Don’t call me an actress unless there’s a best in front of it

What is the issue with calling everyone an actor? The SAG awards are now best male and female actor, not actor and actress. Why? What is the issue with the term actress? How is that sexist or degrading enough for actresses to actually speak out about it? There is a waiter and waitress, there is steward and stewardess. I know that you don’t say doctor and doctress, but you don’t have to be a certain gender to be a doctor. It’s more specific to say actress, isn’t it?

To me, wanting to be referred to as an actor and NOT an actress is like saying “I am genderless, I’m simply an artist.” Well maybe you’re an artist, but let’s face it, you didn’t get the role based soley on your acting talent. We all know this. Is there an actress who’s unaware that sex appeal sells? Is there an actress who is shocked to learn that it was her face, body and hair that played heavily in the decision to hire her to play the part of a female? Was that sexy magazine cover shot to expose her talent? Her artistry? Yet, when it comes to the simple term “actress”, the term is an insult because she is genderless.

In my book I use only the term actor. I did so just to save the space of writing actor/actress every time I used the term because I used it a lot in a book about acting. But I’m confused as to why it’s a negative.

What’s the problem with admitting you’re female? Male actor, female actor…it’s so generic. Has anyone ever heard an actor answer the question; “So, what do you do?” with, ” Oh, I’m a male actor.” Female actor feels like some kind of pseudo equality statement about something that isn’t about equality. Women use what makes them women to sell themselves for women’s roles. That makes sense, right? It’s not like they’re being pushed out of the way by men who do the roles better.

It’s like saying “don’t call me tall just because I’m six foot seven!” Ummm, your tall. You’ll probably get roles that have to do with the director’s vision of the role being for someone tall. So, if he calls you tall, is that an insult?

Maybe you can help me out with this.

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