more pointless. A healthy society doesnt need a sex industry it marries the needs of the individuals in a healthy way. I challenge you to find me 10 pictures of icelandic women on the net who have posted nude pics of themselves. I'll wager they have a little more self respect.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Schopenbecq didn't look at the picture at the beginning of article

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Anonymous said...

>> I'll wager they have a little more self respect.<<

And I'LL wager that women who post racy pictures of themselves on that net or dress sexy IRL have self-confidence that many women do not have. I agree with Schopenbecq that these laws are being made by sexually frustrated middle aged women to increase their own sexual value and lower the sexual value of attractive young women who wish to have the liberty of showing off their bodies IF they Choose to do so. It is a blatant example of coercive socialism which requires restricting the liberties of certain people because others may be unable to compete with such people.

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