Jane Fonda Returned to Her Activist Roots for Her 79th Birthday
MAKER Jane Fonda turned 79 years old this December, but the actress did not sit idly by as she celebrated another year of her legendary life. Harkening back to her days of protests and activism, the actress, joined by her friend and co-star Lily Tomlin, marched in solidarity with the people of Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Along with actresses Frances Fisher, Catherine Keener, and labor leader Delores Huerta, Fonda and Tomlin attended a rally to support the #BankExit movement which, per People, "promotes the idea of moving money out of big banks and into local credit unions."
Fisher and Tomlin slipped in a rendition of "Happy Birthday" and (reportedly) a cake for their passionate friend.
Fonda, though, has perhaps one of the most highly publicized pasts when it comes to taking public stands. During the Vietnam War era, Fonda garnered the negative moniker of "Hanoi Jane" after she appeared in a photograph seated on an anti-aircraft battery in North Vietnam. Although Fonda has since apologized for the ill-advised photo, she has faced criticism about it for years.
Fonda's activism spans far beyond her years protesting the Vietnam War. The seasoned actress has spoken out about her journey with the feminist movement itself. Earlier this year, Fonda wrote an essay in Lenny Letter, where she admitted to having had a "convoluted journey" within her identity as a social-justice advocate and feminist. In one section of her piece, she shared a 1970 excerpt from her journal, when she was 33 years old: "Don't understand the Women’s Liberation Movement. There are more important things to have a movement for, it seems to me. To focus on women’s issues is diversionary when so much wrong is being done in the world. Each woman should take it upon herself to be liberated and show a man what that means."
She described how the women she met, including one named Terry who ran a G.I. coffee house in Texas, changed her outlook on her role in the feminist movement and social-justice causes. In meeting Terry, and women like her, Fonda felt “seen for the first time” and understood her purpose in the activism world.
Now, at 79, Fonda is the subject of a Netflix show that celebrates women who are active and engaged later in life. As is evidenced by this particular birthday, she is still marching on.
Watch Fonda's exclusive MAKERS story in the video player above.
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Photo Credit: MAKERS