actress

  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It's not uncommon, as SwissPete said. We also continue to use heiress. Others like manageress and authoress went out of style around the 1970s.
     

    andrewg927

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I would say the opposite is happening. In the past, we used to say "actor" to mean female actors but nowadays people tend to use "actress" to avoid the appearance of gender bias.
     

    Canadian truther

    New Member
    English - Canadian
    SwissPete, no ONE person said it. Many actors of the feminine gender, I've observed, over the past several decades, in magazine articles, on Canadian and American talk shows, and in speeches at various award events, have chosen to refer to themselves, and their feminine co-workers in the supposedly more neutral, formerly masculine only, actor form. This shows, of course, that language is a living thing, ebbing and flowing, never forever chiselled in stone. Perhaps, young moderns need to feel unique, or slightly different from the older, less cool, generations, in their hip communicative style. Upon reflection of both other replies, standard North American English appears to be more fluid amongst the natives, than offshore common, not as flexible usage, in my opinion.
     
    SwissPete, no ONE person said it. Many actors of the feminine gender, I've observed, over the past several decades, in magazine articles, on Canadian and American talk shows, and in speeches at various award events, have chosen to refer to themselves, and their feminine co-workers in the supposedly more neutral, formerly masculine only, actor form. :thumbsup: This shows, of course, that language is a living thing, ebbing and flowing, never forever chiselled in stone. Perhaps, young moderns need to feel unique, or slightly different from the older, less cool, generations, in their hip communicative style.:thumbsup: Upon reflection of both other replies, standard North American English appears to be more fluid amongst the natives, than offshore common, not as flexible usage, in my opinion.
    I've noticed such things too, lately, and you make good observations and speculations about this trend.

    I must say, though, that to me they usually seem ill at ease and self-conscious when they do refer to themselves as actors, both in their frozen facial expressions and tortured, overly-articulated "theatrical" enunciations, so it remains to be seen whether or not they will succeed in banning the word actress. I suspect they won't
     

    Canadian truther

    New Member
    English - Canadian
    Anyone can contribute anything to Wikipedia ! To cite that as an authority [ anonymous contributors throughout ] is extremely NAIVE, and trusting of only ONE person's written word, qualifications unknown.

    Furthermore, the Academy wouldn't feel it necessary to change a category title, ever so slightly, from year to year, or decade to decade. Why should they bother ? As a matter of fact, some of their press releases indicate the typist / keyboarder / secretary did not excel in high school English, maybe even flunking. Language nuances [ subtle usage differences by native speakers ] come and go. For example, the almost annual flipflop of " cool " and " hot " in the Californian dialect of popular late-night Hollywood talk shows.

    As a Professor of English, I'm more aware and sensitive to such slight variations in everyday usage, not half-century-old dictionary, perhaps out-of-date verbiage. I listen carefully, particularly to my students. You're never too old to learn from the young !


    I was hoping for a similarly interested, more aware than I, individual to update me.
     
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    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Anyone can contribute anything to Wikipedia ! To cite that as an authority [ anonymous contributors throughout ] is extremely NAIVE, and trusting of only ONE person's written word, qualifications unknown.
    So, you're saying that because you denigrate Wikipedia there are no Oscars for best actress in a leading role and best actress in a supporting role? :eek:

    You might see: http://oscar.go.com/news/winners/oscar-winners-2017-see-the-complete-list ... or ask anybody who viewed the ceremonies.
     

    andrewg927

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Anyone can contribute anything to Wikipedia ! To cite that as an authority [ anonymous contributors throughout ] is extremely NAIVE, and trusting of only ONE person's written word, qualifications unknown.

    Cool it, guys. No need for all caps. This forum is for English learners (in my understanding), not a shouting match for native speakers who disagree on what is trending. I'm sure we all have our own opinions but let's keep it civil.
     

    andrewg927

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Also my two cents on this topic: As I have noticed, we live in different parts of the world. Canadian truther it seems like you live in Canada. And others living in different parts of the US, we all have our own personal experiences that are different from each other. Canadian truther, if you notice that more and more actresses are using a more gender neutral term maybe you could provide the rest of us some example shows or videos. We can all learn from our differences.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    We are not going to be able to answer a question about the frequency of use on the basis of our individual experience, which is what we use to answer questions in this forum.

    Please see the Google Ngram comparing the use of 'actress' and 'actor' in published books: Google Ngram Viewer

    The use of the two words follows approximately the same pattern until 1940 [the frequency of 'actor' is very roughly 3 times that of 'actress']. From 1940, the frequency of 'actor' gradually increases but the frequency of 'actress' remains about the same. At the present, actor has a frequency of roughly 4 times that of 'actress,' though 'actress' is still clearly in use.

    The replacement of the general term might be given a date in a specified context -- such as a newpaper's guidelines, or in the publications of a certain trade organization, for instance. Otherwise, the question is unanswerable, and, as a general question, seems to be based on a false premise.
     
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    Canadian truther

    New Member
    English - Canadian
    So, you're saying that because you denigrate Wikipedia there are no Oscars for best actress in a leading role and best actress in a supporting role? :eek:

    You might see: http://oscar.go.com/news/winners/oscar-winners-2017-see-the-complete-list ... or ask anybody who viewed the ceremonies.
    Have you actually heard any of those female winners describe themselves as actresses ? If so, whom and when, can you offer in support of your position ?

    We are not going to be able to answer a question about the frequency of use on the basis of our individual experience, which is what we use to answer questions in this forum.

    Please see the Google Ngram comparing the use of 'actress' and 'actor' in published books: Google Ngram Viewer

    The use of the two words follows approximately the same pattern until 1940 [the frequency of 'actor' is very roughly 3 times that of 'actress']. From 1940, the frequency of 'actor' gradually increases but the frequency of 'actress' remains about the same. At the present, actor has a frequency of roughly 4 times that of 'actress,' though 'actress' is still clearly in use.

    The replacement of the general term might be given a date in a specified context -- such as a newpaper's guidelines, or in the publications of a certain trade organization, for instance. Otherwise, the question is unanswerable, and, as a general question, seems to be based on a false premise.
    Yes, indeed, the press continues to use the official term, of course but, Meryl Streep's poignant speech this year illustrates my observations.

    I'm sorry. I didn't realize this was an English ESL website. My mistake.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I don't think it's by any means a very recent phenomenon.

    When the Observer and the Guardian published their new joint style guide last year*, this clause appeared: "Use for both male and female actors; do not use actress except when in name of award, eg Oscar for best actress."
    The readers' editor on… Actor or actress?
    * i.e. in 2010.

    This perhaps over-zealous attitude could sometimes lead to absurdity:D:

    (from the same article)

    "As always, use common sense: a piece about the late film director Carlo Ponti was edited to say that in his early career he was 'already a man with a good eye for pretty actors...' As the Guardian's readers' editor pointed out in the subsequent clarification: 'This was one of those occasions when the word "actresses" might have been used.'"

    A similar question was discussed as far back as 2007 in our thread entitled Is "actress" derogatory?

    I think these days it is considered politically incorrect in some circles to use a female form of the noun. In some cases a separate, unisex term has arisen, for example air hostess becoming the unisex flight attendant. I think it is connected with the fact that English rarely marks gender - if we said someone was tall or intelligent, no one would know whether that person was female or male, so why should their job description give away their gender? I suppose it's the idea that having a separate word for the female worker indicates that she is not doing the same or as valuable a job as the male worker.

    Personally, I don't think that at all and I am perfectly happy to use waitress and so on, but I believe that's the reasoning.

    Hope that helps!



     
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