From Iceland — Miss Iceland Competition Sparks Debate About Fatshaming And Feminism

Miss Iceland Competition Sparks Debate About Fatshaming And Feminism

Published August 29, 2017

Zoë Vala Sands
Photo by
Courtesy of Miss World Iceland

The Miss Iceland Competition never fails to cause controversy in Iceland. Most recently, glamour model and IceQueen, Ásdís Rán, was harshly criticized for condemning the inclusion of an overweight candidate, Stefanía Tara Þrastardóttir, in the competition which took place last Saturday.

“Has Miss Iceland changed their standards, or is she just a token to please the Icelandic feminist?” Ásdís Rán Snapchatted. Stefanía Tara was named the most popular candidate of the competition.

The glamour model’s post was harshly criticized and sparked a heated debate about whether the competition can be considered feminist, compelling noted feminist Hildur Lilliendahl Viggósdóttir to weigh in on the matter. To some people’s surprise, Hildur Lilliendahl largely agreed with Ásdís Rán, posting on Twitter:

“It could well be that the motive behind Ásdís Rán’s comment was to fatshame. If so, that is terrible. Regardless, we all knew that the fat girl was never going to win. And so why was she invited? If not only to pretend the competition is a form of modern and liberating entertainment, when really it revolves around the humiliation of its competitors and women in general. There is no prominence in partaking in this competition for women, no matter how they look, and it is extra humiliating to include candidates who do not even have a chance of winning.”

Stefanía Tara’s response to Ásdís Rán was quite different. The competitor reclaimed her agency in the matter and argued for the legitimacy of the competition in a Facebook post: “All girls who compete in the competition have an equal chance of representing Iceland in Miss World, and I could have just as easily been that girl. My involvement in the competition did not have anything to do with any feminist rules nor am I some TOKEN (Thank you for that incredibly respectful word). I applied. I got in. I chose to do what I did.”

Hildur Lilliendahl pointed out that regardless of ones opinion on the matter, many self-proclaimed feminists’ treatment of the glamour model was unfair and anti-feminist: “Slutshaming is no better than the fatshaming people think they are protesting. Ásdís Rán is the kind of woman we think we have permission to open fire on… Maybe for once we should try not abusing the women we disagree with…? Food for thought”.

Yes, please.

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