Feminism Explained: An Icelander’s Perspective

Within the realm of the animal kingdom, humans have survived a very short time. Yet in that short time our intelligence has surpassed all other lifeforms.

We roamed the Earth, foraging and hunting; existing within the flow of nature. Our progress accelerated as we created tools, then machines, yielding surpluses never before seen.

Cultures, societies, and civilizations came next, generating advancement in astronomy, technology, mathematics, philosophy, chemistry, well….practically in every field.

We’ve accomplished so much yet we continue to hold ourselves back with the fabrication of racism, prejudice, and bigotry.

For this post I interviewed an Icelandic native who is a strong advocate of Feminism. This ideology, although a youthful movement, has brought change but has faced plenty of criticism. It’s something I felt readers, as well as myself, could do well to learn more about.

That said, here we go:

Andrew: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Tinna and her bestie

Tinna and her bestie

Tinna: This is tough, but I promise I’ll be serious for this interview. (Laughs) My name is Tinna, I am 25 years old, and I was raised here in Akureyri. Within a few months I will be graduating from the University of Hólar with a degree in Tourism.

My childhood was normal, and nothing too crazy happened to me. I am a Feminist, and I try to be environmentally friendly and conscious of what I waste, but sometimes I get lazy.

Andrew: And how did we meet?

Tinna: You came to work at my palace. (Laughs) We met when you began volunteering at the hostel I work at. I was just getting back to work after finishing my semester and there you were. It was like we started at the same time.

Andrew: Your palace, eh? (Laughs) Since you were brought up in a “normal” upbringing, were there any “game-changers” for you? By that I mean something that altered your life, or the way you behave in life. For example; books, movies, bands, etc.

Tinna: “Harry Potter”. Massively so.

Andrew: How?

Tinna: I was a huge fan of the movies. The characters were around my age, so it was like we grew up together. Later I joined an online fan forum, which was more than just chatting about the movies.

I met people from all over the world. One of my good friends I met there, and they’re from the USA. We are still in contact although we’ve never actually met. The forum helped me improve my English grammar as well.

Andrew: This will probably seem like I live in a cave, but I still have yet to read or see any of the “Harry Potter” series.

Tinna: Oh my. Shame on you. Another “game-changer” happened when I was 19. It was after I left a fucked-up relationship. My ex was bi-polar, which was why things got so messed up. Three months after our break-up, he sent me a letter.

Andrew: An angry letter?

Tinna: Just the opposite. It was an apology letter. He was sorry for what had happened and for how things ended. He told me that whatever happens in life, always place myself first. So from then on, I did.

Andrew: You describe yourself as a Feminist. What is Feminism to you?

Tinna: Simply put, I wish for equality for everyone.

Andrew: I feel many believe it’s merely a movement to make women superior to men?

Tinna: That’s a common misconception. At its root, it isn’t women vs. men. It’s for equality for everyone; black, white, gay, straight, transgender, etc.

Andrew: At what age did you begin to affiliate with Feminist beliefs?

Tinna: I feel as though I always was one. But I guess at 18 was when I became a Feminist. At 20 I became more outward and vocal with my beliefs.

Venus symbol

Tinna’s Venus symbol tattoo

Andrew: Comparably speaking, Iceland is a progressive nation; having a woman Cabinet Minister in 1970, a female president in 1980, and an openly gay woman Prime Minister in 2009. What do you think that Feminism can further accomplish?

Tinna: That is true. But there’s always room for improvement. In Iceland, discussion and awareness could be much better. Ongoing misogynistic views still exist, mainly in the case of “closet prejudice”. You know, people who start a statement with, “I’m not a racist, but…” or “I have nothing against women but…” type of stuff.

Andrew: Ah yes. Growing up in the Midwest, I’ve seen plenty of that.

Tinna: Also, sexual offenses are punished less severely than other crimes. Gay and transgender issues are hardly discussed at all. It’s like if we don’t talk about it, then the issue will fix itself.

Around 5 years ago, there was a study done by the University of Akureyri which showed that the majority of teens, age 14-16, believe men superior to women in government jobs. These students, even girls, felt women were better suited for cooking and doing laundry while men are better suited to handle finances and manage large companies. At this day and age, that’s unacceptable.

Andrew: Old paradigms are hard to break.

Tinna: Yes, but no one is born a racist. No one is born a bigot. Iceland may be “ahead” in terms of progressivism, but Iceland is not a diverse nation. We can educate on a wider spectrum than what we currently have.

Andrew: Are there any Feminists you feel readers should learn more about? Do you have any idols?

Tinna: No one specific, really. I try not to idolize any one person. But if I had to choose someone, I would say Hildur Lilliendahl.

Andrew: Why her?

Tinna: In 2012, she became a Feminist icon without really trying. She’s promoted equality for years, but in 2012 she began publicizing blatantly misogynistic posts on social media. This exposed people for their outspoken close-mindedness. Obviously, those whose posts were displayed were pissed. She was praised for her courage, but received lots of hate for that.

Andrew: Any post examples come to mind?

Tinna: Hmm…one quote she re-posted had said,

“There’s no excuse for rape, but it’s hard to feel sorry for her because she put herself in that position.”

Andrew: A bold statement. A bold, ignorant statement.

Tinna: Yeah. Obviously that guy wasn’t happy to have his voice heard on a national scale.

Andrew: I’m sure of that. Do you feel that some say they’re a Feminist to “look cool”? As though to wear it as a label?

Tinna: Yeah. Usually the young ones who are still “finding themselves” within the ideology.

Tinna and I

Tinna and I

Andrew: Ah yes…I was young and adamant once. (Laughs) Do you think people may be timid to join the movement; to call themselves a Feminist?

Tinna: I think so, yes. I think it’s because of the prefix, “femi-”, in the label. It makes it seem as though it’s for women only.

It really doesn’t matter if you are a male or female. In the end, what really matters is the problems at hand.

Andrew: Definitely. Throughout history, women have been oppressed by many of the world’s cultures. Why do you think this is?

Tinna: I’m not sure, really. It may have been gradual or all at once. But since history began many cultures did this, and it’s still happening. For example, women authors still write under pennames to sell books to a larger audience.

Andrew: In the future, do you think there won’t be a need for Feminism?

Tinna: That would be in an ideal world, but I’m not sure that that will happen.

Andrew: You said that you’ll be graduating soon. What are you plans after that?

Tinna: I’d like to head to South Africa for a couple of months while doing “Workaway” jobs. After that the plan is to move to London and get a job in the tourism industry.

Although that’s the plan, it maaaaaay change. (Laughs) I would also like to take a Vipassana course later this year.

Andrew: Why London?

Tinna: Ah, I just love it. It’s like I feel “at home” when I’m there.

Andrew: Do you have a favorite place in London?

Tinna: That’s tough. Possibly Camden, or maybe strolling around the shopping areas downtown to people watch.

Andrew: Definitely agreed. Oxford Circus is such a fun place to wander.

All right, I’d like to thank you for opening up to me and for taking the time to answer my questions.

Tinna: I was happy to do it.


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2 Responses to Feminism Explained: An Icelander’s Perspective

  1. Mom says:

    Nice interview. Knowing that Iceland is a progressive country, it is surprising to learn that some people there still believe such false ideas that men are better at business than women! Tinna is an interesting, articulate and intellegent young lady.


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