Carla Bruni -- onetime supermodel and former first lady of France -- is on the December cover of French Vogue and inside, she addresses a subject that in some circles is ridiculously controversial: Feminism. Although one might guess that Bruni, as someone who most likely had to prove herself to be more than a pretty face and carve out a place for herself on the world stage next to husband Nicolas Sarkozy, would most definitely call herself a feminist -- or at least sympathize with anyone who does, it turns out that she actually believes her "generation doesn't need feminism." Face. Palm.
Although I'm sure there are those who will openly and enthusiastically agree with Bruni, she couldn't be more wrong. And the way she's completely misrepresenting what feminism truly is couldn't be more dangerous.
There are pioneers who opened the breach. I’m not at all an active feminist. On the contrary, I’m a bourgeois. I love family life, I love doing the same thing every day.
First off, I'm not quite sure what she means by not being an "active feminist." (Does that mean she doesn't like to workout? OR she doesn't wear fatigues and burn her bra and do whatever other cartoon-ish ridiculous things people like Rush Limbaugh envision a "feminist" spending her time doing?) But beyond that, okay, great, she's "bourgeois" and loves her family and being dull. Lovely. Good for her. But how is that the antithesis of being a feminist? On the contrary, she's making a major CASE for feminism.
What Carla Bruni doesn't seem to realize is that feminism has existed -- and must continue to exist -- in order to make it possible for her or any woman to choose what kind of life they lead. To be able to say she loves "family life" and want to focus on that. Or to say she loves her job and want to pursue that. Or make a conscious decision to juggle both.
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And given the fact that women are not being paid equal pay for equal work, we're not all given a maternity leave that supports the kind of bonding we need to do with our children, and we're still fighting for access to birth control, yeah, I think it's fair to say our generation definitely needs feminism. And there's much to be said for being an active participant in the ongoing movement.
The shameful truth is that the definitions and conontations of the terms "feminism" and "feminist" have been totally warped over the years by misogynists like Limbaugh who are threatened by the idea of empowered, equally-treated women who can make active choices about their lives and reproductive health and so forth and so on. Whose main objective it seems is to put/keep women "in their place." And sadly, it seems like Bruni is buying into these misleading, false ideas of what it means to be a feminist. When someone like her who is supposed to be an worldly woman is echoing these ideas, we've got a problem.
It's never been more clear that we need to get back to basics and realize that if you're in favor of equal opportunities and choices for women, yes, you do believe in feminism -- like it or not.
What do you think about Carla Bruni's comment? Do you believe your generation -- and future generations -- need feminism?
Image via Vogue