The realization of a brainwash

dustin hoffman tootsie epiphany

Have you ever actually asked yourself why you have low self-esteem?

1. Was it because everyone teased you in school and you felt ugly since then?
2. Was it something more like, internal, something was wrong with how you saw yourself?
3. Was it your parents and family who told you that you weren’t pretty? (Oh! Dear, I hope not)

I have to say I think I fit into Number 1. I have a huge nose, and I’m quite skinny and it stands out a lot. You could say that it was actually what all my classmates saw: they just laughed at me and made funny jokes about my not so stylized facial trait.

What if LOTS of people that walked by you, people you played softball or basketball with, people you met at a painting class, men with long hair, women with big feet and funny ears; a lanky guy with sideburns, a girl with bags under her eyes…

What if they never gave themselves a chance to talk to you just because you didn’t fit the standard? -and vice versa, I might add.

Here’s a moving, powerful, honest testimony by Dustin Hoffman about this:

Firstly, I’m letting my fangirl side come out just to say I L-O-V-E Dustin and his performance on Tootsie. The wonderful thing about discovering this statement by him just makes everything (the movie, and his talents) even more valuable, because it was *so* much more than dressing up as a woman to get a job…so much more.

Dustin Hoffman Tootsie

Tootsie (1982)

 “It was at that moment that I had an epiphany, and I went home and started crying [Dustin breaks up]…talking to my wife, and I said: ‘I have to make this picture’. And she said: ‘Why?’

“I said: ‘Because I think I’m an interesting woman'”

Remember that Ratatouille scene where Anton Ego goes back in time after tasting the dish? Well, that’s how I felt after listening to Dustin say that. I wanted to shout to ALL those boys out there: I am an interesting woman

“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 that women have to have in order for us 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.”

Us, Ugly Ducklings, have been brainwashed too, and we may have missed out on great friendships, and amazing people. But what is truly remarkable about this three-minute video is that now we have someone else’s point of view. The point of view of someone who was a man and who really wanted to be a woman, and then realized that he was never going to look more beautiful than what the makeup artists from the movie could do…

He realized he had missed out on kind, wonderful, unique human beings. 

It gives me hope, that perhaps more people will get to go through that and be brave enough to share their experiences. Either that or that this video keeps spreading.  

Yes, my hope is also that we all get to learn from this, and start looking at life, and others in a completely different way…

– Marie,

The Tail Shaker.
The Ugly Ducklings Inc's swan

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2 thoughts on “The realization of a brainwash

  1. I have to say first of all that I’m probably not the typical Ugly Duckling as most of us here are. I mean that in a way that I’ve always been lucky enough to have a great bunch of loving friends and family around me, supporting me with everything I do. I did however have two school years which I consider to be highly negative experiences. The first year of secondary school, when I was 12, I was placed in a class on the wrong level of education. Childeren in that class didn’t want to hang out with me because I always got these good marks, and actually studied at home, while they didn’t. A ”nerd” is what they call you then. The year after, I changed classes, but came into a very tied group of children who didn’t accept any newbies. These two years have lowered my self esteem quite a lot. However, I also feel that these two years have taught me to get stronger, and nowadays I do not longer mind what people think of me. It’s just the way I am. If you don’t like it, well that’s totally your problem. I don’t care. When I would walk with my head down when I was 12, I now walk with my head up high, facing the world and enjoying my amazing life. We are all beautiful, whatever people try to make you believe. It can be hard sometimes, as Jennifer Morrison also explained in an interview she did at Comic Con. She said that the film industry is a tough business, where you get rejected all the time. One person says you’re too pretty for something, while another person says you’re not pretty enough. One person says you’re to tall for something, while someone else says you’re too short for something. That kind of things. It is hard, but we probably just need to take a deep breath whenever we hear something like this, and just let it slide. Every individual is worth to be seen and worth to be listened to.

    • Every word that you mention here is totally true Maaike. The problem sometimes is that children, and especially girls are not brought up with strong values instilled in them, and they are very insecure, and schools don’t help them build that confidence and feel good about themselves. But the good thing is that, those that are able to withstand it and get over it will become strong, courageous women and men and they will be better people when they grow up. Mwah to you!

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