Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Icelandic Stereotypes Dissolved

There are quite a few stereotypes about Iceland that actually are not true. One for example, if that people think that because it is named Iceland, that the country is extremely freezing and covered in ice and snow. This is not true, however. For it's location, Iceland is actually rather warm with mild winters. This is because of the North Atlantic Current. Average temperatures usually do not drop lower than a few degrees Celsius, or around 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit. There is also a lot of land that has almost no snow on it with a lot of green, moss, grass, etc. Another stereotype is wondering if Iceland is clothed in complete darkness in the winter. This is also not true. In December, the sun rises around 11:30 AM and sets around 3:30 PM. In the summer time, it is light almost 24 hours a day, however, it does get a bit  darker in the afternoons. Many people think the all Icelanders look alike with blonde hair and blue eyes and while several may, this is not a constant. Icelanders can all have different physical features just as people in other countries do. People may also stereotype that after the economic crisis in Iceland, people are much more savvy and stingy with spending their money. This may be true in some instances, but overall, there is not a huge difference in socio-economic classes in Iceland in general. This is seen often in Nordic countries. While there are rich and poor, the rich are not living frivolously in giant homes and the poor are not confined to "low-income" areas.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Media in Iceland

Media in Iceland is quite vast despite the small size of the country. RUV is the most popular television station in Iceland. It started out as a radio broadcast in the 1930s and became a television broadcast in 1966. Most of it's funding comes from advertising but also partly from a license fee which includes a commitment to promote the language and history of Iceland. Stod 2, or Channel 2, is a popular private network that shows mostly American programs but also many original Icelandic programs. After the economic "crash" in 2008, Icelandic advertising companies, especially those of television commercials, had to find inexpensive ways of creating commercials that would still sell their products. Ras 1 and Ras 2 are the most popular radio stations. The most popular newspaper in Iceland is Frettabladid and is distributed to homes for free, something that does not happen in the United States. In Iceland, there is complete freedom of speech for all broadcasting which means that there are no speech restrictions on television and much less "parental discretion" is advised. There are also no restrictions on the internet by the government.  Social media is also huge in Iceland and over 80% of people over thirteen use Facebook. Below is a link to an article on Icelandic advertising and how it has evolved lately. It includes great examples of television commercials.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Homosexuality in Iceland

In 2009 in Iceland, when Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became the first openly gay Prime Minister, the marriage law was almost immediately amended to be between two people, officially making gay marriage legal. Prohibition laws against sexual orientation discrimination have been in place since 1996. Same sex couples have also had equal rights in adoption and other child services since 2006. In 2012, laws were passed that required the University Hospital of Iceland to dedicate and entire department to diagnosing gender dysphoria and to gender reassignment surgery in which case, people can legally change their name, gender, social security number and ID. Gay pride parades are held every August. It is very clear that Iceland, as the country is in almost everything, is way ahead of other countries with making the LGBT community feel completely equal. The laws of Iceland are very progressive especially in comparison to countries like the United States in which gay marriage laws are just starting to come around yet only in certain states.