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MPs Debate Bare-Breasted Performance in Parliament

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MPs Debate Bare-Breasted Performance in Parliament

Steingrímur J. Sigfússon

Photo: Golli.

A Reykjavík Arts Festival exhibit and performance involving topless women in the parliament building has become a topic of political debate, Kjarninn reports. The project, titled Demoncrazy, involves a series of photographs of topless women posing in front of Icelandic landmarks which can be seen as symbols of patriarchy.

The project, by Borghildur Indriðadóttir, also involved a procession of topless women which began inside the parliament building and marched through downtown Reykjavík. Demoncrazy is meant to “challenge the suit-clad, middle-aged, and male image of power which [women] have grown up with.”

MP and former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson was less than thrilled about the project. He submitted a written inquiry to Speaker of Parliament Steingrímur J. Sigfússon earlier this week asking who had given permission for “half-naked people” to use the parliament for “advertising purposes”.

Steingrímur responded to the question in writing, stating that as the photo shoot took place in the Independence Party chamber, it follows that the chairman of the party would have given permission for the photo shoot and “to that the Speaker makes no comment.”

Steingrímur added that permission for the procession of topless women from the parliament building was granted by the office of the Alþingi, and he also chose to refrain from commenting on the matter. “It should be noted that this art event and performance is directly related to the awakening which women around the world, and also in Iceland, have begun under the symbol “me too” and has among other things led to Alþingi changing its code of ethics and holding an event, both for the purpose of combating all forms of sexual harassment, gender-based violence, bullying, and other forms of unacceptable behaviour,” Steingrímur’s reply reads.

Independence Party Chairman Birgir Ármannsson confirmed with Kjarninn that he had given permission for the photo shoot, and expressed his opinion that his and others’ personal outlook on the project should not interfere with such projects.

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