Rewrite: December 13th, 2000

An actress is the female variant of the word actor in modern english. An actress is someone of the female gender who performs on stage, or in television, movies, or other venues of physical performance for purposes of storytelling. A woman does not have to be financially compensated or even critically acknowledged as an actress in order to call oneself an actress. She simply has to appear before some sort of audience at some time in her life and perform someone other than herself; from that moment on she may choose to call herself an actress if she so desires.

Many women in the entertainment industry strongly dislike the word 'actress,' They consider themselves actors and would never use 'actress' to describe themselves or their fellow women performers. This may stem from the equal rights movement of the past century, or maybe just common sense: it is admittedly stupid to have a separate word specifically for women. It's like calling all firemen firepersons so the women don't get left out. Political correctness can be a nasty thing.

A complete list of professional actresses of past and present from various backgrounds, levels of success and reknown would include but not be limited to the following:

Gender (female) specific variant of actor. Not PC--considered to be sexist language.

Note that many theatre programs (e.g: UC Davis) no longer use the term actress, but instead uses actor to refer to actors of both genders.

In Metamagical Themas, Dogulas Hofstadter discusses sexist language, including pronoun issues--briefly stated: The use of a feminine specific in the absence of a gender neutral prevents the male specific from devolving into a genuine generic.

My magnolia love, my
exhibitionist;
lush, extravagant,
uncompromising -
you dominate the garden
with your
showy tricks.

In a heavy-hanging,
sweet cloud,
part musk, part citrus,
all luxury
you stand, still and serene,
your creamy skin so
artfully touched
with a painted
perfect blush.

You hold yourself
like a goddess,
strong and erect
accepting
wonder and adulation
as your due.

Yet it only takes
a single storm,
a touch of wind and rain
to leave you
naked, vulnerable and
shivering; destroyed
by the smallest
harshness.

You are the critics
plaything, the weather’s
toy.

A Wordmongers' Masque: Poets' Ball entry

Ac`tress (#), n. [Cf. F. actrice.]

1.

A female actor or doer.

[Obs.]

Cockeram.

2.

A female stageplayer; a woman who acts a part.

 

© Webster 1913.

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