Being Icelandic, I've always believed women are equal to men. We aren't the same as men, but we have as much to contribute as men do, we are mentally as strong as men, we are as smart as men, we are equal to men. I also believe men are equal to women.
I believe women are entitled to all the same personal and professional rights as men and vice versa.
I have never felt oppressed by men as a separate sector of society - though I have felt oppressed in society at times; this has been by men and women, not because of men, or through some conspiracy laid out by men, but by people.
Because I don't believe in a male conspiracy on this planet, I don't believe in a patriarchy any more than I believe in a matriarchy, I have been called 'the anti-feminist' in some quarters. I laugh at this label and many who know me laugh at this label as far as it pertains to me - believing I embody feminist values (I don't, mind you, I just believe in myself and other women as people, and I believe in men in exactly the same way, as people. I'm a personist).
When I read the article I linked to above, a question rose in my mind.
Why do women in Iceland have it so good?
Why do Icelandic women have so much more personal power than women in other countries - including modern western countries like England and America? Why?
Are Icelandic women biologically different to other women in the world?
Are Icelandic men not as assertive as other men in the world?
Did God come down and stream enlightenment on Icelanders?
Do other women in the world give away their power where Icelandic women would not?
Is it because Icelandic women have had to live in very harsh conditions where there was no choice but to pitch in as hard as men, and often in lieu of men?
Why is Icelandic society so radically different from the rest of the world?
Is it really that different?
These are real questions - I'm not stirring the pot here. I don't think Icelandic society is that different, to be honest. Icelanders came from Europe, their origins are the same as those of Britains and Americans.
You might think it's the language, but no, Icelandic doesn't have a language which is less 'misogynistic' than English or any other language. The Icelandic word for human is 'menn'...
But then again, the word for woman is 'kona' (which is also the word for wife, by the way), and the word for king is 'konungur' which broken down looks to be part woman 'kona' and part young 'ungur' - so, king might mean young woman! Want to know the word for queen is? It's 'drottning' and the interesting thing about that is the word for Lord (as in God) is 'drottin'. Come on, that's kind of funny, isn't it..?
So, maybe language is key here?
Honestly, I don't know. If language were key, then I would argue that language changes thought, but also changes with shifts in thinking.
I had a conversation last night with a friend and suggested that at some point women had to have given their power away. She wasn't terribly impressed with this idea and argued that you can't give away what you've never had.
If you agree with that sentiment, do you believe men have always had more power than women? Have women always been oppressed?
If that is the case, how do we account for women who do not feel or are not oppressed? How do we account for Icelandic women? How do we account for the Amazons?
How did women come to need the movement of feminism to empower them? When did women stop being empowered by their very being? When did women give away their power? When will women stop asking men to give them back their rights and just take them - even if it means dying, even if it means their children dying...
Why are Icelandic women different to the rest of woman kind? Are they different, really?