Dustin Hoffman Gets Weepy Talking About How Playing Tootsie Taught Him About Sexism

by Tess Duncan

The classic ’80s comedy Tootsie is a riot and if you haven’t already seen it, you kind of need to, like yesterday. (If you never saw it, I’ll break it down for you: Dustin Hoffman is a really great New York actor, but he can’t get hired because he’s difficult to work with, so he cross-dresses and adopts a new, sassy persona so he can get hired again. Tah-dah, a woman saves the day once again!) In this interview from the American Film Institute’s archives, Hoffman discusses why he felt he really had to play the role of dynamic feminist Dorothy Michaels. He talks about how seeing himself as an less-than-hot lady made him realize how brainwashed he had been all his life by society’s standards for women. Toward the end, Hoffman gets teary-eyed and struggles to get his words out. Hollywood needs more men like you, Hoff!

Also, remember these great scenes from Tootsie about gender and equality?

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