By ROSIE WATERLAND
I cried while watching a 3 minute YouTube clip today. A heaving snot kind of cry.
The video was an interview from the AFI archives with Dustin Hoffman, in which he discusses the 1982 film Tootsie, where he played a struggling actor who dresses as a woman to try and get more auditions.
The clip ends with him saying: “That was never a comedy for me.”
That’s where I lost my shit.
Why? Because Hoffman had just described the moment that he realised how heartbreakingly unfair it is that women are valued for their looks above all else.
When he was in full Tootsie female make-up for the first time, Hoffman looked in the mirror and realised that he didn’t think he was an attractive woman. That if he met this woman at a party, he would never engage in conversation with her. That’s in spite of the fact he knew this woman was intelligent, interesting, funny and charming (it is him, after all). None of that mattered, because she just wasn’t pretty enough.
And when Hoffman realised the injustice of not only how he’d been valuing women, but how almost everybody values women, he could do nothing but cry.
He said he realised: “There’s too many interesting women I have… I have… (holding back tears) I have not had the experience to know in this life because I’ve been brainwashed.”
I think I was crying at this point in the interview because I am one of those women. Despite being interesting, funny, smart, successful, talented and engaging, I am completely overlooked by men because most of them value looks above all else, and my looks don’t meet the expected standard.