Jane Fonda – model, actress, political and women’s rights activist, and work out queen. She did not seek these roles, but grew into them. Through these roles she was thrusted into the eyes of the public from birth, because she was the daughter of the legendary actor, Henry Fonda. With his encouragement, her acting career began. From that point, she began to explore her own womanhood, and in the process, the world was watching and growing with her.
Jane’s career started before she even knew she wanted to pursue acting. In 1954, Fonda made her acting debut in a stage production called The Country Girl. Then she attended Vassar College for two years until 1958, when she was introduced to renowned acting coach, Lee Strasberg. She paid for her acting lessons by modeling, and made her screen debut in Tall Story (1960) two years after meeting Strasberg. However, this was only the beginning.
The public, at the on set of her career, viewed Jane as a nave, sweet girl – a favorable image in the 50s. During this era, women on television, as well as in real life, had to appear perfect. June Cleaver, the mother from Leave it to Beaver, was one such paragon. She cooked, cleaned, ironed, sewed — all while maintaining a perfect hairdo and the no complaints. The public saw Jane as another perfect icon that provided a younger June-like persona. She grew up in the 50’s with images of perfection, but it also shaped her (apparent in her earlier films mentioned above). Everyone thought that she would grow to be “beautiful Jane.”” However, she broke this stereotypical view of women in the controversial movie Barbarella (1968).
Jane shocked everyone with her new sexy image. It sparked a cultural revolt sweeping the United States in the form of the hippie counter-culture. In this movie, Jane was portrayed as a sex kitten, super heroine determined to save the world from evil +destruction. She pranced on screen with skimpy outfits that barely covered her body and pursued sexual pleasures in between her escapades.