AN ADVERT by Germany’s transport ministry featuring a model wearing just a helmet and underwear has sparked outrage and accusations of sexism.
The campaign, which encourages younger cyclists to wear helmets, includes the slogan: “Looks like s***. But saves my life.”
Street posters showing the models are set to be put up throughout Germany from Tuesday.
But there have been calls to scrap the €400,000 campaign following claims it was sexist.
Maria Noichl, an MEP and the chairwoman of Germany’s Social Democrats women’s wing, told Bild am Sonntag: “It is embarrassing, stupid and sexist for the transport minister [Andreas Scheuer] to be selling his policies using naked skin”.
The family minister, Franziska Giffey, posted a picture of herself dressed in a buisness suit with her bicycle on Facebook and wrote: “Dear Andreas Scheuer: fully dressed also goes well with a helmet!”
Katja Mast, a senior MP, added: “Half-naked women and men should not be emblazoned with taxpayers’ money on billboards.”
She described the campaign as “embarrassing, stale and sexist”.
‘EMBARRASSING, STUPID AND SEXIST’
Under the pictures is a social media hashtag, #Helmerettenleben, meaning “helmets save lives”.
The pictures were taken by Rankin, the British fashion and portrait photographer.
Defending the campaign, Matthias Hauer, a Christian Democrat MP, pointed out how “there are also men in the campaign”.
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The campaign features Alicija, a hopeful in Germany’s Next Top Model, as well as a number of male models.
He tweeted: “Good that #Helmerettenleben gets media attention — even if the SPD — the ‘Square Party Deutschland’ — has something against it.”
A transport ministry spokesman said: “A successful road safety campaign should jolt people and can be polarising.”
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