Before I turned sixy I thought I was a feminist. I was in a way -- I worked to register women to vote, I supported women getting elected. I brought gender issues into my movie roles, I encouraged women to get strong and healthy, I read the books we've all read. I had it in my head and partly in my heart, yet I didn't fully get it.
that's jane fonda in a speech called 'v is volcano' from alternet.
it's women history's month and i didn't even realize it until i was reading the common ills this morning and saw the thing last night on gloria steinem. hey, c.i., i thought you were going to make the entries for women's history month shorter and less challenging. (i'm joking. i thought it was wonderful but there were members who wrote in about the 1st entry for black history month and c.i. had stated that the 1st entry for women's history month wouldn't be a long 1.
while it's not that long, it is very moving and encapsulates why gloria steinem is so important.)
i'd love to tell you that i was going to do something on women's history every month but let's be honest, i'll mean to and then forget. plus i haven't been making 7 days a week of blogging lately.
women's history month is important.
and i am noting it today. maybe i'll do so again. maybe i won't. that's the fun of coming to my blog. will she talk about sex? will she talk about politics? will she talk about attitude? will she just give a long screed?
you honestly never know!
i'm a woman of mystery!
keep 'em guessing!
but if i only highlight 1 woman the whole month, jane fonda is the one i would want to highlight.
for various reasons.
if you are a third estate sunday review reader (and you should be, and if you aren't why aren't you?) you may have seen their dvd review of barefoot in the park. and if you read their note to the readers, you understand why. they're going to do a dvd review of various comedies starring jane fonda as we get ready for the release of monster-in-law.
don't know monster-in-law? it's jane fonda's return to film acting. she plays a woman not thrilled to have jennifer lopez as her daughter. maybe the woman reads the tabloid and was struck by lopez's romance record?
the trailer is hilarious and i'll try to find the link that the common ills provided to it. but this is a movie that i want to see. i do like lopez. michael vartan plays jane fonda's son and he's pretty hot on alias but i truly fell for him in 1 hour photo where he demonstrated not only talent but also his knob. not enough guys flash the eye candy!
and the always funny wanda sykes is in it as well.
so i am primed for this film.
but the main reason is to see jane fonda. women love jane. we see her as a strong, brave woman who's done so much. and she's never been afraid to look back and say 'maybe i should have done that differently.' even in the speech above, she's still questioning, still growing. that's how i hope i live my life.
as a kid, i fell in love with coming home which used to air all the time. jane fonda won her 2nd oscar for that film. it's a drama. about sally hyde who goes to work at a v.a. hospital when her husband bob goes over to vietnam. sally falls in love with luke who is a paraplegic. it's a really romantic movie and i love the soundtrack.
and here's a trivia note for you. sally's husband is played by bruce dern. she falls in love with jon voight. billy bob thornton may have loved coming home too, after all he left laura dern (bruce's daughter) for angelina jolie (jon voight's daughter).
sally starts out the film very prim and as she spends hours at the v.a. hospital and is exposed to the costs of war, she begins a transformation. part of that is letting her hair go wild. and right after i saw that film, i had to have my 1st perm. every 1 said, 'oh becky, it looks just like stevie nicks!' stevie was really popular then. (i still love stevie nicks.) but i got that hair style because of the movie coming home. and jane fonda was my favorite actress.
i ended up seeing most of her films. (c.i. mentioned tout va bien not long ago and i haven't seen that film.) my favorites included klute (her first oscar), the hilarious 9 to 5, fun with dick and jane (which is being remade and i'm not really looking forward to that), julia, agnes of god, the morning after, on golden pond, barefoot in the park, sunday in new york, the dollmaker, a doll's house, cat ballou, old gringo (which i find to be an amazing mosaic), the china syndrome, california suite, eletric horseman, the game is over . . .
you get the idea? there aren't a lot of actresses who have a body of work women can be proud of. i mean melanie griffith was looking ridiculous at the oscars but i could forgive it if she had more than 1 working girl to her credit. melanie's hollywood through and through and the reason that it's so hard to take so many hollywood actresses. i can admire vanessa redgrave and emma thompson, for instance, or any number of french actresses (past and present) but most american actresses seem to really embrace their inner bimbo. not in a way where they are in the forefront but where they are the cup cake and the male lead is the meal.
