Women around the world have come to the defense of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin after video footage of her partying in a VIP room at a Helsinki nightclub drew intense criticism, according to published reports.
Leaked video of the 36-year-old prime minister dancing and drinking with friends has raised questions from right-wing opponents about Marin’s ability to lead the country.
“I have a family life, I have a work life and I have free time to spend with my friends,” Marin responded, according to Finnish news outlet Yle. “Pretty much the same as many people my age.”
But as Marin has faced fierce backlash, a new social media trend that sprang up in her defense has spread, CNN reports. Women are posting videos and photos of themselves having a little fun with the hashtag #solidaritywithsanna.
On Friday, Marin voluntarily took a drug test after opposition leaders lobbed criticisms and accused her of using illegal substances (there was no evidence of this in the video).
“I consider these accusations to be very serious,” Marin told reporters Friday, adding that she was taking the test for her “own legal protection,” but considered the demands to be “very unjust.”
And many women are in agreement, noting the sexist double standards that have guided much of the discourse around Marin’s behavior.
“Women have to sort of go out of their way to do even more than a male politician to try to stay out of those types of situations,” Farida Jalalzai, an associate dean at Virginia Tech, told NPR. “And it’s like, did [Marin] really do anything wrong if we’re really just talking about dancing?”
Marin, who also came under scrutiny for her appearance last year (including, once, for wearing denim cutoffs and a leather jacket to a concert), expressed similar sentiments in response to this latest round of sexism.
“I had some time off and I spent it with my friends,” Marin said at a press conference. “It was about me having a night out…partying — even in a boisterous way — dancing and singing,” she said, according to Yle.
Alt for Damerne, a Danish women’s magazine, took the digital trend to print and published a collage of photos of women on staff dancing and partying in solidarity with Marin.
“I wanted to support her and all our rights to be an individual next to her extremely busy job and have fun with her friends,” Rikke Dal Støttrup, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, told NPR.
Marin, the leader of Finland’s Social Democratic Party, has overseen the country’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Covid pandemic and potential membership with NATO during her tenure.