The actor told protestors last week that her red coat "is the last article of clothing" she'll ever buy.
The 81-year-old actor Jane Fonda has sworn off shopping. Speaking to a crowd of fellow protestors on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Fonda grabbed the lapels of her now-famous red coat (she's been arrested in it four times in recent weeks for protesting against climate change), and said,
Fonda said she has been inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to change her views on consumerism and joked about the fact that she'll have a lot more free time, now that shopping is off the table.
"So, you see this coat? I needed something red and I went out and found this coat on sale. This is the last article of clothing that I will ever buy."
"I grew up when consumerism wasn’t – didn’t – have such a stranglehold over us. So when I talk to people about how we don’t really need to keep shopping – we shouldn’t look to shopping for our identity, we just don’t need more stuff – then I have to walk the talk, so I’m not buying any more clothes."
Fonda is not alone in her desire to curb rampant consumerism. I've written about "the allure of the year-long shopping ban," and how some people feel so repulsed by the way resources are squandered in our world that they engage in active resistance through non-consumption.
The key to success is to have a plan, and to set rules that are not too difficult to maintain. If Fonda is serious about not shopping superfluously anymore, she should follow author Ann Patchett's guidelines and create a plan that "was serious but not so draconian that I would bail out in February" (after a New Year's start). Patchett banned new clothes, shoes, purses, electronics, and skin care products, but allowed herself to buy anything at the grocery store, as well as useful household products (i.e. printer cartridges, batteries, shampoo), only after using up the ones she already had.
Fonda's activism is a refreshing acknowledgment of the climate crisis from an older perspective, and one that has potential to span generational lines. Her proposed shopping ban is a great, tangible idea that could inspire others to do the same.