A reader writes:
One likely result of Iceland's banning of stripping along with prostitution is that it will push these activities underground. And underground strip clubs likely offer sex as well, because if both are illegal, the line between stripping and prostitution becomes blurred. Then of course the women participating will be far more likely to become victims of violence, STDs, etc. While I'm sure Icelanders would like to believe they are a more enlightened species who are making a wonderful stand for feminism, in the end I'm quite certain this will make life worse for more women than it helps.
Miriam at Feministing builds on that point:
A feminist victory, in my opinion, would be a highly regulated industry that made sure dancer's rights were protected. One where workers were paid good wages, were able to unionize, had full benefits, were able to set boundaries with customers and have those boundaries protected. One that ensured that these immigrant women were not being brought to Iceland against their will. A feminist victory would mean access to jobs and economic opportunity that meant women had options other than strip clubs and sex work if they so chose.
Another reader writes:
The commentary around strip club bans in Iceland does neglect some of the local facts. I visited in August and learned a bit about the subject from our guide.
It came up after we went out in downtown Reykjavik. Two Icelandic guys drove their black-tinted window SUV partially up onto the sidewalk, got out with beers in hand, and swaggered into a club. Naturally, we followed the mini-gangsters inside. It turned out to be a lingerie dancing club - a strip club minus the stripping. The dancers were mostly central European or other foreigners. There was no stripping, but it did seem as if there were private rooms with all that entails.
When we asked the next day we found out that strip clubs were outlawed in Reykjavik and there was only one real strip club in the country. They were allowed in Kópavogur, a town next to Reykjavik, and Goldfinger, the one strip club there, enjoyed the frequent patronage of their controversial mayor. There were investigations into nepotism that eventually forced that mayor to resign. The way our guide talked about it, the mayor hung out at the strip club passing out funds to his friends and family. Our guide didn't know if Icelandic women stripped in the club, but he had heard it was a pretty big attraction for the weekend party tours from London and other parts of northern Europe.
It seems from the reporting that the lingerie clubs will stay open and it's really only Goldfinger that's affected. So there may be underlying reasons that the bill was passed that are different from protecting the dignity of women - no matter what spin the legislation is given.
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