The clip above has made, and is making, the rounds on the internet this morning. It deserves to be shared. Hoffmans insight on women as a man is no doubt profound. First of all, I am glad for the attention he has given to the subject. The rest of it is just sad for me. As a woman, why does it take a man to say this for us to understand how profound it is? In essence he is saying we as a society care more about the so called ‘good looking women’ than the ‘not so good looking women.’ I think this conversation has been going on for a long time now.
More than that, what hits me is how obvious and, in some ways, mundane this statement is to anyone who has questioned their gender seriously or has transitioned to the opposite gender. When Hoffman mentions that he only played the roll because he was believable and if he wasn’t able to do that he didn’t want the audience to have to suspend their belief to enjoy the movie, that is a line that I think gets lost.
I, and most every transgender person, has had to go through periods of transition where we knew we weren’t completely taken as the gender we wanted to be. We all had periods of knowing we were so far from believable and pretty that just getting to a state where we could slip by unnoticed in the night was welcome. Now, I’m lucky. I was able to have all the surgeries I wanted. My body transitioned well. Most of all, my physique is believable as female unlike many who are taller or larger or have faces that are ultra masculine and don’t have money to have proper surgery.
There are plenty of people in this world who never transition because they can’t be remotely believable. Unlike Hoffman, they have gender dysphoria and have to live their lives as a compromise and can never be themselves. There are also plenty of people, generous and kind and beautiful, who transition but never really fit totally as their chosen gender because they can’t obtain appropriate surgery or because they will never meet societies ideal of pretty. This bothers me. It bothers me that we as a society have such a hard time meeting people where they are.
The lines of gender are as mailable as a ball of silly putty. The lines of what is considered pretty are much more set in place. We all talk about accepting people, but it rarely happens in society. Do we have to find some man who is starting to get a basic understanding of the gender differences to help us in this area? Why can’t we as women effect the same type of change and conversation as Hoffman?
There is no doubt I am happy for the morning of conversation that Hoffman has incited among us. More than what he has sparked for a conversation, I am saddened by what that conversation is and the important pieces it leaves out.