Jane’s confused and so are we.

Jane fondaJane Fonda’s writing a book about aging!  Oh, wait, it’s about plastic surgery.

She’s ashamed of having gone under the knife.  Oh wait: “I feel so good. I’m so happy.”

Either way, Fonda’s going to come clean, because “I’m writing a book about aging; I can’t write that book and not say I’ve had plastic surgery.” I admire the honesty even as I wince at the decision.  “I caved,” she said during an April interview with Larry King. “If I was really brave I wouldn’t have, and I don’t feel proud of it.” Fonda’s mixed message makes a wacky kind of sense in a culture terrified of aging and in love with the confessional, but it reflects a profound confusion about how to grow old in America.

I’ve been a fan from the Hanoi Jane days onward.  (We bonded most intimately between my two pregnancies, when I’d drag myself through the legendary Jane Fonda Workout tape  — damn those dog-peeing-on-hydrant leg lifts!) She’s spoken up bravely for the rights of the oppressed all over the world, and strongly supported V-Day and other feminist causes from the get-go. Militarism, racism, and sexism all presented the actor with clear targets, but growing old has yet to do so. Faced with the wrinkle or the scalpel, Fonda’s finding it far harder to identify the oppressor.  I wonder whether, and how, she’ll tackle ageism in her book.

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