Jane Fonda on turning 80: ‘I didn’t think that our freedoms would be in jeopardy’

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Jane Fonda celebrated her upcoming 80th birthday with a big fundraiser in Atlanta on Saturday attended by celebrities like Rosanna Arquette, Catherine Keener, and Jane ex husband, Ted Turner. There were performances by James Taylor and Carole King along with an eight course dinner prepared by chef Alice Waters. Jane established The Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential in 1995 with a focus on “age appropriate, medically accurate sex education.” This event was set up for Jane by the organization.

The party raised a whopping $1.3 million despite the snowstorm which hit the region over the weekend. Oprah couldn’t make it, but she sent a video and donated $100,000. Jane joked about the fact that she’s glad she made it to 80 and that she still remembers everything. Ahead of the event, Jane spoke to Vanity Fair, and she made some pointed and true comments about the state of the nation and human rights in these dark times.

On the state of the nation as she turns 80
“I thought that we would have a woman president [by my 80th birthday],” Fonda said last week. “I thought that I could maybe take up gardening. I didn’t think that I would be back on the barricades, no. I didn’t think that our freedoms, our democracy would be in jeopardy the way they are now. I am utterly terrified.”

On how it was to establish her charity in 1995
“There were places that didn’t want to hear from me. I was a controversial movie star, an interloper, married to Ted Turner, who himself was controversial,” she said, chuckling. “And I was talking about adolescent sexuality . . . the health districts were controlled by right-wing people and school boards.”

“It’s nice that now some of those same counties beg us to come in there and work there because we’ve been around long enough, and we’ve gained the trust of people in Georgia,” she said.

On how this is a tipping point as predators are exposed
“The sense of entitlement that to be a real man you have to grab women and paw women and assault women and knock up women is the underlying problem here,” she said. “Men do it because it makes them feel like real men. It shows that they have power, and whether you’re at the top of your game in Hollywood or a young kid in Appalachia, that toxic masculinity is gonna affect how you treat girls.”

[From Vanity Fair]

Jane went on to say that, by speaking out, celebrities give a voice to people who don’t have a platform. “We’re picking up the voices of people who can’t be heard and broadcasting their story.” As for her thoughts on how backwards things are now, after all work and progress that’s been made, my mom thinks about it similarly. I’m so sad especially for the older generation of activists, the people who pounded pavement to protest the Vietnam War, segregation, and women’s sublimation, to have to see a blatant white supremacist and abusive misogynist in power. I hope this situation is resolved as soon as possible. That’s what keeps me going at this point, the hope that things will be back to normal and that our nation will wake up from this nightmare.

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photos credit: WENN and Getty

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19 Responses to “Jane Fonda on turning 80: ‘I didn’t think that our freedoms would be in jeopardy’”

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  1. slowsnow says:

    I was telling my parents, who are in their seventies, how this must be, for them, like reliving the seventies and the cold war all over again.
    They said “no, it’s much worse”. Terrifying.

    • DangerMaus says:

      In what way is it much worse? One small failed Communist state with a few nuclear warheads that wants, ultimately, to survive vs. a huge Communist block with thousands of nuclear warheads, actively engaged with the West in multiple areas of the world.

      If you are terrified now you would have had a stroke in the 50s-80s. To even compare the times is to fall for scaremongering.

  2. homeslice says:

    Amen, Jane, Amen…

  3. Jayna says:

    Such sad but true points she made in her comments.

  4. Felicia says:

    Very sad and very true.

    On a completely shallow note: this woman has GREAT plastic surgeons!

    • anon14 says:

      She doesn’t look like the traditional old image of 80, true.

      But there’s something about her “wide-eyed” look that strikes me as very aging. I see it in a lot of older celebs (pictures) as well as in real life, among some of my middle-aged friends. The eyes become very round. Is it botox, or plastic surgery, or just the natural way some people’s orbital structures age (like Jessica Tandy, her eyes seemed to get bigger as she aged. But she always had big eyes so it didn’t look strange. Fonda looks like she can’t blink.).

  5. Cynthia says:

    She looks good !

    • Carol says:

      I was going to state the same thing. On a purely superficial level, she looks amazing and I’m wondering what the heck she had done. She does not look 80, not even close.

  6. Lucy says:

    Total BOSS. Happy birthday, Jane!!!

  7. Lightpurple says:

    Just watched her and Redford in Our Souls at Night. What a gift she has and what a gift to us that she still shares it with us.

    She’s so right about the times we live in. My 88 year old great aunt is so frightened when she watches the news as it brings back scary memories of her teenage years. During her recent checkup when the doctor asked her memory check questions, she asked: “who is the President?” and my aunt responded: “Francisco Franco in a really bad wig and orange makeup pretending to be American. We have to find ways to laugh about this nightmare as we fight to keep what we’ve won.”

  8. robyn says:

    I agree about democracy … who knew that democracy, especially in North America, could be so fragile and dishearteningly its demise headed by a man like Trump, the most unappealing character imaginable.

    Aside from the seriousness of Jane Fonda’s statement, she looks incredibly naturally young for eighty … thanks I presume to some very talented nip and tuck specialists. Eighty can look like the new fifty!

  9. Saras says:

    Even with this controversy about the Alabama election they said only 20/25% would vote at all. People are abdicating their representation. That’s the main reason we have Trump and why our government does not reflect the popular majority. Hilary was polled to win and was not as exciting so people were like meh. So now instead of lesser of evils we have mega evil! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! EVERY ELECTION! IT MATTERS!

    • Spring says:

      One thing I’ve long appreciated about Jane Fonda is that she’s always been so engaged with a larger perspective than whatever’s happening in Hollywood and in her personal life. All of the people in Alabama and elsewhere who won’t vote are destructively disengaged to the point of disenfranchising themselves and hurting the rest of us with their apathy. Every damn vote counts.

    • Annie says:

      I know a few people who on election night told everyone on FB that they didn’t vote because both candidates sucked. I don’t know why they would volunteer that information but I guess they wanted to tell the world they had no part in electing Trump but they did by not voting. Now that they see what’s happening they don’t know what to say. I think those people did more damage than Trump supporters. The complete apathy and lack of understanding screws everybody. People don’t really understand how important it is to get involved.

    • Jerusha says:

      And a depressed turnout might be a good thing. I, and hundreds of others, have been phonebanking and canvassing for Doug Jones for months. Everyone we contact is very enthusiastic about Doug and is going to vote tomorrow. Let the pedophile lovers stay home.
      Today, I and others, are canvassing 9-11, 12-2, 3-5, human billboard at our busiest intersection 4-5, and phonebanking tonight. Tomorrow more canvassing and phonebanking. Send positive thoughts, prayers, whatever you think works.

  10. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    I envy the older generation, and pity the younger ones. This country is going downhill so fast, I weep for the future.

  11. Linda says:

    What parts didn’t she have done. So superficial and annoying