Jane Fonda: Women tend to get more robust as they age, men get more conservative

Jane Fonda covers Harper’s Bazaar wearing what looks like a slicked-down wig. The editorial is bizarre and unflattering to say the least. You can see every line in her face. It’s not like she looks like that, it’s that she’s lit so badly. There are so many ways they could have shown her looking natural without making it look like her skin is cracking. The interview is amazing though, as are most interviews with Jane. She will tell you what she thinks, she dishes and she has a lot of wisdom. I especially liked what she said about how her third act will be her final one. I got goosebumps from that. Here are some of the highlights I wanted to talk about, but there’s so much more to discuss. I highly recommend reading the interview at the source.

On how she decided to move to DC during her environmental advocacy
At the suggestion of Annie Leonard—she runs Greenpeace USA—and is a major figure in my life. She insisted that, before we did anything, we meet with all of the major environmental groups and the youth climate leaders. And by the time that was finished there was no question in my mind that we’re not going to tackle the climate issue if we don’t simultaneously tackle economic and racial inequality.

On how people characterize her
I always feel that I’ve got to pay attention so I can learn. And I try to have friends who can teach me. I’m a student. I’m a generic kind of person. I’m very observant. I receive it. And then I become the megaphone. I don’t invent things. You have to know where your strengths are. I’m derivative; I’m not original.

I’m original as a character but not as a thinker. Although, at my advanced age, I can sort of put things together now that I couldn’t before and say, “Oh. Okay.”

On how her dad got more conservative as he aged
For men. Women are the opposite. I’m generalizing, but women tend to get more robust as they get older and men get more conservative. Ted Turner said to me, “People shouldn’t change after 60.” And I said, “Then we’re in trouble.”

How she learned about power
You know what changed my definition of power? Going to North Vietnam [in 1972]. Going to a country that was not industrialized, where most of the people were peasants and fishermen and -women. They didn’t even have heavy equipment to fill in bomb holes and stuff, and we couldn’t defeat them. That taught me that power has to come from inside. It has to come from knowing who you are, why you’re on earth, what is the meaning of your life. That’s power. If it’s all about armor, possessions, and weapons, that’s not power. That’s other things. It’s the Vietnamese who taught me about power, and I’m forever grateful. And it helped me understand what to do with my third act, because third acts are scary. It’s not the getting old part. It’s the finiteness of third acts.

[From Harper’s Bazaar]

A lot of outlets are quoting a section later in the interview where she talks about dating and relationships. I encourage you to read that part yourself because I could write another post about it. However I’m not going to do that because it hit too close to home for me. Jane also talked about how much she loves television now, and she has so much praise for Michaela Cole’s I Will Destroy You. I’m definitely going to watch it this weekend. I’ve been putting it off because I worried it would be triggering.

In this interview she actually dished about Katherine Hepburn! My mouth was hanging open when she said Katherine was competitive with her and once told author Dominick Dunne that Jane didn’t have a soul! I love Jane, and I hope that I can be a lifelong listener and learner like her. I don’t know about dudes getting more stubborn as they age though, probably because my dad has always been a good Democrat.

photos credit Harper’s Bazaar via Instagram

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30 Responses to “Jane Fonda: Women tend to get more robust as they age, men get more conservative”

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  1. Darla says:

    WOW. What a fantastic interview. You don’t read celebrity interviews like that now do you?

  2. Emmy Rae says:

    It’s not “flattering” to her face but I really like the drama of the cover! It’s a weird look close up but the full body shot is cool.

    I love her comment about being derivative, not original. That’s how I feel too. People think I am forward thinking in some way and I think really I am forward listening. I have read so many articles explaining racial & economic issues and history, and even just tweets where Black & trans women in particular offer their wisdom for free. I’m only repeating their ideas to people who haven’t heard them.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Emmy Rae, I am with you on the weirdness but I think the weirdness is part of the charm. I love this editorial. This is not a fashion or beauty editorial. This is a dranatic artsy-fartsy editorial featuring an 83 year old woman who is pulling it off. I do not think Linda Evangelista in her heyday could have pulled it off any better.

    • LNG says:

      I actually sort of think it is flattering – she’s 83 years old!! I think her skin looks amazing. I wish I had the resources to have any hope of looking like that at 83, haha

    • Nikki* says:

      I’m 65, and in sunlight, my skin is the Grand Canyon. She’s in her 80’s; she damn well is supposed to have wrinkles, c’mon!! That off my chest, she’s a treasure. I love “Grace and Frankie”!!!! She’s a really great actress; she was so amazing in “Klute”, it was a revelation. She’s pretty fearless, which I really admire.

      • Emmy Rae says:

        oh for sure, in “flattering” I was actually referring to the wig! I’m not sitting around critiquing Jane Fonda’s (or anyone’s) skin.

