Last year, Jane Fonda celebrated her 79th birthday out in in the streets, protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline with her friend Lily Tomlin. Don't get the wrong impression, though, when you hear that this year she's celebrating her 80th with a lavish-sounding eight-day party called "Celebrating Eight Decades of Jane."
The festivities, which started with an evening of eight courses of meals, are actually a fundraiser for her sex-ed and pregnancy prevention group in Georgia, G.C.A.P.P., and Fonda has already continued her tradition of keeping it real by simply speaking her mind, as she did in October when she pointed out that people were only suddenly listening to women—and therefore making way for the post-Harvey Weinstein reckoning—because many of those whom he targeted and were then speaking out also happened to be "famous and white." ("This has been going on a long time to black women and other women of color and it doesn’t get out quite the same," Fonda continued, making a point that many of her famous and white peers still seem to have missed out on.)
Whether it was because the big 80 is approaching, or the sexual assault scandals have only multiplied since then, Fonda decided to get even more explicit when speaking recently with Vanity Fair: "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," she said, referring to her activism most decades of activism most remembered by her anti-Vietnam War efforts—which she recently brought back to mind by making merch out of her mug shot from that time that she was arrested in 1970.
"I didn’t think that our freedoms, our democracy would be in jeopardy the way they are now," Fonda continued. "I am utterly terrified."
Fonda, who said that she's happily single, brought along her ex Ted Turner as a date to the celebration's kick-off, which has already raised $1.3 million for her charity—one which she took care to point out is also taking particular care to educate adolescent boys in this cultural "tipping point." (A great PR move, yes, but one that she made while also making a very valid point.)
"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," she said. "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." Fonda, for her part, is not about to forget that young kid in Appalachia: "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."
If she's said and done all by this point in December, who knows what she'll have also accomplished between the rest of the month and time she actually turns 80, on December 21.
Jane Fonda Loved Turning 75—Thanks to Her Ex Husbands: