Cañete, candidate for Spain’s ruling Popular Party (PP) in the upcoming European elections, shocked Spaniards recently when he alleged he had gone easy on opposition PSOE Euro candidate Elena Valenciano
because "it’s complicated to show intellectual superiority" and not come across as a "chauvinist for cornering a defenceless woman".
The comments made by Spain’s former Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment largely overshadowed the debate itself but did neither him nor his party any favours, especially in light of the controversy the PP's draft abortion law
Now the gaffe had gone global leading UK newspapers The Guardian and The Financial Times running stories on Cañete’s gaffe, the latter under the headline "Old-school machismo inspires interest in modern Spanish politics".
German daily Die Welt used the title "The caveman and the superiority of men", in reference to how Cañete is being comically labelled in Spain’s social media.
Here are some of the funniest memes which have been uploaded to Twitter under the hashtag #homocañetus:
"Thanks for showing us your intellectual superiority, Cañete"
"Lunchtime: Spot the difference"
"Cañete's Gender Equality programme for Europe: The Good Housewife Guide"
With his reputation taking a battering, Cañete decided to make the most of his encounter with a group of women on a train on the very same day he made the contentious remarks on Spanish television.
The bachelorette party-goers agreed to a photo with him, not knowing he would post it soon after on Twitter, with an ensuing 1,200 retweets.
“You have no idea how much we regret it,” one of the women later told Spanish daily El Mundo.
Online newspaper El Diario published on Monday a list of Cañete’s top political gaffes, including his comment that "irrigation should be used with the same caution as women, otherwise it can be the end of one".
The PP politician has also previously argued immigrant waiters weren’t as good as Spanish ones, while he was also famously photographed eating yoghurt long past its use-by date to prove the dairy product had a longer shelf life than people said.
Although Popular Party members have argued Cañete’s words should be taken with a pinch of salt, there are those who believe he may have "hurt the PP (in) the run-up to next week’s elections" with "his curious interpretation of political chivalry", as the FT’s Tobias Buck put it.