- For Teachers
Is it correct to say "she is an actor"? Or should it only be "she is an actress"? I've read the 1st form in an English book, and found it strange...
Thank you very much for your help!
And yet the Academy still gives out Oscars for Best Actor and Best Actress.
Trying to achieve gender neutrality is so hard.
But yes "she is an actor" is certainly the preferred version for most younger female actors nowadays, although you will still hear the other one said.
(1) I can understand why you feel that it is "strange" to use the
word "actor" for a female who acts.
(2) I assume that you are a young person. Thus, perhaps a bit
of social history would be helpful:
(a) Back in the 1960's and 1970's, various groups felt that they were
not being treated fairly. Women, for example, no longer wanted
sentences such as " I want everyone to bring his book." Thus, today
you have to say: "I want everyone to bring his/her/their book." If
anyone uses "his," she/he/they will be severely criticized.
(b) When I was young, we had stewardess, policewoman, waitress, etc.
Today we must say flight attendant, police officer, server, etc.
(c) A few people wanted to spell "history" as "herstory" and
"women" as "womyn." Most people, however, felt that this was
going too far.
(d) There are still some people who feel that "Everyone should bring
his book" and "She is a good actress" are fine English that should be
continued to be used. But they have lost the battle.
Thank you all for such great replies. We (who are not native speakers of English) benefit immensely from all the meditations that even the seemingly most simple posts generate.