More Hell, Fewer Dahlias: The Musings of a Radical Feminist.

Anti Sex Feminists in Iceland

Posted on: April 6, 2010

Iceland, which banned prostitution last year, has now banned all strip clubs and “any business that makes money off of nudity.”

I mentioned a few posts back about the anti/pro sex feminism chasm, and this is a big example of the anti-sex side. A lot of immediate reactions I’ve heard to this new legislation (after “people go topless in Iceland? Isn’t it cold?! GAHHH) tend to support it, under the guise of protecting women. But who are we protecting women from, and who is doing the protecting?

Here are a few things to think about before supporting this type of legislation in your community and abstractly.

Making things illegal doesn’t mean they stop existing. They go underground, where the likelihood for crime and abuse skyrockets. Banning stripping doesn’t mean banning strippers, it means banning strippers in public places. Back alleys and underground clubs aren’t the sort of public that respond to that regulation too well.

-Limiting options isn’t feminist. Regulating women’s sexual expression and what they can do with it isn’t what was fought for.

-What happens next? Are these sources of money going to be replaced by other jobs that these women have skills for? “Helping” women who haven’t asked for your help by “liberating” them and then leaving them high and dry only opens them up to further abuse.

Assuming demographics makes an Ass out of U and Me. All too often, anti sex feminists support an image of a downtrodden woman, suffering from abuse and drug habits, as the main workers in the sex industry.  These people totally exist, but those who choose to work in the sex industry through no coercion are impacted negatively by these sort of bans.

So what’s a feminist to do? I’m going to go with: support a moderate option! (Being moderate is very radical these days, people. Isn’t it crazy?)

Regulate the sex industry! Make it safe for women to request their rights and have a safe, judgement free legal system to go to! Offer support programs for workers lacking options! Promote a fair living wage for all workers, and judgement free, affordable healthcare for those in the industry. Stop the circumstances that result in people being forced into the sex industry, i.e: have programs that target violence, poverty, substance abuse and promote education and job training.

Make the industry safe and consensual by eliminating undesirable factors that make women feel forced to enter the sex industry and allowing those who wish to work in it a safe, healthy, respectful environment.

All too often we find ourselves separate from these issues: “I’d never want to work there!! Who would!!!” (that’s my inital reaction, srsly, I understand.) but eliminating options and looking down on other women for their choices isn’t cool, either.

Over and out,



2 Responses to "Anti Sex Feminists in Iceland"

I’ve been following English-language feminist reactions to this story since it broke a couple of weeks ago, and one thing that strikes me about all of them is that none of them has made any acknowledgment about the fact that Iceland is a radically different culture to the Anglo-American one.

I mean, unless one of you who have responded to this has some sort of in-depth culturual awareness about Iceland that you’re not divulging in your posts, I have to call bullshit. What you’ve all done is outline how *Anglo-American* culture would respond to such a ban. You don’t really know how Icelanders will respond. They may do so in a similar way to AA’s, but then again, they may do so in a ways that are completely different.

Just for starters, from everything I’ve ever read about Iceland or gathered from listening to Icelanders, women’s status and attitudes towards sex are already radically different to AAs’. That could very well mean that most Icelanders will respect this decision. How do you know that most of them don’t already agree with it? How do you how many end up agreeing with it after time?

Also, can we stop with trying to smear anyone who disagrees with us by labelling them “sex-negative”? Once again, you’re assuming that Icelandice feminists who are against strip clubs automatically share opinions and views with USian femininsts who oppose strip clubs. There is no evidence to show that this the case. For all you know, Icelanders in general might just be a fuck of a lot more open and relaxed about sex and don’t need to feel “naughty” in order to get off.

I try to make this as general as possible, even highlighting reasons “in your community and abstractly” because I only know limited things about Iceland, I think that should be clear. Regardless of how Iceland feels about this, the idea and reasons for and for not supporting it in your community are fair game.

I don’t smear “anyone who disagrees” with me by labeling them sex negative. I don’t smear. I use a fairly well established term to describe a set of principles and actions that, in America, where this blog is based, correlate with that term.

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