I’ve always been really curious about Iceland. Maybe it’s the fact that you can see the Northern Lights better than any place in the world from there. Maybe it’s the ridiculously bright blue lagoons tucked between its glaciers. Or maybe it’s the Viking-filled history. But now, thanks to an article in the Examiner by Elizabeth Clayton, I am even more curious. While in the process of revamping its constitution, Iceland is actually considering a proposal that will prohibit weight discrimination! This isn’t a joke…they truly want to put an end to weight stigmas for the creation of a fat-friendly nation (though of course weight discrimination could happen to anyone, thin/muscular/overweight – but this proposal will aim to get rid of it all!).
If the proposal is accepted, Iceland will be the first country to EVER make a law against weight discrimination – and the law could influence everything from the workplace to education to medical environments, where weight discrimination is obviously rampant. I can’t even begin to tell you guys how excited I am about this prospect. This is an extremely real issue, and is unfortunately very much of our times. Just recently a classmate of mine applied for an internship at a certain fashion magazine, and was bluntly told by the receptionist that she was wasting her time even applying for the position because it would only ever go to someone “without an overhang.” The receptionist was right, unfortunately, and my friend didn’t get hired because of her extra belly fat. Of course, she couldn’t really do much about it because there are no laws in U.S. against weight discrimination and even if there were, the receptionist wasn’t the one actually hiring her.
If Iceland passes this new law, I truly believe the quality of life of those living there is bound to improve. Obviously it’s not as though such a law will prevent teasing or bullying or weight discrimination that occurs within a household or just generally out of the public sphere. Truthfully, fully emitting discrimination of any kind just isn’t realistic – especially not in this kind of world. But what this law will do, hopefully, is allow people who are aptly qualified to get jobs without being penalized for their weight. It will enable the expulsion of those who mistreat children in the school systems due to weight-related issues. It will allow doctors to be hired no matter what their weight is, without this whole “doctors can’t be fat because it’s hypocritical” nonsense you sometimes hear. It will make things a little better – maybe even a lot better. And who knows? If one country does it, others may follow the lead. Maybe all it takes is one small Nordic/European island nation to start a trend.