BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—FIAT Argentina said on June 9 that it is removing from circulation one of the handbooks it distributed with its cars following criticism by women’s groups that it is misogynistic.
The local representative of the Italian automaker said on its Twitter account that it regrets the handbook had that effect and that it never meant to be disrespectful.
The booklet was handed out along with an automobile guide to every new car owner. Under the “co-pilot” section, the booklet advised: “If a lady’s skirt is too short, we recommend that she travel in the backseat to keep our concentration.” It also said “if the skirt is not that short but you tend to have a wandering hand, she should also travel behind.”
Another section said that any woman who aspires to become a co-pilot “must at least have nice legs.”
Under the title, “driver with love,” it says that in order to “behave like a gentleman, you should know that if your partner, girlfriend or squeeze (circumstantial relationship) travels with friends, you should become the chauffer for each and every one of them, taking the spot of the alpha male and dropping each one of them safe and sound at their resting place.”
The handbook was strongly criticized by Argentine women’s groups, including the organizers of a protest staged last week in Buenos Aires to condemn violence against women under the slogan #NiUnaMenos, meaning “Not one less.” The group recently published photos of FIAT Argentina’s handbook on its Facebook page, calling it, “a summary of stereotypical and misogynistic messages.”
Many people took to Twitter to express their outrage.
“The user’s manual is unbelievable. It’s full of old, misogynistic jokes,” Silvina Quintans wrote to FIAT Argentina on her account. “Remember that women also drive.”