The big reveal in TOOTSIE (dir. Sydney Pollack, 1982)

In one ‘climactic scene’ in Tootsie, Dustin Hoffman expresses love for Jessica Lange, while acknowledging the issues undermining women’s leadership, while transferring genders, and confounding various men and women on the set of a live televised soap opera. Classic comedy, it’s also prescient in its early positive representation of a cross-dressing adult, while simultaneously undergirding the daily realities of women leaders, who also struggle to survive professionally. At the end of the scene (just after our clip ends) a perplexed Dr. Brewster queries, “Does Jeff know?” in a hilarious reference to the female Hoffman’s boyfriend, when the line is metaphor for the misunderstandings that separate cross-dressing persons and transgendered identity expression from the majority.

–Brit Katz