Is there any decent research about Iceland?(24 Posts)
Ages ago, I remember reading a news article about the politics in Iceland. The govt had become predominantly female, and had banned all porn and prostitution. There was evidence that other crimes against women, e.g. dv, rape, harassment etc However, the govt looked likely to change as the economy was doing badly (due to inherited problems, not the newer, female govt).
I have done a bit of googling, but not getting anywhere. Does anyone know of any research/articles etc. I think having a westernized country with a female gov is something that should be studied, but I suspect that no-one has.
Anyone able to help me out?
One thing worth considering about Iceland is it is a tiny country with a tiny sparse population. As a comparison the city of Glasgow in Scotland has twice as many people as the entire country of Icleand.
Towns in Iceland are probably very close-knit where everyone knows everyone.
Articles which proudly blow Iceland's trumpet never ever mention this fact.
I'm suggesting that even if Iceland does succeed in reducing the sex industry that doesn't mean other countries like the UK will have the same success. More people and a higher density of people will mean it is easier for underground trade to thrive.
Anyway a popular argment for criminalizing clients of prostitution is it will "reduce demand". Yet a experiment from a couple of years back shows demand is higher than many would like to think.
A fake prostitution advert was posted in Iceland for an experiment, within 3 hours over 100 men responded (a lot of people considering Iceland's population).
Thanks for that. I know that in many ways Iceland is a-typical, but I still think it's interesting to see how things have changed. When you think that there are still people who say that women in power will be unreliable, I am interested to see how a predominantly female govt has functioned and what differences there are, if any.
I'm also interested in how the Australian pm has impacted views in Australia, whether having a female pm makes much difference
I'd be interested to know more about Iceland as well - what I have read is positive. You generally hear more about the Swedish model - probably because that is more directly comparable to other Scandinavian countries for comparison into the effects of these laws.
I really admire the Aussie PM too - the way she shouted down that misogynistic MP, who tried to lecture her on misogyny, was pure class.
This book touches on it (among other things): www.amazon.co.uk/Names-Sea-Strangers-Iceland-ebook/dp/B008F8GF3U/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1359295170&sr=1-1
It's quite a superficial treatment but she does talk about how there IS dv in Iceland but also how crime is perceived differently there and the effects of having a close-knit society in which people generally know each other on a country-wide scale. I can't remember the details but I think I remember that the differences in attitudes towards crime were more in the perceived risk than in the actual crime statistics.
It is really quite interesting... but that information is buried deep in a book which ranges widely across topics about Iceland in general and the experiences of an english family spending a year there.
here's a wee extract:
"We have about the same rates of violent and sexual crime against women as you do in the UK, she says. Domestic violence is endemic, just like in the UK, and a quarter of women report sexual assault in anonymous surveys. I stop myself dropping my tea. Well, she says. OK. Actually all the Nordic countries report fairly high rates, though were the highest. Its partly that there are fewer taboos about reporting sexual violence here than in the UK, for example. Sigrún María also has nursing qualifications, and spent a few years working in London hospitals. One year, there was a rapist who preyed particularly on nurses in uniform making their way to and from the Tube during the night. A lot of our police force is female and theres no bullying of women whove been attacked. Its not clear if Icelandic women report a higher proportion of rape or suffer more rapes. Of course there are reasons why youd get higher reported rates that might not mean a higher incidence. There surely are. Ive discussed this with my friends at home. None of us, a completely unrepresentative sample of middle-class working mothers in their thirties, would report rape in the UK. Sigrún María pours more tea, picks up her knitting. But anonymous surveys and police records together suggest that our rates are pretty high, especially domestic violence. Basically, Icelandic men damage Icelandic women, especially at home and especially when theyre drunk. Which is rather a lot. But its meant to be the most egalitarian society in the world, I protest. You know, lesbian prime minister, almost full employment among mothers, shared nine-month parental leave, a majority of women at university Only at undergraduate level, I remember, not among lecturers and most certainly not among professors; I have not yet seen a portrait of a woman among the dozens displayed around the university. Some people say thats partly why. That Icelandic men find it very hard living in a feminist society and take it out on their partners behind closed doors. We look at each other, not knowing where to start with this idea. I remember reading about a survey showing that Icelandic men do less housework than the men of any other northern European nation (though still more than the Portuguese and Italians; the further south you go, the greater the sexual inequality blame the Pope), and various friends complaining that their partners wont entertain the idea that people with penises can clean bathrooms. Anecdote, and easy enough to find English women sharing the same complaints, but I dont know any thirty-something professional men in England who deny the principle of equality, whatever happens in practice."
Moss, Sarah (2012-07-05). Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland (Kindle Locations 3664-3665). Granta Publications Ltd. Kindle Edition.
It then goes on to talk about more cultural ideas like chivalry and politeness in respect to gender relations... the woman talking in this extract is a crime reporter in Iceland.
Iceland is also a piece of ice in the middle of nowhere, their nights are even longer, colder and darker than the UK's. If a volcano erupts don't expect to see any daylight for the next week. And the general lack of people might seem a bit lonely.
I just had to say that. Even if they do achieve perfect 100% equality it's not a place I would like to live.
Have you ever been there Charlizee?
I wouldn't want to live there. I find the dark winters in th UK bad enough. I just think that looking at govt where there are more women is interesting. It's like looking at voting among politicians. Those who have daughters are way more likely to vote for laws about sexual equality than those without.
