Fonda on feminism

The actress and activist shares her thoughts while campaigning for Sweden's feminist party.

Published September 15, 2006 11:00PM (EDT)

Jane Fonda is campaigning in Stockholm! With Eve Ensler! Did someone summon all the polarizing feminists back to the mother ship and forget to tell us?

Thankfully not. Instead, Fonda and Ensler are in town to support Sweden's Feminist Initiative Party, which is looking to win a Parliament seat in the country's upcoming election. Fi, as the party is known, was formed by a group of prominent feminists last year, with the expressed aim of fighting the patriarchy. They seemed to get off to a rocky start, initially proposing the abolition of marriage, though eventually the party decided to endorse a more inclusive take on the country's marriage laws. Now, the party is estimated to have the support of 0.5 percent of the country's voters (to put that in perspective, the nationalist Swedish Democratic Party, whose main issue is creating an ethnically homogenous Sweden, has 1.5 percent voter support, according to the BBC). Fi needs at least 4 percent to get a seat in Parliament.

Which, presumably, is where Fonda and Ensler come in. I'm not sure why Fi selected non-Swedes to trumpet their cause in a national election (other than the obvious celebrity angle, which may have been all there was to it), but the Americans acquitted themselves pretty well. Fonda, who can be a little hit-and-miss, presented the movement as progressive and inclusive, saying: "Feminism is not about changing society to a matriarchy; feminism is about changing patriarchy to democracy. All people must have their full human rights recognized ... which is what feminism represents." Not bad!

The country's general election is this Sunday, so we'll be back with results (as well as any pressing mother-ship updates) next week.

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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