A hilarious celebration of lifelong female friendship | Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin
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A hilarious celebration of lifelong female friendship | Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin

August 25, 2019


Pat Mitchell: So I was thinking
about female friendship a lot, and by the way, these two women, I’m very honored to say, have been my friends
for a very long time, too. Jane Fonda: Yes we have. PM: And one of the things
that I read about female friendship is something that Cervantes said. He said, “You can tell
a lot about someone,” in this case a woman, “by the company that she keeps.” So let’s start with — (Laughter) JF: We’re in big trouble. Lily Tomlin: Hand me one of those waters, I’m extremely dry. (Laughter) JF: You’re taking up our time. We have a very limited — LT: Just being with her
sucks the life out of me. (Laughter) JF: You ain’t seen nothing yet. Anyway — sorry. PM: So tell me, what do you
look for in a friend? LT: I look for someone
who has a sense of fun, who’s audacious, who’s forthcoming, who has politics, who has even a small scrap
of passion for the planet, someone who’s decent,
has a sense of justice and who thinks I’m worthwhile. (Laughter) (Applause) JF: You know, I was thinking this morning, I don’t even know what I would do
without my women friends. I mean it’s, “I have my friends,
therefore I am.” LT: (Laughter) JF: No, it’s true. I exist because I have
my women friends. They — You’re one of them. I don’t know about you. But anyway — (Laughter) You know, they make me stronger,
they make me smarter, they make me braver. They tap me on the shoulder when I might
be in need of course-correcting. And most of them are
a good deal younger than me, too. You know? I mean, it’s nice —
LT: Thank you. (Laughter) JF: No, I do, I include you in that,
because listen, you know — it’s nice to have somebody still around
to play with and learn from when you’re getting toward the end. I’m approaching —
I’ll be there sooner than you. LT: No, I’m glad to have you
parallel aging alongside me. (Laughter) JF: I’m showing you the way. (Laughter) LT: Well, you are and you have. PM: Well, as we grow older, and as we go through
different kinds of life’s journeys, what do you do to keep
your friendships vital and alive? LT: Well you have to use a lot of — JF: She doesn’t invite me over much,
I’ll tell you that. LT: I have to use a lot of social media — You be quiet now. And so — (Laughter) LT: And I look through my emails,
I look through my texts to find my friends, so I can answer them
as quickly as possible, because I know they need my counsel. (Laughter) They need my support, because most of my friends
are writers, or activists, or actors, and you’re all three … and a long string
of other descriptive phrases, and I want to get to you
as soon as possible, I want you to know that I’m there for you. JF: Do you do emojis? LT: Oh …
JF: No? LT: That’s embarrassing.
JF: I’m really into emojis. LT: No, I spell out my — I spell out my words of happiness
and congratulations, and sadness. JF: You spell it right out — LT: I spell it, every letter. (Laughter) JF: Such a purist. You know, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve understood more
the importance of friendships, and so, I really make an effort to reach out and make play dates —
not let too much time go by. I read a lot so, as Lily knows all too well, my books that I like,
I send to my friends. LT: When we knew we would be here today you sent me a lot of books
about women, female friendships, and I was so surprised
to see how many books, how much research
has been done recently — JF: And were you grateful?
LT: I was grateful. (Laughter) PM: And — LT: Wait, no, it’s really important
because this is another example of how women are overlooked,
put aside, marginalized. There’s been very little
research done on us, even though we volunteered lots of times. JF: That’s for sure. (Laughter) LT: This is really exciting,
and you all will be interested in this. The Harvard Medical School study has shown that women who have
close female friendships are less likely to develop impairments — physical impairments as they age, and they are likely to be seen
to be living much more vital, exciting — JF: And longer — LT: Joyful lives. JF: We live five years longer than men. LT: I think I’d trade the years for joy. (Laughter) LT: But the most important
part is they found — the results were so exciting
