Jane, Again: Fonda’s ‘third act’ and a return to aerobics

Given my frequent posts on exercise and list of publications on aerobics, you’ll likely be unsurprised to know I follow Jane Fonda on Twitter and read her blog.

She posts frequently – links to her personal website, and announcements about her TV appearances. Fonda recently posted a TED talk. TED, tagline “ideas worth spreading,” is a both a conference and virtual space that “offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.” It is worth a look, if you’re not familiar.

In any case, Fonda’s talk was about “Life’s Third Act.” Now in her 70s, Fonda is taking on aging, advocating for a new paradigm for thinking about what it means to grow older:  age as potential, rather than age as decline. The “third act” metaphor is appropriate for Fonda, though perhaps it is more appropriate to see this as her fourth or fifth life. Fonda started out as an actress in the 1960s (her first act). Though sometimes associated with the sexy and campy Barbarella (1968) , she has twice been nominated for an academy award. By the late-1960s Fonda was involved in radical proto-Marxist style politics. She starred in Godard’s Tout Va Bien (1972) which examined the class struggle – and a film about which I wrote a first year film essay. In the same year Fonda got herself into some trouble – in America at least – for her critique of the Vietnam War and (perceived) sympathies for the North Vietnamese. Of that time, Fonda has expressed both regret and frustration, with the misrepresentation of her position on the war (her second act).

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