Dear Carla Bruni, France still needs feminism. Love, Twitter

French feminists have had more than enough of sexpot-supermodel-songstress turned dutiful housewife-first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and they are furiously flooding Twitter in the thousands to teach the former first lady a lesson.

The big Bruni backlash began this week after she told the local edition of Vogue that even though there “were pioneers who opened the breach … my generation doesn’t need to be feminist.”

“I’m not at all a militant feminist,” said Bruni-Sarkozy, who graces the magazine’s December cover, as she appears in Paris billboards wearing headphones ahead of the release of a new album. “On the contrary, I am bourgeoise. … I love family life, I love doing the same thing every day. Now I like having a husband.”

The Stepford wife-style remarks sparked a social media mêlée with feminist activist group Osez le féminisme, which translates into Dare Feminism, launching a Twitter appeal for women to respond to Bruni under the hashtag #ChèreCarlaBruni (Dear Carla Bruni).

The topic quickly become a top trender among Paris Tweeps. Incensed femmes fired off sharp replies to the 44- year-old Italian heiress and mother of one year-old Giulia, her bébé with defeated French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and 11 year-old Aurélien from a relationship with Paris philosopher Raphaël Enthoven.

Socialist Senator Laurence Rossignol tweeted that “while people still ask me if I am the Senator’s assistant, the next generation will need feminism.” It has been retweeted 129 times.

Greens politicians Corinne Lepage got 37 retweets when she noted, “While there is no woman on the BCE (European Central Bank) we will need feminism”.

Other women took to Twitter to complain about the prevalence of rape, sexist advertising, and large pay gaps between men and women. Here are some examples:

@OhDiapple tweeted: “Dear Carla Bruni my generation needs feminism as long as rape victims feel guilty.”

For Thalia Breton @thaliaBreton, spokeswoman for @osezlefeminisme, “My generation needs feminism because a woman dies every two and a half days from the blows inflicted upon her by her (ex) companion.”

Sciences-Po student Charline Renaud @CharlineRD tweeted: “Dear Carla Bruni: because at the end of my studies I will still be paid less than the person sitting next to me in the lecture theatre, I need feminism!”

Charlotte S @lotcharlot summed up the views of many French women when she tweeted: “Dear Carla Bruni my generation needs feminism but feminism doesn’t need Carla Bruni!”

Claire Serre-Combe and Magali De Haas from Osez le féminisme used an oped in the form of an open letter in Liberation newspaper today to hammer home their message.

“Permit us Carla Bruni to explain to you in what way feminism is, more than ever, necessary, in France as in the rest of the world, in 2012,” the feminist militants wrote.

“It’s true that your position as the heir of one of the leading figures of Italian industry guarantees you permanent financial independence. But believe us Carla! It’s not the same for all women…not all women have the means to take over the entire floor of a private maternity clinic in the [expensive] 16th arrondissement of Paris to give birth.

“But why do women earn on average 27 percent less than men…why are only 27 per cent of parliamentarians women?…why is a woman raped every eight minutes in France?

“Go on Carla – admit that you’re a feminist…but you just don’t know it yet.”

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