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Why is there no sex in acting?(12 posts)

Why is there no sex in acting?Me Dot Org
Jun 3, 2002 9:16 PM
Okay, so now that I've pulled you in with the topic title, here's what I mean:

If you're female and you fly an airplane, you're an aviatrix.

If you're female and you execute a will, you're an executrix.

Females be congresswomen or policewomen, or mail persons.

But if you're on the stage, you're an actor.

It didn't used to be like this. Not too many years ago, female actors referred to themselves as actresses. Then, by some unspoken pact, all "stage-persons" became actors.

Why is identifying the sex of the person acting not kosher? Does anyone think that we don't know the sex of the person doing the role? If so, why not stop awarding "Best Actress" at the Academy Awards and be done with it? And yes, I've seen The Year of Living Dangerously and Boys Don't Cry.
gender neutral?DougSloan
Jun 4, 2002 5:30 AM
Gender neutral terms:

If you're female and you fly an airplane, you're an aviatrix -- actually "pilot"

If you're female and you execute a will, you're an executrix -- "personal representative"

Females be congresswomen or policewomen, or mail persons - "member of congress", "police officer," "mail carrier"

I think that "actor" is now the gender neutral term. Yes, it seems everyone wants gender neutral terms and treatment, until it comes to the sexes competing with one another, then we have "separate but equal" (college sports, Academy Awards, etc.).

But...Me Dot Org
Jun 4, 2002 6:57 AM
All your examples site a specific "gender neutral" word. People are changing the meaning of the word actor, which previously had meant a male stage performer.

It also seems that the rush to 'gender neutral' is much more prevalent in acting. You don't hear 'Congressperson Gary Condit" very often.

To be fair, you don't hear Senatress, Directress or Editress very often either. It appears where women have invaded what was traditionally male territory, our culture has not thought to come up with sexually differentiative terms.

So perhaps it is the lack of a gender-neutral term that leads to this usurping, but it doesn't make it right. (Or logical, for that matter). Is there an Academy Award for best female director or editor? Those areas have traditionally been much less open to women than acting.

With the exception of Lassie, I don't think casting is gender-neutral. When Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were casting the next James Bond, I don't think they were torn between Sean Connery and Diana Rigg.

Ironically, acting is one area of endeavor where I think the relative merits of men and women are judged equally. Yes, it is much harder for women to get quality roles past their 30's, but good acting performances are good acting performances, whether they are men or women.
society can't make up its mindDougSloan
Jun 4, 2002 7:33 AM
Society can't decide whether we want to be gender neutral or not. Maybe we want equal "rights", but we really don't want to be "equal." For the most part, we maintain distinctions when it suits women better, continuing opportunities or opening opportunities where they can't compete with men on an equal basis (pro basketball, for example). However, in areas where they can compete equally, we have attempted to dissolve distinctions (most jobs, for example).

It is interesting that "separate but equal" was thought to be evil when it came to race, but is supported when it comes to gender, college sports being the dominant example.

I have a hard time understanding (taking this to a cycling area of discussion) why we have separate men and women categories and races. There are lots of women who can kick my butt, both in USCF racing and ultra distance racing. Seana Hogan has won Furnace Creek 508 outright.

I don't understand separate acting categories, either. Maybe we like the symmetry of it, the "king and queen" aspect of a male and female winner.

Speaking of which, why is it that when the queen is the monarch, her husband is not the king, but when the king is the monarch, his wife is deemed the queen?

Queen regnant vs. queen consortms
Jun 4, 2002 2:14 PM
There are two types of queens -- a queen regnant (i.e., a monarch) and a queen consort (i.e., the wife of a monarch). The issue of what to call the husband of a queen regnant was an issue when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. There was great opposition in Parliament to his being called "king." Ultimately Queen Victoria gave him the title "Prince Consort." Other than Prince Albert's precedent, I would guess that the issue is bound up in traditional sexist views -- men precede women. Thus, a King would precede a Queen in any event and there would be no question that the King outranks the Queen Consort. However, if the husband of a Queen Regnant were called a King, there may be some confusion as to who would outrank whom. Thus, a lower title for the husband of a Queen Regnant is necessary to keep him in his (lower) place.
I don't get that whole monarchy thingDougSloan
Jun 4, 2002 2:23 PM
I really don't understand the vestiges of pure monarchy. While it's good for tourism, but what else? Paying a lot of public money to people purely because of their lineage just seems sooo wrong.
I agree with youms
Jun 4, 2002 2:42 PM
At least in the United States our political dynasties (e.g., Adamses for the Federalists. Bushes for the Republicans and Kennedys and Gores for the Democrats) have to stand for election and do something when they are in office. And, the electorate always can say no. What would the British voters say if they had to vote on whether Charles, Prince of Wales, should be their next King?
I think Di could still win nmDougSloan
Jun 4, 2002 3:24 PM
No sex in playing Doctor either...Spinchick
Jun 4, 2002 6:42 AM
I don't know any Doctresses.
re: Because Sex is an Expression...jrm
Jun 4, 2002 11:22 AM
And acting is acting. Whether it's in a transgendered role or not.
Cyclistess? Cyclistix? Hm. nmrideslikeagirl
Jun 5, 2002 9:55 AM
cycletta? cycletina? nmDougSloan
Jun 5, 2002 11:45 AM