and so conclusive — the researchers found that not having close female friends
is detrimental to your health, as much as smoking or being overweight. JF: And there’s something else, too — LT: I’ve said my part, so … (Laughter) JF: OK, well, listen to my part,
because there’s an additional thing. Because they only —
for years, decades — they only researched men when they
were trying to understand stress, only very recently have they researched
what happens to women when we’re stressed, and it turns out
that when we’re stressed — women, our bodies get flooded by oxytocin. Which is a feel-good, calming,
stress-reducing hormone. Which is also increased
when we’re with our women friends. And I do think that’s one reason
why we live longer. And I feel so bad for men
because they don’t have that. Testosterone in men
diminishes the effects of oxytocin. LT: Well, when you and I
and Dolly made “9 to 5” … JF: Oh — LT: We laughed, we did,
we laughed so much, we found we had so much in common
and we’re so different. Here she is, like Hollywood royalty, I’m like a tough kid from Detroit, [Dolly’s] a Southern kid
from a poor town in Tennessee, and we found we were so in sync as women, and we must have — we laughed — we must have added
at least a decade onto our lifespans. JF: I think — we sure
crossed our legs a lot. (Laughter) If you know what I mean. LT: I think we all know what you mean. (Laughter) PM: You’re adding decades
to our lives right now. So among the books that Jane
sent us both to read on female friendship was one by a woman we admire greatly,
Sister Joan Chittister, who said about female friendship that women friends
are not just a social act, they’re a spiritual act. Do you think of your friends as spiritual? Do they add something
spiritual to your lives? LT: Spiritual — I absolutely think that. Because — especially people
you’ve known a long time, people you’ve spent time with — I can see the spiritual
essence inside them, the tenderness, the vulnerability. There’s actually kind of a love,
an element of love in the relationship. I just see deeply into your soul. PM: Do you think that, Jane — LT: But I have special powers. JF: Well, there’s all kinds of friends. There’s business friends,
and party friends, I’ve got a lot of those. (Laughter) But the oxytocin-producing
friendships have … They feel spiritual
because it’s a heart opening, right? You know, we go deep. And — I find that I shed tears a lot
with my intimate friends. Not because I’m sad but because
I’m so touched and inspired by them. LT: And you know one of you
is going to go soon. (Laughter) PM: Well, two of us are sitting here,
Lily, which one are you talking about? (Laughter) And I always think, when women
talk about their friendships, that men always look a little mystified. What are the differences, in your opinion, between men friendships
and women friendships? JF: There’s a lot of difference, and I think we have to have
a lot of empathy for men — (Laughter) that they don’t have what we have. Which I think may be why they die sooner. (Laughter) I have a lot of compassion for men, because women, no kidding, we — women’s relationships, our friendships
are full disclosure, we go deep. They’re revelatory. We risk vulnerability —
this is something men don’t do. I mean how many times
have I asked you, “Am I doing OK?” “Did I really screw up there?” PM: You’re doing great. (Laughter) JF: But I mean, we ask questions like that of our women friends, and men don’t. You know, people describe women’s
relationships as face-to-face, whereas men’s friendships
are more side-by-side. LT: I mean most of the time
men don’t want to reveal their emotions, they want to bury deeper feelings. I mean, that’s the general,
conventional thought. They would rather go off in their man cave
and watch a game or hit golf balls, or talk about sports,
or hunting, or cars or have sex. I mean, it’s just the kind of —
it’s a more manly behavior. JF: You meant —
LT: They talk about sex. I meant they might have sex if they could get somebody
in their man cave to — (Laughter) JF: You know something, though,
that I find very interesting — and again, psychologists didn’t know this
until relatively recently — is that men are born every bit
as relational as women are. If you look at films
of newborn baby boys and girls, you’ll see the baby boys
just like the girls, gazing into their mother’s eyes, you know, needing that relational
exchange of energy. When the mother looks away,
they could see the dismay on the child, even the boy would cry. They need relationship. So the question is why,