I would love to live there cold or not. I am in my 50s and have been a feminist since I was 12 years old. I know I will die being a 2nd class citizen in this country. It would be nice to live somewhere where I at least felt equal. So what if it is a piece of ice. As for the lack of people - that wouldnt bother me at all. I have discussed Iceland with a young woman who lives there and she didnt seem that lonely. I am actually going there this year and wonder what it will be like being able to walk down the street without having to be amongst the sex trade. My home town has strip joints on the high street and brothels just outside the town centre. I know it is old fashioned but I find it really intimidating, especially at night when I see young 'men' coming out of the strip joints jeering at young women on the street. I cant wait, my only worry is that I probably wont want to come home. A young woman has just won the right to have the name passed on by her mother as opposed to her father. What a young woman!
Porn has been illegal for a long time although the police or judicial system never does anything about it. The Minister of Interior has put forward a proposal to block the distribution of online pornography unfeasible. The minister, who is a male feminist, has set up a working group to look into how the police could block pornographic content. This has caused outrage amongst porn users and other anti-feminists who shout "censorship" and claim that Iceland will be like China and North-Korea if their porn be taken away.
The strip clubs have not been closed, to my knowledge, but there is not full nudity and private lap dancing has stopped (supposedly). It is illegal to buy sex (as it is in Sweden and Norway) but the police seems to only act if they suspect that sex trafficking is involved. Very few men have been sentenced (very lightly) for buying sex, and they were all involved in the same case (which included charges of trafficking). The court was closed to the media and public and their names have never been revealed.
The current PM is female and the government has 4 women (including her who is the only current female leader of a political party) and 4 men. In the coming elections in May one party at the most will have a female leader. That party is currently doing poorly in polls. Which means that the next PM will in all likelihood be male. The parties which seem most likely to win most seats care little for gender equality when it comes to who will represent them in parliament so it's likely that fewer women will be in the parliament and government than now. So much for the female dominated government.
Like elsewhere, only a low percentage of rape charges end up in court and even fewer end with the rapist facing a prison sentence (and if so then for a short time).
Tomorrow there will be protests in front of the Supreme Court due to the recent ruling in a case where a woman was attacked by several people. One of the men who beat her up also assaulted her sexually but the 4 male judges ruled that it wasn't a sexual assault because the guy didn't have sexual intentions (the female judge wanted to rule differently on that matter). So the judicial system isn't exactly great either.
Iceland, like Sweden and Norway, is supposedly one of the best countries in the world to live in for women. It doesn't feel that way at all, though.
As for the name giving. We can all use our mother's first name as a surname although most people have their father's first name as a surname. The people who choose to bear their mother's name are often feminists but also those who haven't any (or bad) relationship with their father. Such was the case with two male friends of mine. On of them was Maríuson (son of Maria). Young people today often use both their parents names.
The case of the young woman who won a court case recently: The problem was that her name was (and is) a male first name, not surname. There are not (m)any Icelandic names that can be both female and male so the name committee interfered.
I have met a few Scandinavian women, they are totally self-assured, it was refreshing.
Princess, I'm glad that you're still here! I used to enjoy your messages on the other board.
I saw that you signed up on Mumsnet, but then I assumed you didn't like it much. ("Princess of" Cybermob was looking for a feminist discussion group a year ago, and I suggested she might give this place a try.)
Unfortunately there isn't a feminist nirvana to be found anywhere. We just have to do the best we can in our throughly imperfect homes.
Nice to see you, TeiTetua! I miss the old place.
I forgot about this place completely after signing up (I found it a bit too foreign and didn't know what people were talking about half the time) and came here quite by accident today, only to find this thread. Couldn't stay out of it, of course.
You managed fine on the Phoenix where most of the others were American, and I'm sure you'd find it possible here where most people are British! The topics often relate to items in the British news or media, but there's a lot here that's universal.
But the major difference is that Mumsnet is a street corner where strangers are constantly coming and going, not a cozy little spot with just a handful of regular visitors.
Anyway, re Iceland, I suppose there's one feminist concern that's not an issue there, women changing or keeping their names when they get married. And with the patronymic added to a person's name, it's nice to hear that people might choose to have a matronymic instead or in addition, and they're doing it themselves rather than being told to by the government.
Now that we can do wonderful things with DNA, it's apparently been proved that Icelanders are descended mostly from Scandinavian men and Celtic women. I suppose we can guess how that happened.
The vikings happened.
It remains to be seen if I like standing on a street corner, shouting at strangers!
Ooh - glad some people have come along who know more about this. I am totally ignorant, but am just starting an MA in Gender & women's studies, so thinking about things a lot more, and I wondered what the situation in Iceland is like.
Even if Iceland did block porn websites, people who still want to look at can still use a proxy/VPN/Tor.
for example the UK has blocked the pirate bay torrent website yet it can still be accessed with proxy.
I can only speak to your Australian question: there's been no real difference here in having a female PM except, I guess, that the awareness of and rhetoric around feminism is a bit better? Abbott, who is the
vile misogynist Leader of the Opposition, and the guy against whom The Misogyny Speech was directed, has a real history of awful sexist things that he's said. And there's a bit of a feeling that there's a groundswell against that, and that being a feminist is not a dirty word. I think there was a media piece recently where Abbott's wife came out to say publicly why she thought he was a feminist. Which is ludicrous, but it's interesting that 'being a feminist' is considered politically desirous, you know?
Unfortunately, no real advance in actual real terms. We're still way behind on marriage equality, for example, our gender pay gap is one of the worst in the western world, and we've only just, two years ago, won a bare minimum of paid maternity leave for the first time.
I'm really glad I read the thread before posting my original reply as I thought the op was referring to the sexism in the 'mums go to Iceland' adverts
I think I better go back to bed!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.