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Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s photo shoot for Trend magazine sparks debate over sexism

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A photo shoot involving Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has sparked a debate over sexism in the country.

Marin, who became the youngest Prime Minister in the world when she took office at the age of 34 last year, posed for the October issue of Trend magazine wearing a jacket with no shirt down.

Marie Paalosalo-Jussinmki, director of women’s media at A-lehdet magazine group – publisher of Trend – told CNN that there was a “huge” backlash against the photo shoot and the cover story in Finland. She said the magazine received harsh criticism on social media shortly after it was released on October 9th.

The photo session ignited

The photo shoot sparked “big” reactions in Finland. credit: Jonas Lundqvist / A-Lehdet Oy

“If you had to generalize it, it would be the men who say it was wrong, and the women who say it was fabulous,” Paalosalo-Jussinmki said.

“It was a bit surprising,” she said, adding: “We’ve had that kind of picture before, obviously, in a woman’s glossy fashion magazine: we’ve portrayed women in jackets with nothing down for years and years, with famous people, and they had never come up with an answer like that. ”

Paalosalo-Jussinmki told CNN that many critics of the cover story seemed upset that the Prime Minister had featured in a women’s lifestyle magazine, and some were angry that she did so as the government tackled the coronavirus pandemic.

“This was seen as a waste of the Prime Minister’s time,” she said.

But the cover story – which included Marin talking about the demands of her job, the exhaustion and the difficulty of balancing work and family life – also sparked a source of support on social media. In response, women and men posted their images on their jackets, under the hashtag #imwithsanna.

“I think it speaks to women who are tired and fed up with limitations and are told how to act and look and behave, and being judged by their appearance – if you are young and beautiful, then you can not be taken seriously, “said Paalosalo-Jussinmki.

Marin is far from the first female politician to face criticism for her appearance – both in public life and in magazine appearances. In 2016, former British Prime Minister Theresa May faced surveillance by the tabloid press after being photographed in leather pants for Sunday Times Magazine. Meanwhile, British lawmaker Tracy Brabin was forced to respond to online trolls this year after receiving abuse on social media after her shoulder was exposed during a debate in the House of Commons, with some asking if the MP’s dress was “appropriate dress “.

CNN turned to Sanna Marin’s office for comment.

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