Dustin Hoffman is one of the pioneers of New Hollywood movies, which saw characters get more complex arcs rather than just black-and-white arcs. Hoffman’s characters were mostly revolutionary as they captured human emotions in their rawest form. The 86-year-old actor has received two Best Actor Oscars, one for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and another for Rain Man (1988).
The Graduate actor has earned multiple Oscar nominations throughout his career, one of which was for his role in the 1982 film, Tootsie. In the film, Hoffman played Michael Dorsey, a struggling actor who adopted a new identity as a woman, Dorothy Michaels, to land a job in a soap opera.
Dustin Hoffman Used To Believe In Unrealistic Women’s Beauty Standards
An old video of Dustin Hoffman resurfaced on TikTok where he discussed his role in Tootsie with the American Film Institute (AFI). The video quickly went viral as Hoffman shared some valid points that remain very relevant even today. The Meyerowitz Stories actor shared that playing a woman in the film changed his perspective on women’s beauty standards.
The Meet the Fockers actor explained that he initially approached the studio and told them that he wanted to make heads turn as he walked the streets of New York in his character. However, once they were done with the make-up, Hoffman was shocked to see that he didn’t look as attractive as he had expected. When the Lenny actor told the studio that he wanted them to make him more beautiful, they replied that this was as good as the make-up gets.
This was an ‘epiphany’ moment for Hoffman who had previously believed in unrealistic beauty standards. The Marathon Man actor shared that he was moved to tears and later engaged in a heart-to-heart conversation with his wife, Lisa Gottsegen. Hoffman shared with AFI (via ABC News):
“It was at that moment I had an epiphany, and I went home and started crying, talking to my wife. 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 fulfill physically the demands that we’re brought up to think women have to have in order for us to ask them out.’”
Although this ‘epiphany’ came a little late in the Papillon actor’s life, who was 45 at the time of the interview, a positive change in his perspective was definitely welcoming.
Dustin Hoffman Regretted Missing Out On The Interesting Women
Dustin Hoffman then went on to talk with his wife about the interesting people he could have met if he had looked beyond just physical beauty. Not only Dustin Hoffman but many men had been brainwashed into believing the beauty standards primarily set by the film industry. Hoffman also admitted that he badly wanted to play the Tootsie role after this epiphany. Hoffman told AFI while tearing up once again (via ABC News):
“I said [to my wife]: ‘There’s so many interesting women in this life that I have not had the experience to know because I have been brainwashed.’”
TikTok users were both appreciative and critical of the Midnight Cowboy actor’s late realization. While some were supportive of Hoffman opening up about such an important issue, others criticized him for being ignorant the whole time. One interesting comment underscored the plight of women who had often been appreciated solely for their beauty rather than their interesting personalities.
Tootsie was a critical and commercial success grossing more than $241 million at the box office. Tootsie received ten Oscar nominations but unfortunately could win only one, for Jessica Lange for Best Supporting Actress. Tootsie is now available for streaming on Paramount+.