Gen Z Is Just Discovering Jane Fonda, and We Love That for Them
Gen Z gets it.
On Sunday, Jane Fonda will receive the Cecil B. Demille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes. The 82-year-old will join the company of Oprah, Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks — a legend among legends, and exactly where she belongs.
At the ceremony, her decades of accomplishments will surely be spelled out with a touching video tribute and a speech about her life. Fortunately, though, we don't have to wait for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to celebrate her, we can do it through the fresh, optimistic eyes of Gen Z, who is learning about her accomplishments, aesthetic, and allyship — from her Barbarella days to the time she learned American Sign Language in an acknowledgment of the deaf community at the 1979 Oscars.
TikTok, home to millions of young leftists and woke spirits plays host to an abundance of Fonda-centric videos, hyping her fashion, her career work of service, and her mic-drop sound bites during press appearances. Videos featuring the #JaneFonda tag have nearly 10 million views to date.
An ode to her career, of course, would be incomplete without Jane-the-aerobics-guru cosplay.
The most inspiring content, though, highlights not just the activism of Jane, but of Gen Z, too.
If you, like me grew up in a conservative household, you may have been brainwashed into believing that Miss Fonda is a mouthy "feminazi" who needs to "stick to acting." This understanding of Fonda's activism, while it may seem rare, is surprisingly prevalent point of view among people who have taken to referring to Fonda as "Hanoi Jane" for her anti-war activism and a photograph that she has since apologized for. Just look at the comment sections on Instagram or Facebook and you'll see it.
This sexist, baseless hatred is, to my delight, ridiculed by the youngest internet-literate generation, who see Jane for what she is: An ally, through and through. The intergenerational wars, in this case, have expanded their borders to include not just fights between millennials and Gen Z over where to part your hair, or what jeans to wear, but to Boomers vs. everyone else (we didn't forget about you this time, Gen X!) on the topic of Jane Fonda.
Experiencing the discovery of Fonda through the eyes of a younger generation is at once nostalgic as well as a cathartic reminder that not all Americans of a certain age are also of an ignorant, bigoted demeanor. The beloved Hollywood icon has proven time and time again that her praise is well-deserved.