Choosing Beauty Over Sex, or Anything Else–Lessons From Tootsie
A lot of guys think women want to be beautiful so they can get sex. I’m sure many do. But some guys are surprised that — or don’t believe that — it’s often the reverse: many women have sex hoping to feel beautiful.
But then, men’s value often rests on how much sex they have, while women’s value often rests on their looks.
And as I’ve said before:
From the time they’re small, little girls are told they’re pretty – or notice when they’re not told that. They receive gifts of play makeup and vanity sets. They watch endless repeats of Disney princesses on DVD, buy beautiful princess dolls, and then graduate to Barbie or Bratz. All of whom have extensive wardrobes. It’s all about being pretty.
Meanwhile, girls and women are bombarded with media images of impossibly beautiful women who are photoshopped up the wazoo, modeling what they’re supposed to look like.
Who’s popular in middle school and high school? Pretty girls. By the time they’re in college young women are under relentless pressure to be hot, as if that’s the most important thing in the world.
When Dustin Hoffman took the role of Tootsie he got a shocking first-hand glimpse of all this.
In the film, Hoffman plays a difficult-to-work-with actor who no one will hire. So he poses as an actress to get a role. In an interview that’s gained a lot of attention, Hoffman says the experience helped him to see how men can unknowingly reinforce impossible beauty ideals.
His make-up artist had made him look like woman, he recalls, but:
I was shocked that I wasn’t more attractive… I said “Now you have me looking like a woman. Now make me beautiful.” I thought I should be beautiful. If I was going to be a woman, I would want to be as beautiful as possible. But they said, “This is as good as it gets.”
At that moment he had an epiphany that made him think twice about how he treated women. He told his wife,
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… There’s too many interesting women I have…not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.
Women are taught from the time they are small that their value lies in their beauty — unfortunate since our shell is shallow and looks are fleeting.
But is it any surprise that beauty so often seems more important than sex – or anything else?
Posted on July 10, 2013, in body image, feminism, men, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged beauty, body image, Dustin Hoffman, feminism, men, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, Tootsie, women. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.