No more plastic surgery: Jane Fonda begins road to self-acceptance

Ageing is typically a difficult subject for women because society places a very high pressure on them to remain looking “young and beautiful” for as long as possible.

Celebrities are perhaps even harder hit by these pressures as they are so often in the public eye. Among the best examples is undoubtedly the legendary Jane Fonda, who is known for having undergone her fair share of plastic surgery in the attempt to maintain a youthful appearance.

The timeless Jane Fonda, now 84 years old, recently shared with the world that she felt it was time for her to truly embark on her journey of self-acceptance – and cut plastic surgery out for good.

But there’s a lot more to this Hollywood icon’s journey.

Difficult beginnings

Jane Fonda suffered from insecurities even before age became a factor. Her childhood was riddled with challenges – the most difficult of all surely being the suicide of her mother, Frances Ford Seymour, which occurred when she was just 12.

“I grew up in the ’50s, and on top of that my mother killed herself,” she said. “So I totally identified with men, which meant rugged individualism, so it was very hard for me to overcome that.”

Shortly after her mother’s suicide, Jane began struggling with bulimia, sometimes purging up to 20 times a day. Battling her eating disorder was an intense struggle that went on until she was in her 40s. 

“I try to make it very clear that it has been a long and continuing struggle for me,” she said.

She has also mentioned that her famous father, Henry Fonda, played a role in exacerbating her eating disorder, with three out of five of his wives having suffered from similar issues.

Jane Fonda with father, Henry Fonda in 1979.

Jane has indeed often lived in the shadow of men, including her own father, whose acting career spanned five decades.

Three tumultuous marriages spanning over 30 years would also overshadow her own career and accomplishments as a woman, such as the publication of her many books.

“Showing up is something you have to learn — although there are certain emotional disabilities you pick up when you are young that you can’t entirely undo,” she said. “I have psychic scars that I will never be able to give up. You learn to manage them. You learn to banish them to the corner and put a dunce cap on them and forbid them to come out.”

From Mighty Struggles to Mighty Missions

From her early days as a model starting with her famous cover shot for Vogue magazine in 1959, Jane trained in acting and stage work.

Jane Fonda, cover photo by Irving Penn, Vogue, July 1959

But from her racy beginnings as a cult sex symbol, Jane has evolved into the outspoken, powerful and poised woman we recognize for not being afraid to take a stance on sociopolitical issues.

Indeed, Jane has stolen the spotlight again and again as an informal spokesperson for women struggling everywhere, as well as for humanitarian causes, from the Vietnam War to climate change.

“I knew that if I really told the truth, it would be universal,” she says. “All these issues are universal among women: I’m not good enough; I have to please, starting with Daddy; I’m not pretty enough; I’m not thin enough; I’m not smart enough.”

Jane is known for holding firmly to her personal beliefs, no matter how controversial or how much trouble she could get into. Her perseverance rarely goes unnoticed and have played an important role in cementing her popularity, not only as an actress but as an activist.

She has in recent years often been found often in the spotlight for her work with bringing awareness climate change, efforts which have led to numerous arrests.

Jane took a four-month-long leave from her her Netflix series, Grace and Frankie to focus on mobilizing weekly protests in Washington DC and bring urgent attention to climate change. She felt the need to “disrupt [her] comfortable life” to fight for the future, she said in an interview with Elle Canada.

Self-acceptance at last

With tackling the climate crisis at the top of her agenda, Jane Fonda has now expressed a personal awakening following her years of struggling with her personal image.

“I can’t pretend that I’m not vain, but there isn’t going to be any more plastic surgery — I’m not going to cut myself up anymore,” Jane shared. “I have to work every day to be self-accepting; it doesn’t come easy to me.”

Jane has sworn off more than just plastic surgery – romantic relationships are also a thing of the past. Indeed, Jane famously jokes that she’s “closed up shop down there.”

Instead, Jane turns to her strong lady friends as her source of support and companionship throughout life’s many ups and downs.

“The people who tend to really show up for me — and whom I show up for — are my women friends.”

What a source of pure inspiration! Better late than never – I am thrilled that Jane Fonda is not only working on changing the world for the better, but also on overcoming the deeper inner struggle every woman experiences: to accept herself.

Let’s share Jane’s story with all the strong women we know to inspire them to love themselves just the way they are!