as they grow older, does that change? And the answer is patriarchal culture, which says to boys and young men that to be needing of relationship,
to be emotional with someone is girly. That a real man doesn’t ask
directions or express a need, they don’t go to doctors if they feel bad. They don’t ask for help. There’s a quote that I really like, “Men fear that becoming ‘we’
will erase his ‘I’.” You know, his sense of self. Whereas women’s sense of self
has always been kind of porous. But our “we” is our saving grace, it’s what makes us strong. It’s not that we’re better than men, we just don’t have
our masculinity to prove. LT: And, well — JF: That’s a Gloria Steinem quote. So we can express our humanity —
LT: I know who Gloria Steinem is. JF: I know you know who she is,
but I think it’s a — (Laughter) No, but it’s a great quote, I think. We’re not better than men, we just
don’t have our masculinity to prove. And that’s really important. LT: But men are
so inculcated in the culture to be comfortable in the patriarchy. And we’ve got to make
something different happen. JF: Women’s friendships
are like a renewable source of power. LT: Well, that’s what’s exciting
about this subject. It’s because our friendships — female friendships
are just a hop to our sisterhood, and sisterhood can be
a very powerful force, to give the world — to make it what it should be — the things that humans desperately need. PM: It is why we’re talking about it, because women’s friendships are, as you said, Jane, a renewable source of power. So how do we use that power? JF: Well, women are the fastest growing
demographic in the world, especially older women. And if we harness our power,
we can change the world. And guess what? We need to. (Applause) And we need to do it soon. And one of the things
that we need to do — and we can do it as women — for one thing, we kind of set
the consumer standards. We need to consume less. We in the Western world
need to consume less and when we buy things, we need to
buy things that are made locally, when we buy food, we need to buy food
that’s grown locally. We are the ones
that need to get off the grid. We need to make ourselves
independent from fossil fuels. And the fossil fuel companies — the Exxons and the Shell Oils
and those bad guys — cause they are — are going to tell us that we can’t do it
without going back to the Stone Age. You know, that the alternatives
just aren’t quite there yet, and that’s not true. There are countries in the world right now that are living mostly on renewable
energy and doing just fine. And they tell us that if we do
wean ourselves from fossil fuel that we’re going to be
back in the Stone Age, and in fact, if we begin
to use renewable energy, and not drill in the Arctic,
and not drill — LT: Oh, boy. JF: And not drill
in the Alberta tar sands — Right. That we will be — there will be more democracy
and more jobs and more well-being, and it’s women that are
going to lead the way. LT: Maybe we have the momentum
to start a third-wave feminist movement with our sisterhood around the world, with women we don’t see,
women we may never meet, but we join together that way, because — Aristotle said — most people — people would die without male friendships. And the operative word here was “male.” Because they thought that friendships
should be between equals and women were not considered equal — JF: They didn’t think
we had souls even, the Greeks. LT: No, exactly. That shows you
just how limited Aristotle was. (Laughter) And wait, no, here’s the best part. It’s like, you know,
men do need women now. The planet needs women. The US Constitution needs women. We are not even in the Constitution. JF: You’re talking about
the Equal Rights Amendment. LT: Right. Justice Ginsberg said something like — every constitution that’s been written
since the end of World War II included a provision that made women
citizens of equal stature, but ours does not. So that would be a good place to start. Very, very mild — JF: Right. (Applause) And gender equality, it’s like a tide, it would lift all boats, not just women. PM: Needing new role models
on how to do that. How to be friends, how to think about our power
in different ways, as consumers, as citizens of the world, and this is what makes Jane and Lily a role model of how
women can be friends — for a very long time, and even if they occasionally disagree. Thank you. Thank you both. (Applause) JF: Thanks. LT: Thank you. JF: Thank you. (Applause)

