March saw an epic battle against misogyny in Iceland when the hashtag #FreeTheNipple took social media, the country and eventually the world by storm.
Shortly after an Icelandic girl was cyber-bullied by a troll on Twitter for a photograph in which her nipples were visible, thousands of local feminist activists posted photos of their nipples on Twitter and started a spirited and inspiring #FreeTheNipple campaign against social media body-shaming and double standards.
Even Björt Ólafsdóttir, an Icelandic Member of Parliament, exposed her nipple on Twitter, writing, “This one here is for feeding babies. Shove that up your patriarchy.”
The campaign inspired “braless” days at the University of Iceland and junior colleges in the capital city as well as a #FreeTheNipple pool night at the Laugardalslaug swimming pool.
Iceland also hit the global news cycle this past month when the ruling coalition handed the EU a letter announcing the withdrawal of Iceland’s EU member application, without running the decision by Parliament.
Icelanders on both sides of the EU argument collectively lost their shit since the ruling coalition had promised a democratic referendum on the matter, had tried and failed to get the withdrawal through Parliament, then went ahead and did it anyway.
The move prompted thousands to protest against the ruling coalition, whose popularity has plummeted, making way for the underdog Pirate Party—who have become the most supported political party in the country, according to a recent MMR poll.
Much to our Foreign Minister’s dismay, the EU has said that the letter doesn’t really count as an official application withdrawal.
Meanwhile, the winter is—fingers crossed—nearing its end now. It was so fierce that Icelanders have considered naming it, an old Icelandic tradition that dates as far back as 976. With a storm hitting Iceland on average every three days this winter, frontrunners include ”Vindaveturinn mikli” (“The Great Windy Winter”) and “Rokrassgat” (“Windy Butthole”).
As the snow melts, our tourism season will get going again, with a predicted 1.17 million tourists this year. With that number expected to grow to 1.45 million in 2017, the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre reckons that Iceland will need to hire more foreign workers in order to keep up with the rapidly growing tourism industry.
Speaking of which, it looks like the train station for the proposed rail route between Keflavík and Reykjavík has been drawn up, meaning every traveller’s dream for easy transport between the centre of Reykjavík and Keflavík airport is one step closer to reality.
History buffs will be amused to find out that “hot, filthy and crazy” are three adjectives that have haunted Icelanders for a millennium. Thousand-year-old Arabic texts have revealed last month that while Vikings were described as the “filthiest of Allah’s creatures,” noted Arab scholar Ahmad ibn Fadlan admitted he had “never seen more perfect physiques than theirs.” So that’s something!
Still, we might not be able to hold on to that perfect physique title for very long after Dunkin’ Donuts, announced last week that negotiations were underway to bring the American Donut Church to Iceland. Mmmm, donuts.