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Why women are dancing in solidarity with Finland's prime minister

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has faced a backlash over videos that surfaced of her dancing and singing with her friends.
Johanna Geron
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Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has faced a backlash over videos that surfaced of her dancing and singing with her friends.

People posting pictures and videos of themselves partying online has become a political statement for some women.

In social media feeds, women are showing themselves dancing, singing or holding a drink to show their solidarity with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin. She has been under public scrutiny after videos of her dancing and singing with friends circulated on the internet. Those videos were meant to be private, according to Marin.

"I have a family life, I have a work life and I have free time to spend with my friends. Pretty much the same as many people my age," Marin said, according to the Finnish outlet Yle.

Some criticized her behavior, questioning her maturity and competency. Others called for Marin to take a drug test, which she took on Friday in response to the criticism. The test results came back negative on Monday, the Finnish government wrote on its website.

The reaction to Marin's behavior struck a particular chord for some women who feel that in both their personal life and in politics, they are held to an unfair standard.

At Alt for Damerne, a Danish weekly women's magazine, female employees compiled a montage of themselves dancing to show women supporting other women.

"Our first idea was to write a column or editorial but then we thought, let's do this with some kind of humor and show that we all have those clips on our camera roll that wasn't supposed to see the light of day," Editor-in-Chief Rikke Dal Støttrup told NPR.

Støttrup added that Marin's ordeal reminds her of the treatment of Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a former prime minister of Denmark who received criticism over her taste in designer clothes.

Rixt Van Dongera, a public affairs coordinator from the Netherlands, also posted a video of herself at the Lowlands Festival with the caption "#SolidaritywithSanna."

"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," she told NPR. "Dancing with your friends should be regarded as a great way to use your free time."

Marin, who is 36 years old, was elected in 2019 — becoming the country's youngest prime minister and the world's youngest serving prime minister.

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Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.