Portuguese politicians, artists paint lips red against far-right leader’s misogynistic comments

Portuguese politicians, artists, and citizens have taken to social media network sites to post images of themselves wearing red lipstick, after the leader of populist far-right party Chega insulted Left Bloc MP Marisa Matias for her “very red lips.”

On Wednesday night, Chega’s presidential candidate, André Ventura, who defended that restaurants, cafes, small businesses and cultural events should remain open, and is known for his racist remarks, went on to accuse Matias of “not doing very well in terms of image, performance,” adding that she painted her lips “as if it were a joke.”

Matias expressed her anger at what happened on social media networking sites and posted a photograph of herself with red lips, using the hashtag #vermelhoembelem (‘#redinbelem’). 

Ventura’s offensive comments have led several politicians, artists and other well-known figures to post images of themselves wearing red lipstick using the hashtag #vermelhoembelem, including Socialist candidate Ana Gomes, who posted a video of herself applying red lipstick, inside a car, on Twitter.

“The insult that man made to women says nothing about women but says everything about that man,” Matias told local broadcaster tvi.

Current President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who took office in 2016, is expected to win a second term in the January 24 elections. According to opinion polls, Ventura, who got a parliamentary seat in 2019 and is known for his xenophobic and racist discourse, could get up to 11% of the vote.

The presidential election is taking place without delay despite a national lockdown and national travel restrictions are being lifted on both voting day and on January 17.