Women Are Dancing on Social Media in Support of Finnish Prime Minister After Partying Videos Spark Backlash

In response to criticism of Finland’s young leader having fun with friends, social media users are posting their moves and using the hashtag #SolidarityWithSanna

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin
Sanna Marin. Photo: MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty

A new dance craze is sweeping Finland. The moves vary but the message is clear: People are cutting a rug to show support for Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

Marin, who became her country's youngest-ever leader when she was elected in 2019, defended herself against backlash earlier this month after videos published by a tabloid showed her dancing and partying with friends.

"I spent the evening with friends. Partied, pretty wild, yes. Danced and sang," Marin, 36, said, according to Sky News, which cited Finnish broadcaster YLE.

Some critics said Marin's behavior was inappropriate or unprofessional. Others said she ought to take a drug test, even though there's no clear evidence in the videos of illicit substances present at the party. (Marin denied using drugs other than alcohol and offered to take a drug test. The BBC reports she did and passed.)

Now, mostly women supporters — and not just in Finland — are turning up the music and letting loose in front of cameras so they can post photos and videos of their dance moves on social media using the hashtag #SolidarityWithSanna.

Check out a few of the videos on TikTok, on Twitter and on Instagram.

"It seems like certain people still today have a hard time comprehending the fact that you can be both a young woman ... and a competent politician at the same time," Rikke Dal Stottrup, who works for popular Danish women's magazine Alt for Damerne, told The Washington Post.

Stottrup and her staff dug up their own dancing videos on their phones and posted them to the magazine's official account.

"We wanted to emphasize the fact that you can be a great prime minister, CEO, editor, nurse — insert job title — and hit the dance floor on weekends, too," Stottrup said. "If we want to have more diversity ... we have to expand our view on what a politician can look like. We have to accept the whole package and not just what we historically have been used to."

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Forbes explored what could be a double standard at play in the reaction to Marin's dancing videos, citing studies that showed women can be judged more harshly than men when it comes to behaviors like drinking alcohol and showing off their bodies with revealing clothes or, perhaps in Marin's case, by dancing.

"A female candidate for a student senate presidency at a U.S. university wearing revealing clothing was perceived by 191 college students as less honest and trustworthy, electable, and competent than one wearing conservative clothing," said the authors of a study cited by Forbes, which notes that dancing likely provokes a similar response. "Revealing clothing led participants to gaze at sexualized body parts, which, in turn, led to perceiving the candidate as less honest and trustworthy, which lowered evaluations of her competence and electability."

Since the videos of Marin dancing at a party emerged, the prime minister has been adamant about having nothing "to conceal or hide" and said she will conduct herself as she always has since becoming her country's political leader and in a way that's not unusual for people her age.

"I hope that in the year 2022," she said, according to The Guardian, "it's accepted that even decision-makers dance, sing and go to parties."

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