The old joke about Finns is that the way to tell an introverted Finn from an extroverted one is that the former looks at his shoes when he talks to you, and the latter looks at your shoes. Well, defying this stereotype is Sanna Marin, the country’s 36 year old Prime Minister, who was found guilty of exuberantly dancing among friends at a private party after a leaked social media video exposed her supposed transgression. She was charged with not being more serious during a time of Covid, high inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The criticism was so virulent that Ms. Marin confessed to consuming alcohol (gasp!) and agreed to take a drug test to prove she was not engaged in illegal activity. She also apologized for appearing at the event after recently being in contact with a Covid-exposed person.
But the fact is that Ms. Marin is only guilty of being too young and attractive in the testosterone-infested world of politics, where male misbehavior has been tolerated from time immemorial and sexual scandal is practically a job qualification in the otherwise buttoned-down realm of the British Parliament. Ms. Marin has done a credible job in her post, guiding her country to one of the world’s lowest Covid death counts, and joining with Sweden to shed their centuries old stance of neutrality to bring their countries to the brink of NATO membership as a reaction to the existential threat posed by Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Maybe the overall point, however, is that women just can’t win in a world still tainted by sexism. Prominent Canadian anchorwoman Lisa LaFlamme was summarily removed from her position without warning, suspected to be at least partially because of letting her hair naturally turn gray during the pandemic. So, it seems that women can’t appear either too young or too old.
Perhaps the condemnation of Ms. Marin should be turned on its head, and that dancing ability should be taken as a positive in terms of a politician’s competence. A right wing release of an old college video of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing intended to shame her only increased her popularity. And with both parties’ leadership in this country hinging on senescence, the injection of a little youthful joy would certainly would be an improvement.
So, boogie on, Sanna. This troubled world could use more of your passion. In contrast, a clip of former President Trump “dancing” at a campaign rally should have been a serious warning sign. Although dancing is still legal in most of the world, like most of his presidency, that scene was downright criminal.