Jane Fonda, at age 68, says that most women—no matter how beautiful—grow up feeling their bodies are not perfect. She went through 30 years of food addiction that led to bulimia and anorexia. Jane says she was able to stop the behavior, but "as with all forms of addiction, you have to figure out what emotional needs you were trying to satisfy. It's a spiritual process." A major event, "one of the biggies," came three years ago when she saw Eve Ensler perform The Vagina Monologues. "I have become a very involved member of the vagina army," Jane says.
She has always had the knack for moving two steps farther than most people's comfort zone. "I don't mean to say this is an easy process," she concedes. "I may be wealthy, white, and famous, but I know how my life has been hurt because of my inability to like myself and cherish my body. I don't want it to take 60 years for other girls."
What can we learn from women whose bodies have helped make them icons? Their genetic gifts opened doors that led to glamorous careers, celebrity, money, admiration and relationships with famous men. But they didn't arrive where they are by genetics alone. They worked hard, they learned tough lessons and they can remind us now of what we know but need to hear again: that perfection is a fool's goal; that health, friends, creative work, service and nourishing relationships are what make us feel good; that looks change and life changes. The best we can do is focus on what we have the power to improve in ourselves, and when it comes to the body—love the one you're with.