Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, after telling French Vogue that her generation had no need for feminism, was caught in the eye of a Twitter storm on Wednesday.
"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's ouster from power and who guest edited the c 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 percent discount all year round."
The French senator Laurence Rossignol (@laurossignol) 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 percent 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 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."