For International Women’s Day, I thought it apt to share with you my thoughts on a book written by one of the most outspoken feminists out there- Jane Fonda. Here is a summary of her feminist activism from www.feminist.com:
Jane Fonda focuses the bulk of her time on activism and advocacy on environmental issues, human rights, and the empowerment of women and girls. In 1995, she founded the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP.) In 2000 she produced a film with the International Women’s Health Coalition, entitled Generation 2000: Changing Girls’ Realities. She is a member of the Women & Foreign Policy Advisory Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations, The Grady Health System Board of Visitors, the Screen Actors Guild Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the Native American Rights Fund, and she sits on the V-Counsel of V-Day: Until The Violence Stops. In 1994, Ms. Fonda was named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund. She established the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health at the Emory School of Medicine and has endowed a faculty chair in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Emory University School of Medicine.
*For a fascinating in-depth interview with Jane Fonda about her latest feminist activism projects, read the full story here.
I just devoured Jane’s Fonda’s My Life So Far. It’s by no means a new book (it was written in 2006), but it takes me a long time to catch up on reading all the autobiographies of amazing women I have sitting on my bookshelf. I have always loved Jane Fonda’s acting and been impressed by her political activism and the fact that she has used her celebrity status as a tool to make positive changes in the world both in her own country, and abroad.
My Life So Far blew me away because of its stark revelations and sheer candor. I was especially moved by Fonda’s sharing about her almost three decades-long battle with bulimia. I wasn’t surprised that she had an eating disorder (so many women in the spotlight do), but that she was so honest about it and the lengths she has gone in order to recover from it.
I was also impressed by her unstoppable drive towards self-awareness and personal growth. She has been in psychotherapy many times during her life and shares the rewards that it has brought to her and the people she loves. I also appreciate how she ties the personal with the political throughout the entire book, transforming it from one woman’s struggles and journey, to shared experiences that we, as women go through in a patriarchal society. I feel that by writing this book and sharing her story with us, she inspires us to become more honest about our own struggles with self-image, relationships, and the problems of society at large. From there, perhaps we can then take action, as Ms. Fonda herself has done valiantly for decades, to strive to achieve a more just and socially responsible society.