“I thought that we would have a woman president [by my 80th birthday]. 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.”
Fonda, of course is a two-time Oscar winner, Hollywood royalty, and nearly invented the term celebrity activist. Yes, she turns 80 today, December 21.
She has spent much of her life fighting for causes she believes in, at the expense of her own career. In 1995, not long after she moved to Georgia with then-husband, billionaire and creator of CNN, Ted Turner, she founded the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential (G.C.A.P.P.), which focuses on sexual health education and teen pregnancy prevention, after she saw the skyrocketing teen pregnancy rates in the U.S., particularly in Georgia.
Fonda has kicked off her birthday month with Eight Decades of Jane, an Atlanta birthday party and fund-raiser for G.C.A.P.P., which, as she told Vanity Fair, is how she celebrates all of her “aughts.” She was heavily involved in planning her 60th and 70th birthday parties, but this year, she said, she’s mostly in the dark about any surprises to come. The organizers will have a tough act to follow; last year, she celebrated her 79th with pal and Grace and Frankie co-star Lily Tomlin at a Dakota Access Pipeline protest.
Fonda’s date this year will be ex-husband and friend Turner. (She’s single, which she says “makes me very happy.”) Guests, both celebs and local activists, will enjoy an eight-course meal —one for each decade— catered by famed restaurateur Alice Waters. Carole King and James Taylor will perform and guests are shelling out the big bucks to be there. “Lead sponsors” at the event are paying $100,000 for 20 seats, as well as other perks, including a separate invitation for cocktails for four at Fonda’s home followed by dinner at Soho House.
Fonda calls this particular time a “tipping point” for the culture, and one that she and G.C.A.P.P. won’t let go unnoticed.
“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. 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.
If it didn’t make a difference for famous people to speak out, the right wing wouldn’t object. We are like repeaters. Repeaters are the towers that you see at the top of mountains that pick up signals from the valley and carry them over the mountains to a broader audience. And that’s what celebrities do, if we’re doing our job right. We’re picking up the voices of people who can’t be heard and broadcasting their story.”
What she said. Keep doing it. Happy birthday –you make 80 look easy.
(Photo, Jane Fonda; via Vanity Fair)