Finnish Politicians See 36-Year-Old Woman Prime Minister Sanna Marin Dancing, Assume She’s on Drugs
"You won't get any dancing here. It's illegal."
Last week, Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin was accused of being on drugs when a leaked video showed her dancing with friends at a private party in Helsinki.
The video showed no use of illicit substances, and while she did admit to drinking, she denied being on drugs and proved her innocence with a negative drug test. Nevertheless, she has apologized twice, first for the act of partying itself and then for some less topless photos of guests at the party. Some decry this as a pattern of behavior; she was previously criticized for going out in public after being exposed to COVID19, despite having been told she was fine due to being vaccinated.
At the same time, this feels like a pattern of sexist criticism, like the time when she was critiqued for her cover of Trendi, where she appeared in a pants and blazer combo with a statement necklace and no shirt or bra. Exaggerated criticism is par for the course in many political spheres; Fox News has raged at Presidents Biden and Obama for everything from getting two scoops of ice cream to wearing a tan suit. Political opponents will latch onto anything.
But the fact it’s over a little thing like privately dancing feels very overblown. Just because she’s a world leader who can actually dance does not mean she’s on drugs.
And it’s not like she’s the only one; President Zelensky was on Dancing with the Stars, President Obama danced with Ellen, and pretty much every major politician of the part 30 years has some video of them “dancing” publicly.
It’s such a bizarre connection to make, assuming dancing and drugs go hand-in-hand feels like something out of Footloose more than actual political discussion.
Thankfully, there’s a large amount of support for Marin, with other professional women showing off their moves with the hashtag #SolidarityWithSanna. Hillary Clinton told her to ‘keep dancing,’ tweeting out a photo of herself dancing in Cartagena when she was Secretary of State.
All of this is in addition to a growing acknowledgement of the double standard faced by young women in political/professional spheres.
Maarja Luhiste, Director of Research, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University, spoke with ABC Australia on the subject and noted how part of the issue is the fact that many people are not used to having young people as Prime Ministers and how “going to the pub with voters” can be seen as entirely different as “privately partying at home with friends.” They also brought up the fact that Liz Truss, a 47-year-old candidate for Britain’s Conservative Party Leadership, is modeling herself after Margaret Thatcher, likely in an attempt to work the sexism and ageism of voters in her favor by reminding them of The Iron Lady.
Marin also highlighted the fact that just because she takes time to enjoy herself does not mean she cannot do her job. “During these dark times, I too need some joy, light, and fun…” she said in her initial apology, “but I have not missed a single day of work, a single task, and I never will.”
This whole thing is also a reminder of issues with work-life balance and the fact that social media can blur the lines between professional and private lives. Yes, keeping up professional appearances as leaders is important, but no one can be on the job 24/7; doctors, lawyers, parents, teachers, world leaders, and more all need breaks, need to spend time with friends, need to drink and laugh and, yes, dance.
How else will we get hilarious videos like these:
(featured image: Hannibal Hanschke/Getty Images)
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