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Yeahright's avatar

Why is it only actors for SAGA?

Asked by Yeahright (2293 points ) February 9th, 2013

@ucme’s recent questions about great actors and actresses reminded me that in the 19th Screen Actors Guild Awards the categories were:

Outstanding performance by a male actor in…
Outstanding performance by a female actor in…

I couldn’t think of a good reason why they wouldn’t call the women actresses as opposed to female actors. Even Claire Danes had to point that out in her Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series acceptance speech. She said “I guess I’m an actor, not an actresssss”.

What’s your take on this?

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15 Answers

chyna's avatar

It changed to be gender neutral just as wait person and flight attendants names have changed.

glacial's avatar

Probably for the same reason that we don’t call stewardesses that anymore.

CWOTUS's avatar

Yeah, we call them sky waitresses.

Sunny2's avatar

^^^ No we don’t. They are flight attendants. The job isn’t different, nor are the tasks, but the name is neither masculine or feminine. All that bra burning was worth something! but not a whole lot!

zenvelo's avatar

SAGA did it that way because that’s the way women actors wish to be described. That’s not only a good reason, it is the best reason, because that’s what the people eligible for the award wish to be called.

rooeytoo's avatar

Well why aren’t they all called “actresses?” Why was the male form chosen? Seems sexist to me!

Yeahright's avatar

@rooeytoo Very interesting…it seems to defeat the whole purpose. Sort of like if you can’t defeat them join them—does that even make sense? It just came to mind. It’s kind of like OK from now on there is no men or women just human beings.

@zoelo because that’s the way women actors wish to be described I guess what I really want to get to the bottom of is why do they want to be called like that. What’s underlying the word actress?

Kardamom's avatar

The same reason we have firefighters and not fireman anymore, and police officers instead of policemen, and chairpersons instead of chairman. It’s more about the job, than the sex of the person doing the job. I like the idea.

zenvelo's avatar

Actress is the diminutive form of actor. That’s why it is not the preferred descriptor.

rooeytoo's avatar

@zenvelo – what exactly does that mean? It is the diminutive because it refers to someone lesser or smaller? It sort of strikes me the way it does when women are called guys. If you call a group of males, ladies or girls, it is an insult! I always wonder why not vice versa???

Yeahright's avatar

@Kardamom I understand your point. But still, they have to use male or female before the word actor—at least for the awards. Is that not separating the males from the females again?

zenvelo's avatar

@rooeytoo I understand your point, but we’re talking about the historical sexism of the English language. And the suffix -ess implies a diminutive of the root noun.

Please don’t shoot the messenger.

Kardamom's avatar

@Yeahright Yes, they are indeed separating them, and I think they should, but it’s in a much more respectable manner. Actor is the profession, actress is just the ugly step-child, because back in the day, actresses were seen as less than. Women, unfortunately are still seen as less than, but at least the word actor (as a profession rather than a gender) is given to both males and females, equally now.

It’s still not perfect, but I think wer’e moving in the right direction.

rooeytoo's avatar

@zenvelo – no need to duck, I’m not shooting! But I really think we should start calling mixed groups by a feminine title. To teach them, it is not an insult, rather it is a compliment!

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