Is TOOTSIE a Feminist Film? Should We Even Care?

September 2nd, 2020

To describe these last several months as challenging is a huge understatement. A more apt description would be tragic and frightening. In this difficult time, filled with a seemingly endless barrage of bad news, it struck me that it may be frivolous to write articles dedicated to the discussion and examination of culturally relevant feminist films. But as segments of the country remain shuttered (including all movie theaters in my area), it may be an appropriate moment to reflect on the role film plays in our life, enriching it in a manner that can never be fully appreciated.

During the historical crises of the Great Depression and World War II, studios churned out films to grateful audiences that flocked in droves to their local theater, desperate for a distraction from the poverty and political upheaval that had consumed and threatened their very existence. As we stand on the precipice of a dauntingly uncertain moment, with no end in sight, we will need creative storytelling and cinema more than ever, if for no other reason than to remind us that there was a vibrant world prior to this pandemic, and that there will be again.

On a bright note, feminism is rising to the challenge of our current plight, playing a powerful role as we witness the bravery and heroism of women who are on the frontlines providing emergency care to Covid patients in hospitals and creating positive change by protesting in the streets-no small feat given many of these same women are also doing double duty as tutors now that their children must be educated from home. And let us not overlook the horrible reality of increasing numbers of women in danger from heightened domestic violence, trapped at home with an abusive partner.

Against the backdrop of this social reality, it seems more important than ever that we continue to examine film from a feminist perspective. So, with a spirit of hope we will continue to engage in our discourse regarding the importance of female driven stories in film. In doing so, we hope to provoke discussion and raise awareness about entertainment worthwhile and otherwise to enhance our Pandemic- induced home viewing lifestyle.

So, is TOOTSIE a feminist film? Stay tuned, and we’ll figure it out together.




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