Difficult Woman N°14


Betty Ford


Who: First Lady of the United States. Founder and Chairperson of the Betty Ford Center. Classically trained dancer. Cancer survivor. Unwittingly contributed a lot of fodder for stand-ups. (Example: “I used to be a bartender at the Betty Ford Clinic” — Steven Wright)

Signature Difficult Moves: Despite being married to a Republican president, refused to hide her liberal social views. An advocate for women’s rights. Also, pro choice and pro gun control. When she dedicated herself to raising awareness of alcoholism, also spoke about her own battle with addiction.

What People Said About Her: “As our nation’s First Lady, she was a powerful advocate for women’s health and women’s rights. After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford helped reduce the social stigma surrounding addiction and inspired thousands to seek much-needed treatment…. [We] know that organizations such as the Betty Ford Center will honor her legacy by giving countless Americans a new lease on life.” – President Barack Obama (whom I will miss more than I can say).

Personals: Married twice, most notably to President Gerald Ford. Mother to four children.

Feminine Charms: Nice bone structure, pretty smile. Staunch defender of housewife as a career choice. “A housewife deserves to be honored as much as a woman who earns her living in the marketplace. I consider bringing up children a responsible job.”

How She Spoke Truth to Power: “My name is Betty Ford and I am an alcoholic.”

Quote to Live by: The search for human freedom can never be complete without freedom for women.

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