Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Iceland Turns Frigid ~ When did pro-feminism become anti-sex?

I read an article this morning by Julie Bindel from the UK’s Guaridian reporting that Iceland has passed a law that will result in all of the strip clubs in their country being shut down citing that no business be allowed to profit off the nudity of its employees. In my early college feminists days, I would have waved my high toting feminist flag while wearing my hair back and up in what my boyfriend of the time referred to as my angry scarf. I would have pounded the pavement with my other angry feminists sisters and fellow women’s studies majors in hi-laced combat boots or Earth mama Birkenstocks celebrating this moment as a movement on behalf of the rights of women. But this morning, eight years later, I cringed. The article and law reeked of outdated second wave feminism ideology suppressing an equally powerful uprising force, women’s sexual freedom and empowerment in all its shapes and forms. I also cringe at this article today, knowing that the more liberated, whole and healed I become as a woman, the more I celebrate my sexuality, nudity and the exchange of energy for my work which includes at times both nudity and sexuality, for money.

I make my profession, fulfill my dharma and live out my soul’s purpose on this Earth through unfolding both men and women to the beauty of their bodies, their sexuality, their wholeness. I am one of those people who Iceland’s feminist prime-minister Johanna Sigurdardottir’s ban would have affected in an anti-feminist AND anti-sex way. Today I reflect for a moment on how grateful I am to live in the country where I live, how grateful I am that women are in positions of power and that feminists have paved the way for me like Johanna Sigurdardottir to be the empowered woman I am today. I also stop to ask questions such as “Is it so hard to fathom that a woman might, Goddess forbid, be empowered by her sexuality enough to want to strip?” Is it so preposterous to think that sexual surrogates might actually be called to do what they do because it’s healing for both them and their clients?

To this, I address the Sex Industry Entry Point for Women:

There are three avenues a woman enters the sex industry, by force, by circumstance and by choice and ultimately it would be useful to have laws and systems taken into account for all of these entry points into the industry. The trafficking and exploitation of women and children in the sex industry is a rape of our planet and our humanity and effective laws are absolutely necessary to support healing and transforming both the women who have been exploited and the men who are doing the exploiting. But what does a whole healed woman look like? Could she look like a stripper? At this point Johanna Sigurdardottir’s administration has not taken into account women’s’ entry point into the sex industry where intention and empowered choice become a catalyst for healing and transformation.

I propose to Iceland’s administration a quite miraculous model Eve Ensler has moved forth onto the planet – using her Award Winning women positive and sex positive play The Vagina Monologues to raise awareness and benefit causes that promote ending violence against women. Couldn’t this massive, lucrative, mostly male run and female employed industry be better served if a portion of the proceeds went in fact to rehabilitate persons who had experienced their time in the sex industry through circumstance or force rather than by pro-active conscious choice and also create more structured laws in place to unionize dancers rights?

In responses to the new law recently passed where no business can profit off the nudity of its employees, Miriam of feministing.com responds: “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.”

I think we all know from past experience that beyond stripping, the oldest profession will always be that, the oldest profession and will eventually push these communities underground which endanger most of all the women workers and not the men who have been doing the exploiting. By alienating our men from having the opportunity to rise up and support women and their sexual empowerment, we have created an even deeper and oppressive shadow by creating separation and isolation rather than mutually beneficial activism.

I personally extend an invitation to Johanna Sigurdardottir and Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir who first proposed this ban, to attend any Naked Yoga class, Clothing Optional Holy Body Interfaith Worship Services, or Sensual Shaman Session free of charge to witness what whole, healed sexual people look like in a consciously nude, celebratory and symbiotic environment. Johanna and Kolbrún, I await your response.

Guardian UK writer Julie Bindel guardian.co.uk writes:


Miriam of Feministing.org