What do you think of a female actor being called an "Actress" vs being called an "Actor"?

I always preferred the term "actor" regardless of gender, because most other professions don't have a different term based on the sex of the person. You don't have a doctor & doctoress or dancer & danceress.

However, I just read someone's blog that gave me some food for thought. http://www.bloglovin.com/m/2815118/439882844/fb

If you don't want to click on the link and read the whole blog, here are some excerpts:

"Being an actress is kind of like hitting up the ladies’ room during intermission. You watch all those men just waltz on into their own appointed space, all leisurely-like, while you get the awkward and frustrating communal experience of BEING IN A LINE and feeling time slip away....

I recently read that 30-35% of theatre roles each season are female. That would be super-awesome if only 30-35% of the people pursuing acting were female. As it stands, we out-number the fellas."

"To be an actress is to be told things like, “It would hurt more for us to lose HIM than to lose YOU.” (I have been told this. "Because HE would be harder to replace.")"

"I feel most conscious of my FEMALEness when trolling casting notices and going to auditions."

What do you think? What she wrote struck home to me. I think I'm starting to feel like I may want to embrace the term "actress" again.

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Best Answer

    For me, it always felt like "actor" seemed like a more serious term. Often, it felt like people didn't take the term "actress" as seriously - perhaps it was due to the fact that I was young and people assume all girls want to be actresses and famous without really understanding the work and craft that goes into the career. At least, that's how things had always felt to me.

    What it seems like the person who wrote the blog is pointing out is that it takes even more perseverance and hard work as an actress to create a career in this field. The odds are rather stacked against us - more competition, less roles, and not as valued as a performer, because we're considered easily replaceable - compared to male actors. I've experienced some of the things the blogger mentioned first hand as well.

    So, when REALLY thinking about an actress' journey in show business - it takes the term's perhaps more frivolous connotation of a girl with unrealistic dreams of stardom, to someone who has to work extremely hard for every role and opportunity in this crazy business. I can see why you would embrace the term "actress" again - and all that goes with your "FEMALEness" in such a competitive business.

    I don't mind either term myself, generally, though I tend to describe myself as an actor. What I do get irked about is when I tell someone I'm an actor and they insist that I'm wrong and tell me that I'm an actress. This has happened to me a couple of times lately (I don't recall it ever really happening to me before).

    The blog does give me some food for thought. I'm not sure I'll change the vocabulary in which I describe myself, but it does make me appreciate even more every role I've ever gotten.

    Source(s): Professional Actor - Professional ACTRESS!
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    I believe the changed gender-neutral switch actually stemmed from Hollywood influence. It's become fairly universal today. Some female celebs don't mind being labeled 'actor', though the word historically means 'male'. It's really just a matter of individual preference. I myself am an actress, and label myself as such. There are some casting sites that list only 'Actor' as a title (not the actress option); naturally presuming the stated profession :)

    Source(s): 15+ years professional industry experience
  • 8 years ago

    I am completely comfortable with being called an actress. The word "actress" doesn't mean that I am less talented than an actor, it simply means that I'm female. I don't mind if people call me an actor, but I always think that it sounds strange when the male term is used in regards to me, just because I always use the female term.

  • Cogito
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    I much prefer just 'actor'.

    As you say in your first paragraph - a word which makes the sex of the person obvious is unnecessary and sounds sexist.

    In the UK most female actors now use the term 'actor' - but they're not so militant that they complain if anyone calls them an actress. When when they tell others what they do, or have a passport, resume, business cards, etc, with their profession stated, they use 'actor'.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • bnk01
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Fromn what I see, it's an age thing. Most people over 40 still use "actor" and "actress", most younger people use "actor" for both.

    I'd go with "actor" as being less outdated - but it's still personal preference. I've never heard anyone get all in a huff for using either term.

  • 8 years ago

    I don't think it's sexist, if that is in fact what some people think. It discerns only between gender, and does not discriminate. Both terms are still correct, but I don't necessarily have a preference.

  • 8 years ago

    I think it's much ado about nothing. I act. I'm female. I don't really give a damn about whether people call me an actor or an actress, as long as they appreciate my work. And if they don't, it just may be my own fault.


  • 8 years ago

    To be honest, I really couldn't care less about what I'm called. It's just another way to distinguish men from women in the particular profession.

    Source(s): Actress/Model/Singer
  • I would say whatever the individual actress/actor wants to be called, not as if it's hard to adapt if you get the wrong word, really. and to the top commenter- I salute your amazing shakespeare-referencing skillls

  • 8 years ago

    I think they need to get over themselves. We should just continue to refer to them as actresses.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.