i love winonna ryder but i'll never forget my shock at edward scissorhands that 1 shove knocks her out for the climatic battle. this is the gal who saved the school in heathers?
there's jodie foster and there's jane fonda. and there's not a lot of other women who come off as intelligent onscreen. if they do, they tend to not reach mega-stardom. blythe danner is an example of a strong actress onscreen but she never became a star.
if there's anything worse than playing a string of bimbos it has to be playing up to stereotypes.
shirley maclaine is a funny actress. but somewhere after terms of endearment, it seemed like she was playing old women (much older than she was) who were these extreme stereotypes.
hey it gave her a new career so good for her.
but other than steel magnolias, i'm not sure there's a film after terms of endearment that i can sit through. maclaine was and remains a pretty woman. but onscreen she's spent far too much time playing the crotchety old woman and looking 10 to 20 years older.
in steel magnolias, it works because of the story. but more often than not (especially surrounded by males), it makes it seem like 1 long 'laugh at the old lady' joke.
i like susan sarandon. and i like her even more when she plays a sexually active character and not 'mommy living her whole life for a kid.'
but jane fonda was the 1st woman over 30 and then over 40 to be a real star. look at some 1 like jessica lange who is immensely talented and you realize how hard that is. maybe only katharine hepburn pulled this off before. (bette davis rallied with all about eve and then began a long descent that was painful for fans.)
she paved the way for susan sarandon and others. and she did it by taking control of her career and forming her own production company (ipc, later fonda films). she wasn't just waiting for hollywood to cast her, she was setting up films like coming home and on golden pond.
so now that this whole 'second act' for women is a big trend story, we need to acknowledge that for actresses, jane fonda already did that.
but most of all i loved her because she was such an amazing actress. this woman studied with lee strasberg and it shows. in their review of barefoot in the park, 3rd estate noted that jane fonda is not just standing there and saying her lines, she's got the movements going on that add to the characterization. and when she's working with a master like anne bancroft (agnes of god) or vanessa redgrave (julia), there time onscreen together is just amazing.
method actors get a lot of attention . . . if they're male. we'll sing the praises of marlon brando and others. but there are method actresses as well and we tend to not notice them.
maybe that's because they tended to not do well in hollywood because of hollywood's limited view of women? if jane fonda hadn't become a producer, she could have ended up playing stereotypical women added to a film for flavor (look at faye dunaway's filmography -- and dunaway is talented).
it was only after i started reading up on jane fonda that i realized how amazing she was off screen. when she and redgrave teamed for julia, it was huge news. along with the turning point (starring anne bancroft and shirley maclaine) these were the first films in some time to star two women. she made films that mattered and still matter that rank among the best of 'new hollywood.'
but let's talk about her life. she has been so involved in so many things. like jean seberg, she went from fluff roles in this country (that she brought so much to as stanley kaufman noted in real time) to france and became an international star due to the films she made over there.
and she spoke out. she's spoken out for working women, for native americans, for black power, for gays and lesbians, for the environment, for a nuclear freeze . . .
most of all she spoke out for peace.
and when you hear rachel maddow unable to stop flapping her jaws about 'support the troops' over and over in any interview, you really start to realize how important and hard it must have been for jane fonda to do what she did.
contrary to the right wing myths, fonda wasn't anti-soldier. she was pro-peace. she helped with the g.i. coffee house movement but the right wing doesn't want to tell you that. but she spoke of peace and didn't do it by saying 'support the troops, support the troops, support the troops!'
yesterday, big brain rachel maddow has a guy on to discuss the town meetings in vermont. she can't focus on them for very long without turning into her usual lame 'support the troops' parroting. (it's strange that such a big brain is unaware of where 'support the troops' derives from or that it was propaganda created by a p.r. group to dilute anti-war messages.) (it's equally strange that a supposed big brain has never apparently read noam chomsky -- especially on this topic.)
wonder where the outrage is after abu ghraib? after the destruction of fallujah? we'll never be able to express that outrage as long as big brain and her ilk keep squawking 'support the troops! support the troops! support the troops! polly want a cracker!' and that's exactly why the slogan was created. you'd think big brain would realize that.