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  1. I wouldn't be quoting that rotten old hag Ruth Ginsburg Lily!!! That witch wanted the sexual consent age set at 12 years old. She's a sick witch!!!

  2. I began searching about them after i’ve watched GRACE AND FRANKIE. They have changed my melancholic view of life being old. I suddenly realized that am still young at 53 and can be vivacious! I want more tv series of them😍

  3. Look, I don't love the politics of either of these women. But their friendship is beautiful and they are strong in their convictions. And what woman no matter what her political persuasion can argue with that? A really great TED talk, thanks for posting this.

  4. Ah l gave up on girlfriends long ago. Well done if you find a group that don't stir up drama and get jealous of each other at the drop of a hat. My childhood friend moved to Canada for her husband. We keep in touch, but I'm good. I can live without the bitchiness. My best friend is my husband. He isn't complicated, we laugh everyday, there's no alterior motive or back stabbing. You'll never see men friends do that to each other. So you're blessed if you have a gang that are good to each other without any hating.

  5. I love them both – I too have a close friendship of 28 years so I completely get this. Thankyou both for all you've given us.

  6. I’m disappointed Tomlin considers Hanoi Jane a friend. For the young women out there who don’t understand my comment, I suggest you do some reading. Fonda is a disgrace.

  7. Women are not equal in America. Women are exalted. To me, my mother was the most important person to have ever graced the face of the earth.

  8. They have a huge point and iv been thinking the exact same thing my whole life! We all have to work as a team and fight for whats right!!! And the most important thing is DOING IT!!!!!

  9. As a middle age man, I really can't argue with what they are conveying. Some might call BS, but I believe Jane when she said she has empathy for men in general. The truth hurts sometimes, but it is what it is.

  10. "We crossed our legs a lot." So true! The insurance company sent a doctor out, managed care is so wonderful; so this guy, in his mid 40's said to me, "do you leak urine?" I looked at him and said, "do you know how old that little thing is, it's getting tired! He looked shocked. Just wait, it'll happen to him too.

  11. Love these women. The problem with renewable energy is that it doesn't always take into consideration -30c polar vortex weather where batteries can't hold a charge as efficiently. We need to diversify and be less dependent on fuel that has a finite amount and wars are built on it. I agree, but it's not about Alberta Tarsands. Your average volcano pretty much cashes in on global warming and creates both a warming of the oceans while spewing ash in the sky and covering the sun's rays which cools the earth. Nuclear testing is far more damaging to the environment. Aging leaking nuclear power plants is far more damaging and such a huge issue ignoring the fact that it's leaching into the water. Here's a fun fact I learned: Before they supposedly sent a man to the moon, they were doing nuclear testing in space shooting it up from the Pacific islands. So a little tar in some sand isn't the problem. It's just a short term solution while we develop better solutions. Yes, I live in Alberta.

  12. Love their show Grace & Frankie! So funny and so many wonderful life lessons. It's so nice to see females over the age of 40 have their own show and defy social norms. Inspiring influences!

  13. The Greeks were the first to have equal rights and freedoms for both genders in their society. In Sparta men and women were treated equally… I like you Jane, and Lily but have you done the research on 'shame' and 'vulnerability'? It turns out women have created the patriarchy. True. They rather see their 'man' die on their white horse, than fall off it. It is easy to shift blame. It takes a better person to see nothing happens in a vacuum. Protection, survival, the care/protection for women because their give life/birth, and the Greeks fighting for freedom allow you to sit on stage today, and have this conversation. Some gratitude, acknowledgement. Nothing is all bad or all good. I want to remove fossil fuels too. Yet did you drive to the studio? Do you live in a building constructed by machinery using fossil fuels? Do you take plane, train or automobile? Do you have a hot shower? Do you take electricity for granted? I know we need better. Yet what invention have you made to help society, and help people by the millions? I see a lot of of these sisterhood movements trying to put people down, not appreciate we can do better, and have some gratitude. If you think all men are bad then move to another planet.

