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Finland's prime minister takes a drug test after criticism over her partying

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin holds a news conference in Helsinki on Friday after leaked videos showing her partying sparked criticism.
Roni Rekomaa
Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin holds a news conference in Helsinki on Friday after leaked videos showing her partying sparked criticism.

Finland's prime minister said Friday that she has taken a drug test following public backlash to videos that surfaced this week showing her dancing and singing with her friends.

"I consider these accusations to be very serious, and, though I consider the demand for a drug test unjust, for my own legal protection and to clear up any doubts, I have taken a drug test today, the results of which will come in about a week," Sanna Marin told reporters on Friday.

Objections to her partying and behavior came after two private videos were leaked. In them, Marin can be seen dancing and singing with her friends, who include Finnish celebrities and Finnish pop star Olavi Uusivirta, the BBC reported.

Marin said she did know that she was being filmed, the Finnish outlet Yle reported, but added that the videos were supposed to remain private.

"I am upset that these videos have become public," Marin said. "It was about me having a night out with friends. Partying — even in a boisterous way — dancing and singing."

The prime minister said previously that she did not consume any drugs, and just had some drinks containing alcohol.

Reactions have been mixed

Calls for a drug test came from members of opposition parties. And while some have criticized the prime minister for the behavior on social media, others havecelebrated it.And it's not the first time Marin's after-work behavior has been commented on.

The 36-year-old has been photographed at music festivals in the past wearing cut-off denim shorts and a leather jacket. While some have called into question her professionalism, others have applauded her relatability and her ability to have a work-life balance.

Her time in office hasn't only been full of partying. Marin was elected to the prime minister position in 2019 and became Finland's youngest prime minister ever. She represents the Social Democratic Party and in her time in office the country has gone through the global pandemic, dealt with its neighbor, Russia launching a war in Ukraine, and most recently, Finland became poised to join NATO along with Sweden.

Many have asked how gender is playing into the scrutiny

The scrutiny that Marin has been under this week has made many ask the question if this behavior and the subsequent reactions would be the same if a man was in the prime minister position and filmed doing the same activities.

"There's a tendency to focus on women's personal lives, their appearance, and in general, I'd say that compared to men, women are more likely to have to really prove their credentials in terms of being capable politicians," said Farida Jalalzai, associate dean of global initiatives and engagement at Virginia Tech.

Women are often caught in a trap of having to go above and beyond what is expected of other people to prove that they are professional, Jalalzai said, adding that Marin's gender and age are likely playing a role in the coverage of these videos.

On the other hand, men in positions of power are not discussed as often in such personal ways, Jalalzai said, leaving women to pay the higher price in terms of the language used to describe them.

"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. And it's like, did [Marin] really do anything wrong if we're really just talking about dancing?" Jalalzai said.

"It just hearkens back [to] this time where women's behavior had a lot to do with the respect that they were given or their families were given in society — and it just seems sort of archaic," Jalalzai added.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Wynne Davis is a digital reporter and producer for NPR's All Things Considered.