A video of unlikely feminist icon Dustin Hoffman has gone viral recently. In an interview with The American Film Institute, Hoffman gets a bit teary while talking about his experience making the film Tootsie. Being a stickler for detail, he insisted on makeup tests as a condition of taking the part. He felt that if he couldn’t convincingly pass as a woman, the film wouldn’t work.
The makeup team did a really good job transforming him into Dorothy Michaels, but on seeing that he wasn’t conventionally attractive, Hoffman asked if they could make him prettier. The team told him ‘that’s as good as it gets’, and Dustin got totes emosh and had a bit of an ‘aha moment’:
I think I am an interesting woman when I look at myself on screen. And I know that if I met myself at a party, I would never talk to that character because she doesn't fulfill physically the demands that we're brought up to think women have to have in order to ask them out… There's too many interesting women I have ... not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.
Isn’t that really the crux of the gender imbalance? Women are held up to arbitrary and ridiculous physical standards every single day, while men simply aren’t. It’s so deeply embedded in our culture that sometimes even perfectly nice gentlemen, like Dustin Hoffman, barely notice it
The video has racked up over 4 million views, (roughly a third of that action has just been me watching and rewatching as Dustin wells up). There’s something about him getting SO emotional about the issue that warms the feminist cockles of my heart.
Have you watched the video? And what do you think of Dustin’s realization?