But many women rushed to the dance floor and posted videos on social media with the hashtag #SolidarityWithSanna to speak out against what they see as unfair and sexist treatment of Marin. They argue that the criticism she has faced has been dished out unjustly because she is a young woman in a field dominated by older men. And the clips have been viewed more than 100,000 times on tik tok only.
When Rikke Dal Stottrup and her staff at the popular Danish women’s magazine Alt for Damerne heard the news, they had a feeling of déjà vu.
They recalled that tall, blonde Helle Thorning-Schmidt—Denmark’s prime minister from 2011 to 2015—was constantly beaten by what he wore when he was in office.
“It seems that some people even today have a hard time grasping the fact that you can be a young woman … and a competent politician at the same time,” Stottrup said.
In the midst of last week’s controversy, employees at Alt for Damerne, which translates to “Everything for the Ladies,” checked their devices. for your own dance clips. They then posted the videos on the magazine’s official account, with a caption that translates as “In solidarity with the Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin… at the editorial office of Alt for Damerne we emptied the camera roll for clips that… should never have seen the light of day.”
“We wanted to emphasize the fact that you can be a great prime minister, CEO, publisher, nurse (insert title) and also hit the dance floor on the weekends,” Stottrup said. “If we want to have more diversity… we have to broaden our vision of what a politician can be like. We have to accept the whole package and not just what we have historically been used to.”
Melani McAlister, a professor of American studies and international affairs at George Washington University, said the backlash against Marin reminded her of how Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) was reprimanded in 2019 when a video Resurfaced from her college dance. (Ocasio-Cortez responded with a new video of her dancing in front of his office.)
“Somebody thought this could become a problem even though it’s clearly a tempest in a teapot,” McAlister said of the Ocasio-Cortez viral clip. “The fact that she is a woman, the fact that she is young and…the fact that she is a minority puts her in a safe position to deserve or be seen as deserving of her position of power.”
McAlister said that while critics demand a higher standard of young women and others who Underrepresented in politics, Marin’s party is nothing out of the ordinary and is socially comparable to the way older politicians play golf. As more young adults take on government jobs, she said, voters will have to adjust to what the age group does outside of work.
“While [Marin] she manages to keep calling this what it is, so good for her,” McAlister said. “She’s not letting her get more traction than she should.”
The vitriol of Marin’s Finnish rivals may seem contrary to the reputation of the Scandinavian country, which has often been considered a leading industrialized nation for gender equality, said Eiko Strader, a sociologist and assistant professor at GWU. But country rankings don’t tell the whole story.
“Finland seems to be doing much better than other countries, but if you look at labor market indicators like earnings and managerial representation, Finnish women still lag behind Finnish men, because social norms and cultures that cannot be captured through standardized measures shape our daily lives…,” Strader said in an email.
Stottrup said that although sexist Attacks launched against female politicians are likely to persist around the world, supporters will continue to unite.
As she said: “We probably still have a few decades to go before we don’t see any more of these cases, but the Sanna Marins of the world should know we’re right behind them. Dancing.”
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