Remembering Patricia Hill Burnett, 2012 Interview (video)

sideGARDENtopRemembering Patricia Hill Burnett, 2012 Interview (video)seed019_Cherie_Rolfe

(Cherie Wyatt Rolfe, Crystal Proxmire, Jan. 4, 2015)

At the age of 94, the co-founder of Michigan National Organization for Women (NOW) and celebrated portrait artist Patricia Hill Burnett passed away last week. Burnett was a face for feminism spanning across socioeconomic and political lines. She was well-dressed, highly social in both the classiest of circles and among the artists of her age, and as a devout Republican she brought seed8453274382_Pamela Williamsfeminist issues to Michigan’s conservative side. She, along with First Lady Betty Ford, let the men in power know that women meant business.

In the 60s she grew fed up with being treated with disdain by male artists, and with feeling like a “Stepford wife” at home. She read The Feminine Mystique. She became the first female artist of the Scarab Club in Detroit. And in 1969 she started what was then the Detroit Chapter of the National Organization for Women.

In 2012, at the age of 91, Burnett sat down with Cherie Wyatt Rolfe, who was volunteering with  Oakland County NOW at the time, for an interview.  The 15 minute interview is below:

She spoke of the first time she met Feminine Mystique author Betty Friedan, about seed015_kathryn_balcerhow she ruffled feathers at the 1980 Republican National Convention by talking about the right to abortion, about why she is a Republican, her choice for the first female President, and what she thinks it means to be a feminist.

She also talked about aging. “Every year I find more content. It’s great being this age. You can do anything you damn well want to,” she said.

She was concerned about the feminist movement losing steam. “If women lose interest and sag down and think ‘we’ve achieved a few things so that’s okay,’ that’s not right,” dda_ad_05Burnett said.

“I’d like to see, most important, why don’t we have women in the legislature? It’s because, I think, we’re lazy. The idea of getting up and being a candidate is awesome, it’s scary, but no more scary than starting feminism years ago. That’s your next project I think, get women in our legislature. Get women in our government.”

In addition to being a feminist, Burnett’s work as a portrait artist led her to capturing the beauty of many famous people, including many in Michigan politics, Margaret Thatcher, and First Lady Betty Ford.lisa schmidt law

For more information on NOW visit:

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