Dustin Hoffman breaks down in Tootsie interview about women, beauty and double standards

Kim Easton Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle

Dustin Hoffman's emotional Tootsie interview about society's demands on women's appearance and expectations of beauty has resurfaced, promptly going viral.

The clip from a 2012 interview sees the Hollywood actor choking back tears as he discusses how his role as Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels in the 1982 movie made him realise the double standards women are faced with.


Hoffman explains how being made up to look like a woman made him realise he was not beautiful - and also how much he thought he should be - because all women should be beautiful, right?

In the film, Hoffman plays an out-of-work actor who disguises himself as a convincing women to land a part in a soap opera. And it was seeing himself as a women, and not a beautiful one, that showed him his own expectations of what women should be.

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In the clip he says he was 'brainwashed' into expecting women to conform to a stereotypical Hollywood-approved idea of beauty. And up to that point he had spend his life not bothering with women he did not consider beautiful.

The interview by the American Film Institute has been making the rounds on social media, with celebrities including Stephen Fry retweeting the link

It's hardly surprising the video has been so popular. It shows a glimpse of real emotion and self discovery that's rare from media-trained actors. It's also moving as we see Hoffman realising something about himself - that he's been superficial all his life and wouldn't like to be judged by his own standards.

What he vocalises is something many women have been rallying against for decades, which is why hearing it said out loud by an unexpected source strikes a chord. And like so many things, it takes a man to speak out before anyone bothers paying any attention.

As we saw with the comments around Marion Bartoli, this year's Wimbledon champion, there is woefully little progress on changing the norms around the way women are discussed and presented both in the media and consequently by all of us in our day to day lives.

Hoffman may have learned more about himself than about the experience of being a woman, but perhaps a male Hollywood star getting choked up is just what we need to begin to change attitudes and expectations.