Former supermodel and past first lady of France Carla Bruni recently told Vogue she did not feel she was a feminist, nor that her generation needed feminism. From the December issue:
“My generation doesn’t need feminism. 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.”
There were some none-too-pleased by Bruni’s (ridiculous) remarks. French feminist group “Osez le Féminisme!” (Dare to be a Feminist!, i.e. one of the best group titles I’ve heard yet) told its Twitter followers to let Bruni know why feminism is needed, using the hashtag #ChereCarloaBruni, meaning “#DearCarloaBruni.” Female senator Laurence Rossignol sent one stating, “#ChèreCarlaBruni As long as I get asked whether I am the senator’s assistant, the next generation will need feminism.”
So, when spoken to over the phone by Elle France, Bruni stated that she “completely understands” the angry response:
“This phrase is very clumsy and poorly translates my thoughts. It should have read: ‘I have never personally felt the need to be a feminist activist’… I imagine I am [a feminist] if feminism means claiming one’s freedom. But I am not if it means being committed in an active way to the fight that some women are still leading today… I admire their bravery a lot, but I have chosen to commit myself elsewhere.”
Look, I think we can all collectively agree that this generation–and all generations until equality is achieved–“needs feminism.” And while it is everyone’s right to not be a feminist, it’s irresponsible propagate the idea that all women are just fine and dandy, free to go to school and have abortions and receive equal pay. We’re not there yet, and backtracking in this half-assed way isn’t expressing that idea whatsoever.
You can commit yourself “elsewhere,” by all means, but that makes the idea of being feminist sound like some full-time job–and it’s not. I have a full-time job, and so do many of you who are, coincidentally, feminists like myself. You can rescue puppies, you can go to college, you can work at a charity–all while being a feminist! So, while I’m glad Bruni at least acknowledged that the outrage was understandable, I don’t really accept her apology.
Photo: News Pictures/WENN.com