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Tootsie Was Never a Comedy For Me

Tootsie Was Never a Comedy For Me

Much to do is being made about the recent video by Dustin Hoffman talking about his comedy, Tootsie, some years ago. Tears came to his eyes when he reminisces over the interesting women he didn’t talk to because their beauty standards weren’t quite up to snuff. Well, this is certainly something that women know and experience and perhaps explains why the beauty industry is so persuasive despite much criticism, what some call  the brutality of beauty. Are we brainwashed to think you only have something to offer if you are beautiful. Hell, maybe all the blond jokes emanate from this idea. Here’s the video

Hoffman also talks about his preparation for the film and how he spent a lot of time in makeup to prove that he could walk the streets and be seen as a woman and not a man in a dress. Then he asks if he can be beautiful too and is told “that’s the best that it gets

Alexandra Petri in her Washington Post article talks to the idea idea that women have to be beautiful in order for men to find out that they are interesting is ridiculous. But that’s what’s being sold in movies, in all those ads with moisturizer, in all those montage sequences. You were interesting all along, but until you do something to your nose, no one will notice.

What really got my interest was some of the responses to the article like this one:

That’s quite powerful.

But I’m not sure I understand what her point is, other than that Hoffman is right: women are judged unfairly on their looks first before anyone even wonders if they’re interesting. She doesn’t seem to disagree with Hoffman – just clarifying how we dismiss women until or unless they are attractive – which is sadly the truth. There are times I wonder if women know that women are people. Most days I don’t even hope men know as much, to be honest.

He gives me hope that maybe, maybe occasionally, there are men who can see women’s humanity.

All this is bringing me to a point. Many of us strive to be beautiful women but fall short: wrong figure, wrong features, wrong mannerisms. Of course I subscribe to the idea that beauty is within, but we can help ourselves on the external side as well and that’s where this blog is intended to go….as a resource and sounding board. You may not be beautiful, but you certainly can be feminine. Both here and in Sister House, we want to help you express that inner beauty on the outside so that regardless of your particular situation, you will be seen as a classy lady and one that is not ignored.









Pat Scales says:

Excellent points. I suppose that most of us reading this blog would like to be more passable, beautiful, thinner, younger, etc. Many of us harbor dreams of being feminine and going out and about with peace and ease.
At the same time there is no point in living in fool’s paradise. My thinking is that the key is getting out and about and that while the idea of all of us passing all of the time is as remote as the original Abe Lincoln quote it is possible for many of us to blend into our surroundings and be accepted as a nicely dressed nice ‘person’.

TB admin says:

Great comment, Pat. That’s what this blog is all about (and Sister house too). Learning to look and act like the woman inside of us and feel good about who we are. The battle is not yet won, but more and more people are accepting us if we look and act like real women, excluding the outrageous movie stars of course

Barbara says:

I will likely not be politically correct on this one, but, hey, I’m a scientist. Attractiveness on the most fundamental level is about keeping the species going. Humans (thank goodness) are extraordinarily complex social creatures that thrive in part because being attractive isn’t the only thing that counts. As it turns out, grandparents (usually well past childbearing years) are one of the reasons we are so successful. Nonetheless, mating isn’t so much about being interesting as it is about being attractive. That goes for both genders.

My point is that attractiveness has its purpose just as being smart or interesting have their purposes also. They are not mutually exclusive, but they aren’t dependent either.

Just a thought.


TB admin says:

Wasn’t sure how to respond to your comment, Barbara. Certainly attractiveness brings people together eventhough it may not keep them together. I wonder how the ugly people feel or the plain people. Do they care? Do they give up? Do they dress sexily to compensate for lack of attractive features? What part does personalty play? Interesting questions…….Tasi

Marilee says:

I had not seen the interview with Hoffman and I thank you for posting it. I am sure that most of us became aware of him when he burst on the scene as Ben Braddock in the iconic movie “The Graduate”. He is a multi talented actor that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the years and I agree with him in that “Tootsie” was never a comedy and was not for me either, but for different reasons (He can walk away and I can’t). What Hoffman does capture without question is that feminine smile which to me is as endearing as beauty. It is hard to believe that the man is pushing 80.

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