Listen up, all you working moms out there: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, former first lady of France, supermodel and pop singer, has determined, just in case you’ve forgotten, that the woman’s place is at home. (Or at “one of her homes,” as a Telegraph headline put it, with well-placed snark.)
It’s always helpful when a rich woman who once deemed herself “modest” because she “eats pasta,” declares the feminist movement pointless, and then goes ahead promoting patriarchy – while blithely ignoring the fact that the vast majority of women either a)want to work and/or b) actually have bills to pay.
The British papers are rightfully having a go at Bruni-Sarkozy, after she told French Vogue that women her age don’t need feminism, and they should really spend their days at home as she does with a cadre of maids, chauffeurs and assistants.
“I’m not all an active feminist. On the contrary, I’m a bourgeois. I love family life, I love doing the same thing every day,” she told the magazine. This includes, as she informed French reporters earlier this year, watching soap operas and reality TV with her baby (while presumably someone else does the laundry). Or as Bryony Gordon wrote in The Telegraph: "By doing the 'same thing every day,' does she mean shopping or gazing adoringly at herself in the mirror?'
You gotta love/hate her for being so clueless. Bruni-Sarkozy, who married then French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, has hardly set a standard as someone whose opinions should be taken seriously, and being married to a political leader shouldn’t require that she does. (Much as we admire Michelle Obama for her consciousness-raising efforts.) But one would think that between Romney’s 47-per-cent, and the tension of the Occupy movement, the pampered class would learn to keep their comments to their silver-spooned selves.
On the other hand, do we really want to spend our limited free time expending energy on what Bruni-Sarkozy thinks? Admittedly, there’s a certain sport in firing back a few potshots of our own, such as British novelist Fay Weldon’s observation to The Telegraph: “Just because a woman stays at home to look after the children, doesn’t mean she is devoid of a brain – though I suspect that Carla is.” But that feels unworthy. Despite what The Telegraph suggests, Bruni-Sarkozy’s comments don’t prove why women still need feminism, when there are so many more intellectually thoughtful examples to support the case.
She’s another one-percenter who can’t see the real world past her mansion gates. And if she wants to stay there, channel-surfing on her couch all day long, that’s exactly where she belongs.
Do Bruni-Sarkozy’s comments matter? And if you could stay home while servants tended to domestic duties, would you spend your day watching reality television?
Editor's note: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is France's former first lady. Incorrect information appeared in the original version of this article.