The “Tootsie” discussion

clip of Dustin Huffman’s emotionally charged recounting of a decades-ago epiphany that cross-dressing for his role in ‘Tootsie’ forced him to recognize how men are brainwashed to value women based on their beauty above all else recently inspired rampant, viral support.images

In FBomb Julie Z writes, “Some intrepid voices, however, were thoroughly unimpressed. Mansi Kathuria of wrote, “Yesterday, I was cat-called on the streets of Chicago three times within a couple of hours, and Hillary Clinton’s new haircut made several news articles. Meanwhile, millions of people continued to share and watch a video of Dustin Hoffman realizing that society has taught him to value women only for their physical appearance.” Tyler Coates of Flavorwire mused, “isn’t there something a little uncomfortable in the notion that it takes being transformed into an unattractive woman to force a man to think, ‘Hey, I want to be taken seriously no matter how I look, too!’”

“These are valid reactions to a video of a very privileged, famous, white man’s discovery of an issue against which plenty of women have spent decades ardently fighting. These are reactions with which I even agree. But, these criticisms, as well as the responses embracing Hoffman as a veritable feminist activist on the basis of a few sentences, miss the bigger picture. This clip provides a model – imperfect though it admittedly is — for how to include men in a discussion about an issue that, though it affects them and requires their involvement to be solved, is currently dominated by women. Furthermore, the fact that this clip went viral indicates that we may actually be ready to embrace such discussions fully. Continue reading “The “Tootsie” discussion”