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Jane Fonda: ‘It took me 30 years to get feminism’

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Actor, who is a prominent women’s rights advocate, says she once saw women’s issues as a distraction from other problems.

Actor and activist Jane Fonda has admitted that she was “a late bloomer” when it came to feminism and that it took her until her 60s to really understand the movement.

Writing in Lenny , Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s online newsletter, Fonda – who is a prominent women’s rights campaigner – said she had gone from viewing women’s issues as a distraction from more important problems to the realisation that “women are the issue, the core issue”.

“It took me 30 years to get it, but it’s OK to be a late bloomer, as long as you don’t miss the flower show,” she said.

Related: Jane Fonda: five best moments

Fonda wrote: “In 1970, when I was 33, I learned that 5,000 women in New York City were demonstrating for legalised abortion. I wrote in my journal: ‘Don’t understand the Women’s Liberation Movement. There are more important things to have a movement for, it seems to me.’”

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The actor, who is a two-time Academy Award winner, was a prominent opponent to the Vietnam war and civil rights activist before becoming a supporter of feminist causes. “I began to identify myself publicly as a feminist, although it would be many years before I would look within myself and locate the multiple ways in which I had internalised sexism and the profound damage that it had done to me,” she wrote.

Fonda said that although she supported female candidates, brought gender issues into her film roles, produced women-centred films, and made exercise videos to help women get strong physically, her feminism was theoretical: “in my head, not my blood and bones”.

“For me to really confront sexism would have required doing something about my relationships with men, and I couldn’t. That was too scary,” she said. Fonda revealed that her father, actor Henry Fonda, would send her stepmother to instruct her to lose weight and wear longer skirts. “One of my stepmothers told me all the ways I’d have to change physically if I wanted a boyfriend,” she said.

Fonda has been heavily involved in the V-Day movement, which works to stop violence against women and girls and was inspired by the Broadway show The Vagina Monologues. In 2001, she established the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health at Emory University in Atlanta, which aims to help prevent adolescent pregnancy. “When I turned 60 and entered my third and final act, I decided that I needed to heal the wounds patriarchy had dealt me,” she wrote. “I didn’t want to come to the end of my life without doing all I could to become a whole, full-voiced woman.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2016

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Net-zero: climate-saving target or delay tactic?

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With Britain set to become the first major economy to commit in law to reaching a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, what is carbon neutrality, and how will nations reach it?

- Why net-zero? -

Nations are gathered this week in the German city of Bonn to discuss implementing the Paris climate deal -- a landmark accord that in 2015 committed countries to work to limit global temperature rises.

Paris aims to cap warming at two degrees celsius (3.6 Farenheit) and requires nations to submit individually defined plans to slash the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the mercury up.

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2020 Election

Exclusive: Democratic operative who tested Russian tactics in Alabama reveals that Trump continues to outspend Democrats on Facebook — by a factor of 9 to 1

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This article was paid for entirely by reader donations to Raw Story Investigates and AlterNet 2020. Become a member and get rid of video ads, or click to make a one-time donation.

The ground shifted under Democrats during the 2016 election, but many refuse to acknowledge just how, or in what direction. Some are still content to lose close elections gracefully, even when the stakes for American democracy are the highest they have ever been. Others are so bent on proving that their electoral strategy is sound that they refuse to acknowledge Mark Zuckerberg has broken the traditional models of voter persuasion.

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Fox & Friends attacks Mueller’s credibility: ‘I don’t think he knows the details of the report’

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The hosts of "Fox & Friends" questioned Robert Mueller's credibility after Congress set a date for the former special counsel to testify about his findings.

Mueller will testify July 17 to lay out evidence of alleged crimes by President Donald Trump and his campaign associates, and Fox News broadcasters suggested questions that could undercut his impartiality.

"How did it make you feel when president of the United States said that you're compromised, or how did it make you feel when the president of the United States kept attacking the process?" said co-host Brian Kilmeade. "What did you think about the rumors he was going to fire you? I'm not sure he is going to answer that either."

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