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Dhaka, Bangladesh | Today May 11, 2021 7:46 am
"She [Marisa Matias] is not doing very well in terms of image, with all that red lipstick, as if it is a joke," he said at a campaign event.

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“She [Marisa Matias] is not doing very well in terms of image, with all that red lipstick, as if it is a joke,” he said at a campaign event.

Presidential candidate Marisa Matias. /Marisa Matias campaign website

Portugal’s presidential campaign is underway, with voters set to make the final decision on Sunday, January 24. But this year, the elections are being tainted by a myriad of problems, with COVID-19 cases and deaths on the rise, following the softening of measures during the Christmas period, only to have far-right candidate André Ventura try to degrade female candidate Marisa Matias because she wears red lipstick.

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Like many other insults Ventura has been dissing since being elected as a deputy in the Portuguese Parliament, namely against migrants and gypsies, the backlash was immediate and a Twitter storm was born.

The hashtag #VermelhoEmBelém, which translates to “Red in Belém” referring to the president’s official residency, started trending fast with many men and women going online with painted lips in protest to the remarks, which were not completely new.

In September 2020, he said, “this [gender] parity thing in the MP’s list is absolute nonsense.” In the same month, he called Ana Gomes, the other female presidential candidate and former member of the European Parliament, a “hysterical woman” and “friend of the minorities that live from our work.”

Asked about his comment, Marisa Matias, supported in the race by the Left Bloc Party, said simply, “the insult that man made against women says nothing about women, but everything about him.”

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