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花旗国的半边天

An Exploration of Women's Issues

 
 
 

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贝蒂·福特:直言不讳的女性 (Betty Ford: An Outspoken Woman)  

2011-07-22 04:07:50|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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贝蒂·福特:直言不讳的女性 (Betty Ford: An Outspoken Woman) - 美国马尾妹 - 花旗国的半边天
 在 美国,总统的妻子(也就是 “第一夫人”),长期以来扮演重要的文化角色,尽管她没有拥有正式定义的职务。正因为她在公众眼中有着重要地位,在很多方面也成为了女性的楷模。多年以 来,不同的女性对她们第一夫人的角色有过不同的解读,也因此赢得了或多或少的声望。有趣的是,近年来最受欢迎的第一夫人也可能是最具争议的一位。七十年代 总统Gerald Ford的妻子贝蒂·福特是个直言不讳的女性,愿意公开讨论有争议的政治问题及她自身经历的奋斗与挣扎。福特夫人在今年68日逝世,只因她的诚实与感言,欣赏她的美国人都深深怀缅这位第一夫人。


In America, the wife of the president (known as the “First Lady”) has always played an important cultural role, even though she does not hold an officially defined position. Because she is so much in the public eye, she is in many ways an ideal role model for other women. Over the years, different women have interpreted their role as First Lady in different ways and have enjoyed varying levels of popularity according to this interpretation. Interestingly, one of the most popular First Ladies in recent years was also perhaps the most controversial. Betty Ford, the wife of Gerald Ford who was president in the seventies, was an extremely outspoken woman who was willing to openly discuss controversial political issues as well her own personal struggles. Mrs. Ford died on July 8 of this year and is currently being remembered fondly by Americans who admired her for her honesty and daring.


Many First Ladies hesitate to take definitive stands on political issues for fear that doing so will harm the President's political standing. Mrs. Ford, however, was not afraid to voice her opinions and was a fervent supporter of many women's rights issues, including legalized abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment, which was never ratified but would legally cement equal rights for women and men. Even though her political opinions were often unpopular with large portions of the country, Americans respected her for her willingness to stand up for values and issues important to her.


It was her openness about her personal struggles, however, that truly won her the respect of the American people. While her husband was in office, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was forced to have one breast removed to fight the cancer. At the time, cancer was a taboo topic and people suffering from the disease were generally reluctant to admit their illness. Breaking this social convention, Betty Ford did not attempt to hide her struggle with cancer or her operation. Her example inspired women across the country to get themselves checked for breast cancer and helped to end the societal expectation that people keep their illness a secret.


Because of her health issues and some emotional insecurities, Mrs. Ford gradually became dependent on alcohol and prescription pills. Addiction was another forbidden topic in American society at the time, but in another unusual and courageous move, she confronted her addictions publicly in the hope that she would be able to help others facing similar trouble. She overcame her own addictions and later helped to establish the Betty Ford Center, which is today regarded as one of the best rehabilitation centers in the country. Again, Mrs. Ford was able to use a personal struggle of her own to help other people overcome their own issues because of her outspoken willingness to discuss her problems openly.


At times, Betty Ford's outspokenness and defiance of social conventions shocked the public and provoked rebukes from her critics. Nonetheless, it is her candor that has won her the lasting affection and admiration of the American public. Since her death, this candor is being remembered as a sign of her bravery and is regarded as the reason that she was able to make a lasting impact on many people's lives.



你认为公众人物是否应该公开讨论个人问题,这样做是否有利? (Discussion Question: Do you agree that it is beneficial for public figures to discuss their personal problems openly?)


Sources:
Nemy, Enid. "Betty Ford, Former First Lady, Dies at 93." The New York Times 9 June 2011: n. pag. 
     The New York Times. Web. 21 July 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/09/us/politics/ 
     betty-ford-dies.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=betty%20ford&st=cse>. 

Image:
Former First Lady Betty Ford [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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