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Should actresses be referred to as actors or actresses?


Kid Dabb
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Speaking of one or a group of females, I would always use the term ACTRESSES.

 

Speaking of a mixed group of "actors", then that would include both males and females. Like "a convention of mailmen" (with women included, of course).

 

Sometimes I use the term "his/her" when I don't know what "it" is.

 

But an actress is an actress. :)

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Thanks, Fred. I didn't know if there was a convention concerning this. There is the SAG which, as you pointed out, refers to the whole as actors.

 

I like to call female "actors" actresses. I feel this gives them the respect and recognition they deserve, regardless of their actual talent or history in the business.

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Speaking of one or a group of females, I would always use the term ACTRESSES.

 

Speaking of a mixed group of "actors", then that would include both males and females. Like "a convention of mailmen" (with women included, of course).

 

Sometimes I use the term "his/her" when I don't know what "it" is.

 

But an actress is an actress. :)

 

I agree with Fred.   When I'm referring to the acting profession I use the term actors.   This includes both male and female actors.

 

I use the term actress when I'm referring only to female actors.   One less word then saying 'female actors' as well as avoiding confusion about what gender I'm talking about. 

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In its original usage, the term actor was used in a generic form meaning a performer. Of course, back in those days, men performed both male and female roles. I don't know when "actress" started being used to describe a female performer.

 

Unfortunately, I think that many times when a title was altered to describe a female doing what had up then had been a man's job, it was a subtle way of saying it was now being done by a women so don't expect the same level of service or performance. 

 

For example a "steward" on a ship was considered a very important and respected member of the crew, but a "stewardess" on a plane was often thought of as little more than a "good-looking waitress". It worked in reverse too. For many years, hosptals had "nurses" and a few "male-nurses" who rarely got the same respect as their female counterparts. Today they're all just "nurses".

 

I think in this day and age there's no need to have any job title sex-specific. So as far as I'm concerned "actor" is all inclusive rgardless of the performer's sex.

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I'd want to be called an actress because it includes the whole of me; that ress is something to be proud of.  I might not always be in the business but I'd always be female and actor would deny that part of me that never changes.  This PC stuff can be taken too far at times.  Actually it should be up to the woman as to what she wishes to be called; another might think I'm all wet. 

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I'd want to be called an actress because it includes the whole of me; that ress is something to be proud of.  I might not always be in the business but I'd always be female and actor would deny that part of me that never changes.  This PC stuff can be taken too far at times.  Actually it should be up to the woman as to what she wishes to be called; another might think I'm all wet. 

 

I agree that if one is referring to an individual female performer in the acting profession they should use the term actress.

 

BUT if one was to say:   Being an actor is a noble profession.    To me it is clear that 'actor' means all members of said profession.

 

One shouldn't have to say;  Being an actor or actress is a noble profession.    Doing THAT would be being PC.

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Well, to paraphrase Hepburn, an actor by profession is an actor. An actor by personality and who is female, is an actress. Personally, I believe that being an actor is a gender-neutral term, like lawyer and doctor are gender-neutral terms by profession. 

 

I have heard people use "actress" less in Hollywood. Jane Fonda recently stated that she thought Lee Daniels was a great director for women, "a great director for actresses, although people nowadays are more likely to use female actor in name" was her exact words I think. 

 

As to how it will affect the industry, I don't know. Meryl Streep suggested that the AMPAS get rid of the gender-distinctive Best Actor and Best Actress and just have one inclusive category. She suggested that a few years ago, and I thought that she wasn't really genuine in her suggestion by the cadence of her voice, because I took it to mean that she really wanted was the competition to be easier for her to win one. 

 

I don't know, interesting discussion point though. 

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Well, to paraphrase Hepburn, an actor by profession is an actor. An actor by personality and who is female, is an actress. Personally, I believe that being an actor is a gender-neutral term, like lawyer and doctor are gender-neutral terms by profession. 

 

I have heard people use "actress" less in Hollywood. Jane Fonda recently stated that she thought Lee Daniels was a great director for women, "a great director for actresses, although people nowadays are more likely to use female actor in name" was her exact words I think. 

 

As to how it will affect the industry, I don't know. Meryl Streep suggested that the AMPAS get rid of the gender-distinctive Best Actor and Best Actress and just have one inclusive category. She suggested that a few years ago, and I thought that she wasn't really genuine in her suggestion by the cadence of her voice, because I took it to mean that she really wanted was the competition to be easier for her to win one. 

