A prominent Italian politician is at the centre of a sexism storm, after photos of her eating an ice cream were used to imply that she must be good at oral sex.
Women's magazine Chi published the snaps of public administration minister Marianna Madia enjoying a gelato cone with the suggestive headline: "She knows how to do it with an ice cream".
The glossy weekly was previously best known for publishing topless pictures of Britain's Duchess of Cambridge as well as of Italian education minister Stefania Giannini.
A recent issue noted that Ms Madia, who was sitting in the back of a car being driven by her husband was, allowing herself "a pleasurable break", AFP reported.
The article has triggered a storm of protest, with commentators condemning Chi editor Alfonso Signorini for helping to sustain a culture that refuses to take women in politics seriously.
"Everyone is responsible for who they are and what they do," the minister said in a scathingly restrained response to the article. "I am responsible for public administration. Signorini, as editor of Chi, is responsible for what he publishes."
Rome mayor Ignazio Marino described Chi's reporting as "vulgar and sexist".
It is a verdict widely echoed on social media, where many Italians, both male and female, posted pictures of themselves eating ice creams featuring the slogan: "I know how to do it too," in support of the minister.
Mr Signorini, who recently published his autobiography, also faces a possible disciplinary rap by a journalist's body, which is investigating whether he breached professional ethical guidelines.
The editor insisted he had no regrets over what he termed an "irreverent" story.
The Madia row follows controversy last year, after an avalanche of media comment descended on the looks and dress sense of eight women in Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's first cabinet.
When Ms Maria Elena Boschi, the minister for reform, was photographed bending over to sign in as a member of the new government, it attracted comments from Turin-based daily La Stampa that her figure resembled that of Pippa Middleton.
Fakes images of a thong showing at the top of her trousers were also widely circulated on the Internet.
This article was first published on Nov 08, 2014.
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