ZAGREB, January 5, 2019 – Gender equality ombudswoman Višnja Ljubičić on Friday recommended withdrawing controversial education posters against alcohol consumption from trams in Zagreb over their sexist messages that degrade women, such as a warning that women under the influence of alcohol are more likely to engage in sexual intercourse with unknown men without precautions.
The messages on the posters suggest that in men alcohol affects only their bodily functions, while in women it affects their behaviour making them promiscuous, undignified and irrational and making them lose any criteria as to who they have sex with, Ljubičić said after receiving many complaints from members of the public and media.
“Such a sex-based portrayal of women is offensive and degrading and not in keeping with the principles of equality of women and men or with national and international documents that define sexism and sexual stereotypes as one of the serious obstacles to achieving full gender equality,” she said.
The ombudswoman recalled that in its Recommendation 1555 of 2002, entitled “The image of women in the media”, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly called on its member states, including Croatia, to condemn sexism in the same way as racism.
The first section of the poster, which refers to men, claims that alcohol has a bad influence on sex life and reproduction of men and reduces their sexual desire, sexual power and erection. That, they say, results in a lack of confidence.
This is followed by a second section, rather absurd, warning that drunk women like to engage in sex with random people. The poster says, “With women, alcohol leads to irresponsible sexual intercourses with unknown persons, menstrual cycle disorders and pregnancy. Through the placenta, alcohol also enters the blood of a child which can cause physical disabilities and mental retardation, the so-called fetal alcohol syndrome. “
According to info on the poster itself, it was created together by the Zagreb City Office for Health and the Centre for Education, Counselling and Personal Development CEDAR. The centre explained that the poster is part of the public drive “Healthy Choice”, which is complementary to the preventive project “Healthy!” which they have been implementing together with secondary schools since 2012. The campaign is aimed at preventing high school students from experimenting with alcohol.
Centre president Ksenija Rissi said that high school students made the posters and that they “wanted to send a message to their peers about potential direct and indirect harmful effects of drinking alcohol.”
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