The dance party video of the Finnish premiere of Sanna Marin sparks outrage

The dance party video of the Finnish premiere of Sanna Marin sparks outrage

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Germany’s Bild newspaper last week named Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin the “coolest politician in the world” and called the 36-year-old leader “casual, modern and confident” as she navigates the threat posed by Russia – and also attends music festivals with her their friends.

But now that reputation seems to have landed her in hot water after footage of Marin at a private event was leaked online.

In a series of clips posted to Instagram on Wednesday, Marin and other partygoers are shown hopping along to Finnish pop music – and when the beat falls, they burst into dancing.

The room is shrouded in the purple haze of neon party lights, which illuminate Marin as she hugs friends, kneels on the floor and sings along.

As the videos circulated online this week, some critics berated their behavior childishwhile others accused her of not focusing on Finland’s cost-of-living crisis.

But many others paused and asked, What’s all the fuss about? Analysts say Marin’s age and gender — and the intersection between the two — make her a particular target for criticism in a world mostly ruled by older men.

“I have a family life, I have a work life and I have free time to spend with my friends. Pretty much like a lot of people my age,” Marin said on Thursday, the BBC reported.

She said the videos are private and filmed in a private room. “I am upset that these have become public knowledge,” Portal quoted her as saying.

It wasn’t the first time that Marin, a member of the Finnish Social Democratic Party, was “caught” partying. In December, she apologized for another incident in which she stayed in a Helsinki nightclub without her phone until 4am. While she was out, a notification was sent to Marin’s phone to let her know she was a close contact of someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. (She didn’t get it in the end.)

Finland’s PM apologizes after partying all night despite coronavirus exposure

Her political rivals took up the new videos this week, urging Marin to undergo voluntary drug testing. “The people can expect the same from their prime minister,” said Mikko Karna, MP for the Center Party.

Marin fired back and told local outlet Yle that she was ready to take a drug test. “I have not used drugs or anything other than alcohol myself. I danced, sang and partied and did perfectly legal things,” she added.

An editorial in Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat argued that celebrating them posed a security risk.

“In a delicate situation, the prime minister can put the weapons of information warfare in the hands of those who want to harm Finland,” reads the editorial. “There could be more leaks. If not now, then at the next party.”

Marin was the world’s youngest incumbent head of state when she was elected in 2019 at the age of 34. Her victory placed her in a small but powerful group of presidents and prime ministers elected in their 30s, including New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele.

As Prime Minister of Finland, Marin succeeded Antti Rinne, who was born in 1962; and before him Juha Sipilä, who was born in 1961. Marin was born more than two decades later, in 1985.

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Marin’s position alone in the board office “disrupts what people have historically been comfortable with in terms of age and gender (older males),” Sara Angevine, a political scientist at Whittier College, said in an email.

Bettina Spencer, a professor at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, In., said young female leaders are more scrutinized than their older male counterparts.

“Young executives are not taken seriously because of age stereotypes. Female executives are not taken seriously because of gender stereotypes. Young female leaders in particular are not taken seriously due to the overlap of age and gender,” said Spencer.

“As such, they are more scrutinized for behaviors that reinforce the belief that they may not be ‘serious’, and that includes simply dancing with friends at a private event,” she said.

But not everyone criticized Marin for letting go – and applauded instead what they said was the prime minister who “proves that you can play hard if you work hard”.

Someone else on Twitter asked: “Sanna Marin is the only CEO in the world who has documented friends.”