Red lips against populism

One of the social movements that spread fast through social media, gathering support from almost everyone who is against CHEGA, a national conservative, right-wing populist political party in Portugal, and André Ventura was the “Polémica dos Lábios Vermelhos” which occurred during the 2021 Portuguese presidential election. During the campaign leading up to the election, one of André Ventura’s main strategies was to directly attack his opponent not just by their views or agendas but also by their physical appearance.

This was one of the strategies used to charge against Marisa Matias, another presidential candidate supported by the left-wing party Bloco de Esquerda. The comment left by Ventura was along the lines of the referring to a damaged image on behalf of Marisa Matias alluding to the fact that the candidate didn’t appear to take anything seriously so much so that she even painted her lips like it was a child’s play. Matias wore throughout her campaign a signature red lipstick (Gonçalves, 2021).

The response to this was an unplanned social media organized movement under the hashtag #VermelhoemBelem in which people of all genders and all social statuses including celebrities and even other presidential candidates, were seen wearing or putting on red lipstick as a sign of rebellion and opposition to the misogynist’s comment made by the CHEGA leader.

This was one of the very first major initiatives that was able to garner a lot of support and social expression against the populist leader who chose not evoke Matias ideas or goals if she was chosen as the president but instead attack her for a stylistics choice which made the Portuguese people to stand with Matias against Ventura. Although this isn’t necessarily a political movement it represents a change in the way the Portuguese are able to deal and to accept the twist and nonsensical speech of Ventura. Ventura lacks so much of a well-defined political strategy that his choice was to go for the looks of the other candidate and the overall and overwhelming response of the people was that they will not stand for complete lack of respect like the one Ventura did.

Red lips against populism
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