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Jane Fonda

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Jane Fonda has won two Academy Awards during her legendary acting career. She is an activist on issues such as the environment, human rights, and the empowerment of women and girls, with much of her work devoted to the program she founded in 1995, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. Fonda was named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund in 994, and currently is a member of the board of the Women’s Media Center, which she helped found in 2004. She is the author of 23 home exercise videos, 3 audio recordings, five books, and a best-selling memoir, My Life So Far.

Something that Rigoberta said this morning when she used the word “product” – I was a product. Products aren’t activists. I was a product of “be nice”, I was a product of “please”, and “you don’t know what you know”, and you don’t stir the pot. In fact I was the product known as Barbarella!

And it was the Vietnam War and discovering what was going on there that turned me into an activist. And then I began to not be a product anymore.

We [women] are supposed to be supportive and malleable and the woman behind the man. And so I think when we step out of that product role, I think that we are really vilified...I sometimes wonder if it had been Paul Newman, would it have been quite the same?

Friends. When things were really, really bad….but what makes the difference is friends – and they were all women. And I wasn’t really a feminist then, but I did have to notice that it was the women who enfolded me in their wings and with their heart, and I just sort of knew that we would go on. Maybe not as individuals, but as a movement.

It’s that thing that makes women more fortunate than men. I think men are at a tremendous disadvantage because they have a harder time having a heartful, networking group – they don’t do that like women do. And it’s great strength that we have.

So that’s what I think of what I think of women, power and peace. I think of living our deepest, most loving humanity. And every one of us, no matter what we do or who we are, we become powerful.

If we can just hold that when we go home, to live our deepest humanity, we will be a ripple to impact other people.

The importance of really being informed, and trying to stay as credible – I mean, I’ve had to work hard to regain some credibility...It’s hard when you’ve made the kind of mistakes that I’ve made.

What you can do changes. You become more patient. Things are not so black and white – grey is a good color.

Learning to listen, and I mean really listen, listen to your heart to people. People who don’t agree with you. When someone feels heard, they are much more apt to hear you.

What we are talking about a shift in consciousness, and so we have to change people - inside we have to change.

I think one of the big problems with Congress is that they don’t have any epiphanies...They don’t have the opportunity to be exposed to the kind of things we are exposed to.

What is your one big dream in this lifetime? That we stop global dreaming...We have to create a tipping point where we understand that we’re sh—ting in our kennel – even dogs don’t do that! That we have to preserve our life support system, which is the Earth, and I think that can happen during my life.

Now, the other thing, which is patriarchy, that’s not going to happen during my life….but we’ve got to keep at it.

I’ve worked hard in all kinds of different ways – you only know some of them – to get over fear of intimacy, and it’s the greatest thing. And I’m learning how to open my heart.

I guess the burning thing that I think about a lot is – what do we do about our sons? …Doing everything we can to keep our sons and grandsons emotionally literate – to keep them connected at the heart...We have to raise sons who are capable of intimacy and love and compassion.

When girls change, everything changes.

When girls change, boys come along.

…opening our understanding of why men are turned into what they’ve turned into, and opening our hearts to them.

Peace looks like people living in the situation where they feel seen and heard and valued and loved. It’s love, it’s as simple as that, where people aren’t scared.

Interview with Jane Fonda

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