Marin’s partying sparks undue criticism

Finnish prime minister ignites conversation on gender standards.

Hannah Larson , Editor-in-Chief

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin faces controversy after a video of her singing and dancing at a party went viral earlier this month. Marin denied using any drugs while partying and reported that the drug test she took after the video leaked came back negative

“I have not used drugs myself, or anything other than alcohol. I’ve danced, sung and partied and done perfectly legal things,” Marin said, according to the New York Post. 

Regardless, swift backlash erupted. Members of Finland’s parliament criticized Marin’s priorities, Finnish television personality Aleksi Valavuori derided Marin as “incompetent” and Finnish tabloid editor Juha Ristamäki questioned whether Marin is capable of protecting Finland from Russian threats. 

News of a prime minister singing and dancing is hardly worthy of igniting a domestic fray and making headlines worldwide. To castigate a leader so harshly for gathering with friends outside of work is not only excessive, it highlights the double standard applied to male and female leaders. 

A QUESTION OF PROPRIETY

The 36-year-old leader spoke to residents in the town of Lathi in Finland and emphasized her commitment to her work while acknowledging her humanity, according to PBS NewsHour. 

“I am also human,” Marin said. “I do my job. I learn from this. This week has not been easy. It has been difficult. But I want to believe that people look at the work we do, not what we do in our free time.”

While critics say Marin’s behavior is irresponsible and unbecoming to a world leader — especially considering pressing problems such as Finland’s skyrocketing electricity prices and slowing economic growth — Marin said she had no government meetings at the time of the party and was not acting in an official capacity. She also noted the private nature of the event, saying that while she knew she was being filmed, she considered the party to be just a casual celebration with friends. 

“I am upset that these videos have become public,” Marin said, according to NPR. “It was about me having a night out with friends.”

DOUBLE STANDARD

Australia’s ABC News, among other outlets, highlighted the discrepancy between negative media coverage surrounding Marin, a young female world leader, and Anthony Albanese, the prime minister of Australia. 58-year-old Albanese chugged a beer at a Gang of Youths rock concert in Sydney, Australia on Aug. 22 but was met with cheers and applause rather than criticism. ABC News noted that the video of Albanese drinking at the concert went viral with largely positive reactions and escaped the vitriolic response that the videos of Marin partying received. 

In response to the furor, women around the world have begun posting videos of themselves dancing to show solidarity with Marin. The simple act of Marin expressing her joy has not only raised poignant questions about leadership roles and gender expectations, it has also inspired women to defiantly share in her happiness through song and dance.

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