In an interview with AFI, Dustin Hoffman talks about his experience becoming his character Dorothy Michaels in Tootsie. In it he reveals something startlingly personal and, for him, a revelation about men, women, and the cultural expectations we have regarding beauty.
While it is easy to say his empathy shouldn’t only extend to people or situations that he has personally experienced, I think it is important for us to appreciate when anyone can come to an understanding (or in this case, a revelation) about a situation that they previously hadn’t critically considered. Particularly something like the expectations we put on women, which is crucial for more people to understand and think about, and talk about openly, so we can change the status quo. I’m pleased with Hoffman’s honesty and applaud him for coming to the conclusion about his own thought process during the creation of this character.