  14. Along the lines of what Jane is talking about with renewable energy and getting out of our fossil fuel addiction this podcast is amazing … Mothers of Invention. Tagline: 'Climate change is a man-made problem — with a feminist solution!' https://www.mothersofinvention.online/

  15. Consider these points , 'The biological basis for female longevity is clear: The female of every species outlives the male with very few exceptions. Having two “X” chromosomes provides women with a backup when a genetic mutation occurs on one of the genes, while men only have a single “X” chromosome to express all their genes, whether damaged or not. Perhaps this genetic reserve allows a greater repertoire of effective neural, endocrine, and immune responses to potentially deleterious environmental demands.

    Female hormones, particularly estrogen, and the resiliency of the female body to accommodate pregnancy and breast-feeding are also thought to promote longevity. Estrogens have beneficial effects on lipids in the blood and seem to protect a woman from premature heart disease.'
    this is just part of a long discussion

  16. love the show, I don't agree with everything they say, but this was an informative talk. certain go me thinking.

  17. Woman equality!!! I’m a guy but was raised by my mom. Although she was married we lived at her house on the reservation. My older siblings were with my dad. I love my dad! But running away was an option. Especially when he made fun of my gayness. I have a great mom and dad. I just preferred living with mom because I didn’t want to live in the city

  18. Have always loved Jane Fonda. She's strong, a trailblazer, an inspiration, and so very talented! She's always been so forthcoming & owned her revelations in life.

  19. Omg the interviewer is fucking awful. Ruined and interrupted the awesome vibes of Jane and Lily, or just made BAD comments. So unfortunate

  20. These two are wonderful in "Grace and Frankie!" The older I get, the more I relate to the experiences of the two characters. I've watched every episode twice because it makes me smile and laugh. I am excited for season 6.

  21. For men the Patriarchy, it is because "they" want them to fight in their stupid wars. Meaning do not show you care..

  22. I LOVE what Lily and Jane have to say, because they are absolutely telling the truth. We must change to renewable resources. We must continue to emphasize the equality of all humans and move forward in love and in peace. We must figure out a way to stop the damn f'g wars, for God's sake! These 2 women are a light in our world and are so lovely in their positions to be able to spread these ways of thinking to the world. Thank you! And, please continue to do Grace and Frankie as long as it is fun for you. It is a wonderful, sensitive and funny show.

  23. Those ladies are very talented, funny and beautiful. I love Grace and Frankie….can't wait for another episodes😊

  24. They hit the mark about the ability to be vulnerable with girlfriends where men dont seem to be able to do this and the need to buy less and learn the joy of creating what we eat and or make Love the pair of them

  25. Smarties. Brilliant. 11:20 What a nut–so funny. I remember Laugh-In. It was mandatory viewing back in the day.

  26. People talk about Patriarch , but they Always forget the mother who raises this men. In Brasil stress makes us gain 20 pounds.

  27. …funny and lots of truths…women are creators like our real earth…COME TOGETHER and save us from CORPORATE TESTOSTERONE 'cause it's time to clean up our filthy room…

  28. Jane Fonda on 8/ 8 / 2019 crashes a private dinner at EL Coyote Cafe on the night of Sharon Tate's last supper a very grim anniversary. I'm shocked that Jane Fonda still for many years zeroed in and made her unwanted presence the focus instead of the Anniversary of Sharon Tate last meal and her murder to follow.

  29. I concur with what Jane and Lily have to say. The same friendship can exist between gay men and heterosexual women.

  30. Oh, and as one of Phyllis Diller's Cousins, I applaud all women comedians and esp these two, who I feel I grew up admiring like older sisters (cuz my own were much older too, and never around ;0 )

  31. I didn't mean you two were much older (they aren't reading this … You don't know everything!) hahaha wine oclock, can you tell~? hahah night gracie]

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