Dustin Hoffman may have been nominated for an Oscar for his role as a cross-dressing romantic in 1982’s “Tootsie,” but the 75-year-old actor says “that movie was never a comedy for me” after it opened his eyes to how women are treated based on their looks.
The Mary Sue recently unearthed an American Film Institute archival interview with Hoffman from 2012 in which the actor says, through tears, he realised how men often unknowingly reinforce the incredinly high standards of female beauty.
“If you were born a woman, how would you be different?” Hoffman tells AFI he asked himself when preparing for “Tootsie,” adding that he only agreed to take on the role if he could actually pass as a woman.
But after all of the hair and makeup, Hoffman says “I was shocked that I wasn’t more attractive.”
“I said, ‘now that you have me looking like a woman, make me a beautiful woman,'” Hoffman recalls. “If I was going to be a woman, I’d want to be as beautiful as possible. And they told me, ‘that’s as good as it gets, that’s as beautiful as we can get you.'”
And that’s when it hit him:
It was at that moment I had an epiphany, and I went home and started crying. Talking to my wife, I said I have to make this picture, and she said, “Why?” And I said, “Because 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 fulfil physically the demands that we’re brought up to think women have to have in order to ask them out.” She says, “What are you saying?” And I said, “There’s too many interesting women I have…not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.”
Watch Hoffman breakdown and explain further below:
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