    • Sid says:

      I’m not really even seeing many wrinkles. The “weirdness” of the face seems to be due to either over-the-top photoshopping or whatever her most recent procedure was that gave the stretched-too-tight look. Beyond that this is a fantastic photoshoot. Her poses are high fashion editorial model worthy.

  3. Sue Denim says:

    she’s amazing, fierce, fearless, inspiring and so much more beautiful than these photos. And I love what she says about power and Vietnam, so wise.

  4. Restless bitch face says:

    The end of the article, where she talks about how her body never measured up…I’m thinking, what??? That made me so sad, plus her regrets about parenting. She’s so honest. Whew.

  5. Merricat says:

    Her hair reminds me of when she was in Klute.

  6. local russian hill says:

    what she says about the vietnamese, wow. and what she says about seeing if she could show up for a good man, wow again. if you haven’t seen the documentary ‘jane fonda in three acts’, watch it immediately. it had me crying and really thinking. love you jane.

  7. MF1 says:

    “That taught me that power has to come from inside. It has to come from knowing who you are, why you’re on earth, what is the meaning of your life. That’s power. If it’s all about armor, possessions, and weapons, that’s not power. That’s other things.”

    What an amazing woman with incredible wisdom. I hate the wig but she looks incredible in that black sequin dress.

  8. Blues says:

    Very good and honest article

  9. Kim says:

    Jane Fonda is a powerhouse. I truly wish she could have found that strength in regards to aging and looks

  10. Mrs. Peel says:

    I think she looks incredible on the cover – I wouldn’t change a thing!

  11. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I love Jane. And she’s absolutely right about women as they age vs men. Men DO become more conservative and I feel like women marinate. We become the essence of who we are – but stronger and better.

  12. Shannon Foreman says:

    I really wish we could get away from the idea that wrinkles are inherently unflattering on women. I’m a photographer and I can’t tell you how many other photogs I know double down on the “light women like this” and “light men like this,” lest it be shown that women have texture and wrinkles in their skin oh no…but that’s ok for old men apparently. It’s “distinguished.”

  13. lucy2 says:

    I love what she said about being a listener and a megaphone. I really admire everything she has been doing.
    Unfortunately she’s right in my family, my parents were always kind of non-political, middle of the road, and now my dad has gotten conservative and my mom liberal. It’s been very painful to see that side of him emerge.

  14. Cobra says:

    My two cents, nothing new just feel like putting it out there.. Women mostly live their life for other people. Towards the end, they are done and they want to live for themselves. They are finding themselves and don’t care about anybody’s rules anymore. Beautiful thing to see. But its not suitable for men’s lives where they still need to be taken care of in various ways, hence they turn conservative and act all outraged of changes in their partner etc..
    But so many women turn so resentful towards the end. They put up with so much. Instead of enjoying the later stages and they just get so much angrier of all the wasted time. Nobody is happy in this scenario. I am seeing this in the elder women in my family and society, its sad.
    I am from a very conservative society though, so even in the later stages they don’t have much freedom to do what they want sometimes. It comes out as rage.

    I am trying to be mindful of their disappointments, but there is only so much you can do for others. As for me, I am trying not to lose myself so much, pay importance to my needs so I wont turn resentful in the future.

    • Juniper says:

      I totally get this. As I get older, I get the “Karen” thing. It’s not that this woman snaps over something trivial, it’s that the trivial thing was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s frustrating to be somewhere and be completely invisible and ignored, and then be vilified for trying to get some attention.

      Now do I think the Karens who are racist Trumpians are justified? Heck no!

    • A.Key says:

      Beautiful, Cobra, you got me thinking.

  15. Pommom says:

    Go Jane. You were right all along. As I and many others knew.

  16. Emily_C says:

    Well my grandfather was a full-fledged communist until Stalin’s documents about gulags were released, and I think he was older than 60 then, so I guess he became more “conservative” because he became a democratic socialist at that point instead. My father voted for Reagan the first time he ran in the 80s, but now the idea of voting for any Republican is anathema to him, but then the Republican party is far more transparently far-right now than they used to be. My husband’s not 60 yet, but is further left than even me, and I’m very far left by U.S. terms. My over-60 uncles are all still leftists to at least the same degree they were when younger, often more so.

    So I dunno. Maybe rich men, the kind of men Jane Fonda hangs out with, get more conservative as they get older? It has not been my observation regarding working and middle class men.

  17. Ann says:

    We did the Jane Fonda workout for gym class in high school. She is fing bad ass! Def a Klute throwback!

  18. Watson says:

    I don’t see whats wrong with these photos at all. People age, lines get etched. This is what skin looks like when you are her age…it’s normal and ok!

  19. Monica says:

    Jane is around my mother’s age. Now that Mom is gone, Jane is showing me how to get old.