In 2012 Dustin Hoffman was being interviewed by the American Film Institute to promote his movie “Tootsie”, where he plays the role of a woman. While in the makeup chair, he looked in his reflection and felt that indeed he could pass as a woman but was bothered that he didn’t look more attractive. He asked his makeup artist to make him so, but was told that there wasn’t much else they could do.
Hoffman says that in that moment he had an epiphany that led him to reconsider the way he treated women based on their beauty:
“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 fulfill 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 are too many interesting women I have…not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.”
Watching this interview, I can’t help but reflect on my past and wonder about how many incredible people I let pass by because I judged them on their appearance. What is it in our society that ingrains us to judge people from the outside, without any curiosity of what they can offer from the inside? Although Hoffman’s experience changed his life forever, it only touches the surface of the issue. Maybe now that his epiphany has been made public, the rest of Hollywood can follow suit.