 

I don't know, interesting discussion point though. 

 

How would one category make it easier to win?    The math doesn't add up.   If there was only ONE category,  it would be harder for both men and women to win.  That is just simple logic.

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How would one category make it easier to win?    The math doesn't add up.   If there was only ONE category,  it would be harder for both men and women to win.  That is just simple logic.

Just going on that interview, this was before Oscar number 3 for Meryl, and she hasn't brought it up recently. I just remember the suggestion. I just got the impression that she didn't want more competition, she wanted to rise above the others nominated. Personally, I think Sandra Bullock was right to say there needs to be a Meryl Streep category at the Oscars. Best Meryl Streep performance. I know Bullock was being sarcastic when she said that, but honestly, maybe it would starve off the throwing of the bone her way anyway. 

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 I don't know when "actress" started being used to describe a female performer.

 

 

According to an entry in Dictionary.com, the word 'actress' began to be used for women stage players around 1700.  If my knowledge of stage history is correct, that was some decades after women began to act on the stage in England.

 

 

Personally, I believe that being an actor is a gender-neutral term, like lawyer and doctor are gender-neutral terms by profession. 

 

I think if any woman were to be called a 'lawyeress,' or 'doctress,' they would consider themselves condescended to.

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In its original usage, the term actor was used in a generic form meaning a performer. Of course, back in those days, men performed both male and female roles. I don't know when "actress" started being used to describe a female performer.

 

Unfortunately, I think that many times when a title was altered to describe a female doing what had up then had been a man's job, it was a subtle way of saying it was now being done by a women so don't expect the same level of service or performance. 

 

For example a "steward" on a ship was considered a very important and respected member of the crew, but a "stewardess" on a plane was often thought of as little more than a "good-looking waitress". It worked in reverse too. For many years, hosptals had "nurses" and a few "male-nurses" who rarely got the same respect as their female counterparts. Today they're all just "nurses".

 

I think in this day and age there's no need to have any job title sex-specific. So as far as I'm concerned "actor" is all inclusive rgardless of the performer's sex.

I think in this day and age there's no need to have any job title sex-specific. So as far as I'm concerned "actor" is all inclusive rgardless of the performer's sex.

 

Quite right, mark.

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According to an entry in Dictionary.com, the word 'actress' began to be used for women stage players around 1700.  If my knowledge of stage history is correct, that was some decades after women began to act on the stage in England.

 

 

 

I think if any woman were to be called a 'lawyeress,' or 'doctress,' they would consider themselves condescended to.

Yes, women couldn't act on stage in the Western world until the late 1600s. Before that, men dressed up as women on stage because women weren't allowed to. The Church of England did not look too favorably on men dressing up as women. 

 

Also, regarding the "ess" in profession, they would be condescended to. I have had thoughts about assigning gender to profession to begin with, and what actual usage of genitalia to the profession would amount to the gender assignment. The day a man requires his you-know-what to a trial in which the subject is not what he did with it, I would love to know. The same as knowing whether a woman requires her you-know-what to baking in which the design does not resemble an apart of her anatomy she should not be ashamed of, I would love to know. 

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I lived 70 years hearing female movie and stage performers called "actresses" by the actresses themselves, and I'm not going to change now just because someone in some big Eastern or West-Coast city or university says I should change. To see what I mean, see the "actor" and "actress" categories listed among the Academy Awards classifications.

 

 

http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/86/nominees.html

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I lived 70 years hearing female movie and stage performers called "actresses" by the actresses themselves, and I'm not going to change now just because someone in some big Eastern or West-Coast city or university says I should change. 

 

Like they would care, or even know you exist.

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Don't you realize that they know who all of us are? And they are working hard to force us to think, act, and talk like they do?

Funny, when I went to college, I got in debates with my professors often, and I didn't graduate thinking, acting, nor talking like they did. I wound up educated. 

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My choice between the terms is dictated by a practical matter:

 

To type: "actors and actresses" rather than simply: "actors" requires three times the work as it is eighteen letters vs. six letters.

 

To term a female performer an: "actress" requires nearly fifty percent more work than using the term: "actor" as it is seven letters vs. five.

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From January 2012, here's the traditional opening of the annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. It's the only time I've noticed women making it a point to call themselves actors.

 

 

 

I've seen talk shows where women referred to themselves as actors. If I am not mistaken, one of the them said it is the current acceptable usage.

 

So, actors it is. YMMV.

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