any criticism (and a lot of it is valid) is greeted with 'support the troops!' that's why we're still not expressing the outrage. though i agree with common ills member maria that the kids in high school and college aren't falling for this bullshit.
it's only the middle-aged cowards like rachel maddow who keep having to shut down debate by screaming 'support the troops!'
jane fonda spoke about what was going on. she didn't have the need to say 'we're bombing the dykes and it is outrageous. but support the troops!'
the only person with a public voice that stays on topic these days, that i know of any way, is naomi klein. and you'll note that naomi doesn't pop up on air america that often. (she's more likely to be on the majority report which is the most liberal of the shows during the week.) naomi gets it (and more power to her). people are dying. that's the issue big brain. not squawking 'support the troops' every five seconds.
'she's such a stupid bitch.' that's what my friend kelli said yesterday (after rachel flew solo and embarrassed herself for 3 hours. that may be why unfiltered was a repeat today.)
in 3 years we may still be where we are now because of people like rachel. as my friend elaine says 'i do not support the killing of iraqis. i do not support the destruction of fallujah.' but there's rachel and lizz winstead (big brain and no brain) piping up 'support the troops!' or 'it's tuesday so we've got the lick the balls of some military man! that's right, it's time to ask the vet!'
did you hear the voices of any men who deserted on unfiltered?
hell fucking no. those 2 bitches don't have the guts to put those voices on their dopey shit ass stink show. (amy goodman does.) instead they give us ask a vet and pet talk. they're prats. (i looked up the word.)
silly, know nothing prats.
the bitches went to atlanta last week and i listened because i was hoping after all the hate no brain's repeatedly spewed on people from the south, that some 1 would throw a pie in her overly long face. didn't happen. but i can dream.
in the meantime, we're stuck with lizz and rachel rushing to minimize anything that goes on over there by screeching 'support the troops!'
the 1s who murdered iraqis in torture/questioning? the 1s who humiliated them? which 1s are we suppoed to support? every 1 with your bullshit blanket 'support the troops' statements.
no brain and big brain are the scoop jacksons of this century. they come off like war mongers.
you get the feeling that john lennon and yoko ono would be kicked off unfiltered if it had been on the early 70s. (kind of the way tom hayden has vanished as a guest on the network.)
now there are exceptions. mike malloy expresses outrage. laura flanders never forgets the humanity. janeane garofalo is very left. but then we get 3 hours of meaningless crap chatter from lizz and rachel about pets, the o.c., their love lives (well rachel's, lizz still trolls the unfiltered blog looking for hook ups) and other meaningless crap. meaningless crap, they should change the name to that. 'hey this is no brain with big brain and we're hosting meaningless crap. our guests for the next 3 hours include center right writers for the new republic, mainstream pundints and our bob hope salute to the troops!'
i guess i just don't get how air america is supposed to change anything when big brain and no brain continue to push the center over and over.
these are two gals who think defending hillary clinton is cutting edge for the left. they have no clue.
but jane fonda did. she spoke out. and some people hated her because of it. and still hate her and they make up lies about her. but tough shit people, she spoke out. she stood up and was counted. lizz is too busy hovering like the brainless hummingbird she is and rachel's popping another brewskie from her e-z boy recliner while she scratches her groin.
we need strong voices, real voices. the occupation will not be ended as long as idiots keep repeating blanket statements that were designed to silence dissent.
jane fonda was put on an enemies list by tricky dick nixon. you get the idea that if the bully boy put malloy or flanders or janeane on an enemies list, they'd wear it like a badge of honor. not no brain and big brain, they'd whine about it for 3 hours. 'we support america!' they'd whimper.
they let themselves be boxed into this crap and that's why they are so utterly ineffective.
we need bravery. and when i think of bravery, i think of jane fonda. who fought for peace. who fought bulimia and shared her story with others.
i think of jane fonda and wonder where the strong women of today are?
so if i never get around to highlighting women's history month again this month, i want to take a moment to highlight jane fonda. she had more guts and more drive than most people. more than big brain and no brain combined.