September 25, 2018
One of my s/heroes has just released her history (her/story) as an HBO film: JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS. No accident this coincides with my continued writing of my own memoir In Search of a Significant Equal. There are so many similarities to my own life that parallel Jane’s 1985 autobiography My Life So Far. The director Susan Lacy obtained archives of footage that none of her fans nor her enemies, and she made many, have ever seen that illuminate this still beautiful, still political activist at 80.
She admits how her life had been defined by the men she loved, married and had children with, not her remarkable artistry and career as a three-time Oscar winning actor. Watching recent clips with interviews of visits to past homes, Roger Vadim’s in Paris, Tom Hayden’s wanderings across the U.S, and Ted Turner’s ranch in Montana, one vividly sees how these men have aged and Jane appears not to have with self-admitted plastic surgery.
This film triggered many of my own memories. I remember one of my first feminist girlfriends giving me a lecture on how male-identified I was. I’ve actually been in the Emma Willard private school in Troy, New York her parents shipped their headstrong teenager to. I led exercise groups to The Jane Fonda Workout for years a part of a federally funded health program I initiated that had many of her health guru concepts in it. I too visited my father’s cemetery, hoping to get or send a message concerning his passing at 44. Jane uncovered the technical cause for her mother’s suicide when she was 12, by obtaining records from the institution she’d been moved to.
Enough details on the evolution of this woman who the New York Times says is still pushing forward. See the movie. Her focus now is on grass roots organizing to get the vote out in the next election she considers the most important one ever. “We have to stand together against a common enemy, which is people that only care about money and power and don’t give a hoot about the average Americans.”