Iceland Bans Strip Clubs: Could This Happen In The U.S.?

Some people are claiming that Iceland, with its openly gay prime minister and high number of female politicians, is the most feminist country in the world.  And this news seems only to bolster their claims.  Earlier this week, Iceland passed a law that will ban all strip clubs and make it illegal for any business to “profit from the nudity of its employees.”  So that means no topless waitresses, either.  Hooters franchises in Iceland are history.

Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir, the politician who first proposed the ban, firmly told the national press on Wednesday: “It is not acceptable that women or people in general are a product to be sold.”

With these incredibly heartening sentiments, it’s natural to speculate on what would have to happen to make a law like this pass in the United States.  But as Irin points out on Jezebel, it’s unlikely, at least in the near future.  Some people have suggested that the women’s movement has had enormous success in Iceland because of their crippling economic crisis.  In a piece in Vanity Fair, Michael Lewis wrote:

“One of the distinctive traits about Iceland’s disaster, and Wall Street’s, is how little women had to do with it. Women worked in the banks, but not in the risktaking jobs…. A few days before [Lewis met a rare female banker] for instance, she heard banging on the front door early one morning and opened it to discover a little old man. “I’m so fed up with this whole system,” he said. “I just want some women to take care of my money.””

Will the U.S. need a devastating economic crash before we come to the same conclusion?  I certainly hope not – but at the same time, it’s hard to imagine our legislature passing something so, well, unequivocally feminist.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.


M F.
Miles Foster1 years ago

I just stumbled on this and had no idea Iceland (a country I know well) has banned strip clubs. That, of course, is a matter for Iceland and as it is a very modern-thinking, go-ahead country I can understand why it might have taken this stance. However, I am not sure how genuinely progressive this legislation is. Isn't modern feminism about choice? I am not sure I am happy about any government attempting to legislate on matters of morality or deeming that stripping is always and necessarily exploitative. And does this legislation ban an individual, male or female, from working on a self-employed basis or does it merely prohibit the employment of strippers by a business? Does any government have the right to prevent anyone, man or woman, working as stripper if they CHOOSE to do so?

Robyn F.
Robyn O'Neill5 years ago

Men don't have this choice to make because women don't respond as physically to a man. But maybe if men wore "fashions" like women are expected to do if they want to be considered "hot", then men should also have bare legs as has been dictated as the only style for most of the last 45 years.

Kari J.
Kari J5 years ago

We shouldn't anywhere in the world say strip clubs and brothels should exist so a woman can have an income. This is so nineteenth century when women sold themselves for a loaf of bread. Starve or strip? This is appalling in the 21st century. It is time for women to have more viable and professional job opportunities and education open to them world wide. Do men have the statements made to them like oh but they need to eat and feed a child? NO!!!

Kay L.
KayL NOFORWARDS7 years ago

Although there are more female strippers than male strippers, it is a "profession" that crosses genders in both the lookers and the lookees. Thus, this isn't really a feminist issue, but rather an issue on the morality (and the right to legislate morality) of stripping....

Christine Knighton

I agree with beverly, and if women enjoy doing this sort of a job then there is something wrong with them. If you have read what Quant said, she is so right!!!!!!

Nicole C.
Past Member 7 years ago

"Only women with self-esteem issues or desperate for money undertake this type of activity."

Beverley, that is an incorrect assumption. Lots of women do it because they enjoy it. Many women who have already graduated college continue to do it because they really love the work. Your saying that is the same as me saying that all religious people are uneducated mindless zombies. That is true of some of them but there is no way I could generalize an entire group of people based on a portion of the group. Please don't look down on a group of women because they are doing a job that you wouldn't do yourself.

Beverley A.
Beverley A7 years ago

Strip clubs denigrate women. Only women with self-esteem issues or desperate for money undertake this type of activity. HAVE SOME PRIDE SISTERS & stop pandering to lecherous men. STOP STRIPPING NOW.

Nellie K A.
Nellie K Adaba8 years ago

great news

Tom J.
Tom J.8 years ago

Amelia - why would Hooters be banned. Hooters is not a topless restaurant and has no topless waitresses. They wear full t-shirts.

Nicole C.
Past Member 8 years ago

"Ban strip clubs! They don't protect women's safety"

Oh yes because when they are illegal and forced underground, they will be so much more safe for women. . . . .