Posted by: *carrie* | March 27, 2010

Iceland Bans Stripclubs & Labeled The World’s Most Feminist Country

The Guardian reported that Iceland has banned all strip clubs. The article tag line:

…this may just be the most female-friendly country on the planet

I don’t know that I would specifically label this move as feminist. I approve of a government taking a stand and saying that bodies should not be commodities. But I know very little about Iceland. (I know the country’s flag & capital thanks to countless games of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Years ago I read about some very progressive environmentally-friendly moves by the government. And I occasionally listen to the Sugar Cubes and Bjork.)

I don’t know what the general political climate is. I don’t know if women receive equal pay for equal work, if they are given equal opportunities for work, if they receive equal education, etc. Those would be proper measures of if the country is truly a feminist’s wet dream.

The cynic in me also suspects that this move may just drive the business underground. Which often can make it more difficult to deal with, to protect victims. I suppose if the government was aggressive about suppressing the clubs it might work. But that’s another issue altogether.

One of the big debates in feminism is how to respond to the sex industry. There are those that think it only degrades women and feeds into negative stereotypes. There are those that embrace it, maybe joining in, and find it liberating. I’m kind of on the fence. I think it’s a situation where theoretically there can be positives. Heck, I think a co-ed strip club would be big business, because it could allow hetero couples to both enjoy themselves at a strip club. But I also know that most of the sex industry is not geared towards uplifting the positives of sex for women. It’s still about the men, and often reinforces the terrible idea that women exist for mens’ pleasure. Exclusively.

So I come out fully in the middle on this debate. But I am intrigued to see what changes in Iceland next and if this same action is taken elsewhere.

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