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Nikita Klæstrup: Stop shaming women

This rhetoric student and conservative youth politician came to prominence on the world's stage after a revealing dress. Now she uses her newly gained attention to talk about women’s rights

A University Post article, a Reddit post, and a subsequent Playboy magazine endorsement have all brought University of Copenhagen student Nikita Klæstrup into the international spotlight.

It all began with a dress she wore to a party for the Conservative party’s youth group. See Politics outstripped by breasts of conservative student politician.

“I didn’t wear the dress planning on it going nationalwide, let alone viral. It was a private party that was invite-only. I was just wearing a dress that I thought looked pretty. If I had been speaking, I would have worn something else because what I was wearing would have represented something bigger,” explains Nikita in an interview with University Post.

Although much of her newly gained attention revolves around her attire and looks – most notably her cleavage – Nikita has decided to take advantage of it to talk about her own political beliefs and opinions.

“The debate about me and my looks has given me a political platform and it automatically makes what I say more interesting, so I don’t think [the attention, ed.] has taken away from my message. Out in the world, they might not focus on my politics or even be interested, but it doesn’t matter, because I focus on Danish politics,” says Nikita.

Let women choose how they look

Many would argue that Denmark is one of the most sexually liberal countries in the world, but this trend does not necessarily extend into women’s attire, especially in the workplace.

As women’s dress is regulated through out the world, whether it be through French legislation prohibiting women from wearing a full veil or American high schools banning spaghetti straps, Nikita argues that similar type of management of women’s clothing exists here in Denmark through societal norms.

Janteloven, the Danish version of the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ is a fundamental building block in Denmark’s social structure. This is one of the cultural factors that Nikita Klæstrup names in her interview with Politiken, but it is far from the only one.

“The way I see it is that the feminist movement has tried to work against the cookie cutter idea of beauty and step away from it because they believe it objectifies women and that modeling is male dominated. Now we see that they’ve turned so far away from it, that when a woman says, ‘I want to be a model’ or ‘I want to get breast implants,’ we see a lot of people reacting and saying that she shouldn’t. It takes away a woman’s right to choose and as long as she isn’t hurting anyone, I think she should be able to do it.”

The problem of slut shaming

Another issue Nikita has addressed is the idea of slut shaming, or attempting to guilt someone based on their sexual behavior, such as, among other things, violating accepted dress codes or premarital sex.

She expressed her views in regards to the so-called ”Viborg folder”, where intimate photos of high school girls sent privately were complied into one folder for a large group of boys.

Nikita has claimed the police to be using both slut shaming and victim blaming in her response the incident in Berlingske, as young girls were asked ”for God’s sake” to stop taking these types of photos. But this isn’t the only place slut shaming can be found. Nikita herself has experienced some of this through negative feedback about using her looks to gain attention, but she argues that it affects many.

“We see a lot of women being shamed for dressing sexually and acting sexually. I see it from a lot of women, which is unfortunate, because we should be embracing sister solidarity. If we look towards a country such as Italy, where we see their female politicians and their leaders, they always look like they just stepped out of a magazine and we don’t accept that it’s okay in Denmark. For example, we see that around Helle. Now that she’s been nicknamed Gucci Helle because of her handbag, when I think we should praise her for looking so beautiful.”

Despite much of the negative feedback, Nikita has also received a lot of positive feedback and “sister solidarity” about her choice to dress how she wants.

International Women’s Day

Nikita was also active on International Women’s Day, and quick to question contemporary feminism in Denmark through her blog in newspaper Metro Express.

While some activists may have focused on problems internationally in Denmark, she used the day to address women’s issues worldwide.

“I think we see here in Denmark that the debate becomes very bleh because it can be about very ridiculous things. There was once a suggestion of having women’s urinals because it takes longer for women to go to the bathroom. I think we need to look towards countries with different problems like, for example, in my blog, I wrote about India, where it’s unsafe for women to be out at night and Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan where women are not allowed to walk around without a man. In Denmark we argue about why we can’t stand up and pee and I think we should really think about the more important aspects of women’s rights.”

So what does the future hold for you?
Surprisingly, Nikita Klæstrup is not actually interested in working full time with women’s rights or as a politician.

“I do want to work with politics, but more behind the scenes and on political campaigns,” she says.

But first, her focus is on graduating from the University of Copenhagen.

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