Finland’s prime minister Sanna Marin at centre of sexism debate after wearing low-cut blazer for magazine shoot
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Finland’s prime minister has found herself at the centre of a sexism row over a magazine photo shoot in which she wore a low-cut blazer.
Sanna Marin, 34, who became the world’s youngest national leader when she came to power last December, was pictured on the cover of magazine Trendi wearing a trouser suit with no top underneath.
The image prompted a huge divide, with some accusing the PM of demeaning her office with the outfit.
But others fiercely defended the political leader, claiming the criticism was driven by sexism. The row sparked an act of defiance online, with her supporters began posting similar selfies under the hashtag #imwithsanna.
The row came as Ms Marin told the magazine that she wants to “concentrate on policies, not my appearance”.
The Social Democrat politician, who has a two-year-old duaghter, often uses media interviews to discuss her work-life balance in a bid to promote gender equality.
Some social media users called the pictures “tasteless” and “ridiculous”.
One wrote: “Yeah a real role model. Someone with taste and sense of style.”
Finnish entrepreneur Aki Pyysing wrote a blog post about economic policies in which he mocked her body shape and criticised her for “attention-seeking”.
It was shared by two MPs from the centre-right National Coalition party, the main force in opposition, Elina Lepomaki and Juhana Vartianen, who later apologised and deleted their tweets.
But many spoke out in support of the leader, with actress Kiti Kokkonen and singer Hanna Pakarinen among those to publish pictures of themselves in the same pose, under the viral hashtag.
“Everyone should be allowed to live in such a way that their character, dignity and professional skills are not determined by clutching at irrelevant straws,” Kokkonen, 45, wrote on Instagram.
Some also posted pictures of male world leaders exposing their chests, including topless images of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Mari Karsikas, Trendi’s editor-in-chief, suggested the criticism stemmed from misogyny, adding: “Many did not see her chest at all — they saw Sanna Marin dressed in a trendy black trouser suit.”
One person wrote: “Stylish image. Anyone who condemns an over-open neck can stop hypocrisy. Our beautiful Prime Minister, who is a good role model for all Finnish women.”
Another said: “Such a wonderful woman who is not afraid to break the dusty hardened patriarchal formulas.”