PARIS: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has been caught in the eye of a Twitter storm after telling French Vogue her generation had no need for feminism.
"In my generation we don't need to be feminist," said the former first lady, who is making a public comeback after her husband Nicolas Sarkozy lost the presidency, and who guest edited the Christmas issue of the style magazine.
"There are pioneers who paved the way for us. I am not a feminist activist at all. On the contrary I am a true bourgeoise. I love family life and doing the same thing every day," confided the model, singer and mother-of-two.
Her remarks sparked a deluge of reactions on Twitter, with a French feminist group Osez le feminisme! spearheading the assault, inviting people to respond to Bruni under the "hashtag" #ChereCarlaBruni (Dear Carla Bruni).
Playing on the fact women still earn a quarter less than men in equivalent jobs, one user, LindaRamoul, retorted: "My generation needs feminism because I am on sale for a 27 per cent discount all year round."
The French senator Laurence Rossignol also weighed in, tweeting: "For as long as I get asked if I am the senator's assistant, the coming generation will need feminism."
"Eighty per cent of housework still carried out by women," came the one-liner from Maman-Travaille.
And a mother, MaggiAnT, wrote that "We will need feminism for as long as my son gets laughed at for saying he wants to be a midwife."
"We need everyone to be feminist," summed up a government spokeswoman, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, who is also the women's rights minister, when questioned on Europe 1 radio about the row.
"Feminism is about equal rights, not about one gender dominating the other."