Wednesday, April 16, 2008

That Model First Lady

This week Hillary Frey advocates for Carla Bruni as a "useful" and "modern" "model of feminism, and femininity." I'm not convinced. Yes, she looks great naked; yes, she's savvy and sophisticated enough to seduce politicians and rockstars alike. But what about the part where Bruni moves in with her French writer lover then goes on to have an affair -- and a child -- with his already-married son? She may be a bold icon of style, but Bruni's not exactly raising the bar for womankind with her accomplishments. As former French Vogue editor-in-chief Joan Juliet Buck says:

Versailles was conceived as a magnificent showroom for French goods, because around 1678, Colbert said to Louis XIV: We have to prove the French do things better than anybody. In 2008, at last, a model is married to the president, which is great PR for the further global extension of French luxury brands.

Or, as NYU European Studies professor Tony Judt puts it, Bruni is a "neat encapsulation of [Sarkozy's] presidency: eye-catching, over-compersatory and more than a little lacking in taste."

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