As mystical as the geothermal hot springs of southern Iceland may seem, they're actually one of the country's go-to vacation destinations, where you can find both tourists and locals — which is why photographer Helga Nina Aas visited the springs this summer: As body positivity becomes a global conversation, she wanted to find out how Icelandic women feel about their bodies.
Aas tells Refinery29 that, much like women in the U.S., Icelandic women deal with pressure from the media to look a certain way. "Some women are only happy with themselves if they have worked out vigorously, watched everything that they have eaten, and feel like they're at their peak," she says.
Fortunately, according to Aas, Icelandic women are finding ways to resist limited ideas of beauty in their everyday lives, starting with the example they're setting. "Many of us choose to be inspired by women who respect their bodies and have a happy balance with family, work, spirituality, and health," she says. "It was a great personal reminder to talk about myself respectfully, especially around my own daughter."
Ahead, meet the women Aas interviewed and photographed, and learn more about the state of body positivity in Iceland.
Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.