The president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, of the Social Democratic Party, has caused a new controversy in the country for a comment that has been labeled as sexist when highlighting the cleavage of a young woman in a meeting with two of her compatriots in Canada. He met them in the middle of the street during a visit to the American country.
«The daughter still catches the flu. Have you seen the neckline that she is wearing? », said the Portuguese president to two Portuguese emigrants, mother and daughter, with whom he spoke in Toronto. The moment was recorded by public television and went viral this weekend, with the resulting controversy. They accuse Rebelo of making a sexist comment by highlighting a woman’s neckline and insinuating that it is pronounced enough to catch the flu.
Mother and daughter to whom Robelo told about the cleavage.
Rebelo de Sousa himself has come forward to address this controversy and said that “it was not a sexist comment. I would not have thought of it. Neither for the young nor for the old ladies. “It was not sexist at all,” he responded when questioned by the press.
“At the end of the walk through the Portuguese part of Montreal it started to rain, it was cold” and that is why he warned “several older ladies, one of them with white hair and others who were younger,” he explained this Sunday. «I told several people, but apparently only one young woman was recorded: be careful, they still get constipated. “I got constipated,” she added to the Portuguese media.
“Let Rebel apologize”
Criticism of machismo against Rebelo de Sousa’s words has come from various political parties, including the ruling Socalist Party (PS), and from the right-wing ¡Basta!, the liberal Libre or the environmentalist People-Animals-Nature (PAN).
The national secretary of the PS, Isabel Moreira, has called on the head of state to apologize. «We are in 2023. You don’t treat a woman you don’t know by making a joke about her weight. There is no joke about a neckline (…). And she apologizes. Sexism kills us. “She’s not funny,” she declared, according to the Portuguese newspaper Público.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, president of Portugal. (Efe)
“In the 21st century we have to see the normalization of this type of comments,” said PAN deputy Inés de Sousa Real, who has asked the head of state to “reinforce the importance of not normalizing these comments.”
Naturally, the allusions to Rubiales’ non-consensual kiss to Jenni Hermoso could not be missing. «Recently, we have had the Rubiales case in Spain and the international community has mobilized. We are not going to equate the seriousness of the two situations, but the truth is that we cannot forget that we live in a world in which there is domestic violence and a quite accentuated siege where many times words uttered without malice can legitimize behaviors with other intentions,” he added.
The networks burn against Rebelo
The leader of ¡Basta!, André Ventura, has commented on social networks that if it had been him who had uttered those phrases there would already be dozens of complaints “and I don’t know how many associations and observatories for the defense of gender equality” mobilized.
If I were to comment on a woman’s cleavage in public, we would already have dozens of complaints to the ERC, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and I don’t know how many more associations and observatories defending gender equality. pic.twitter.com/6mojHd71qZ
— André Ventura (@AndreCVentura) September 16, 2023
Another Rebelo controversy
Just a week ago Rebelo de Sousa was the protagonist of another controversy when a woman sat on a bench next to the president to take a photograph and he asked her if “the bench can hold?”, in reference to her overweight. Previously, he had described Luis Rubiales’s kiss as a “minor issue” compared to the war in Ukraine.
#Rebelo #called #sexist #commenting #young #womans #cleavage