From Iceland — Topless Bather Elicits Both Criticism And Praise

Topless Bather Elicits Both Criticism And Praise

Published January 16, 2017

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Julia Staples

There is no law that bans topless bathing in Reykjavík area pools. This fact was recently brought forward in the wake of controversy that arose when a young woman was kicked out of a public pool in Akranes for bathing topless.

Nútíminn reports that Diljá Sigurðardóttir was asked to vacate the premises after going topless at the Jaðarsbakkalaug swimming pool in Akranes last Saturday. Dilja told reporters that she was surprised by this reaction from the pool’s lifeguard, saying that she was fully within her rights to bathe topless at this pool. She added that she had never gotten a negative reaction to going topless at the pool before; on the contrary, people had praised her for trying to change societal norms and double-standards.

The story has spread like wildfire through Icelandic social media, to the extent that Þórgnýr Thoroddsen, chair of the Sports and Recreation Department for the City of Reykjavík, has felt it necessary to point to RÚV that everyone, regardless of gender, is permitted to bathe topless in Reykjavík pools.

Akranes Mayor Regína Ásvaldsdóttir admitted to Vísir that there are, in fact, no town regulations regarding how people may or may not dress at Akranes pools, and recommends that such regulations be put in place so that pool employees are not put in the uncomfortable position of having to make personal and perhaps arbitrary judgement calls.

For her part, Dilja says she intends to continue to dress as she pleases when visiting the pool, adding that the male chest might also be considered arousing, and yet no one takes an issue with them. “I think that breasts are not something to be ashamed of,” she says.

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