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  1. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #1

    Question Why didn't he say "authoress"?

    Context:

    In a movie, a native speaker who is an American told his wife, "You're gonna be best-selling author."


    Question:

    Why didn't he say "authoress"?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by thedaffodils; 03-Dec-2008 at 05:52.

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    #2

    Re: Why didn't he say "authoress"?

    It's no longer politically correct to add the -ess ending. Actors are actors, authors are authors now.

    In fact, it is demeaning to use it. To say someone is a fine actress may imply that she is less than a fine actor.

    Some such words, perfectly normal a generation ago, are now considered downright ugly, such as Jewess and Negress.

    Alas, political correctness goes both ways. We are cautioned now not to say someone is a fisherman. He or she is now simply a fisher. Policemen and policewomen are now, gee, what are they now? Police officers, I guess.

  2. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Why didn't he say "authoress"?

    Hi Jlinger,

    Thank you for your elucidation.

    Were these changes of words about gender the result of feminist movement in the English-speaking countries? Thanks!


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    #4

    Re: Why didn't he say "authoress"?

    The tsunami of PC seems to be ebbing, and some major actresses in Hollywood continue to so refer to themselves. The Academy Award is still for Best Actress, not Best Female Actor.

    Perhaps while we are still in some state of flux, we should not hesitate to assert our own preference, rather than follow mob vocally militant say-so, and see what is still standing when the dust settles. I could never go back to the 'aviatrix' days, but I have always refused to limply go along with many of the OTT terms. At the same time, their are some discriminations, such as 'author' and 'authoress', that are equally unnecessary.

    (I wouldn't refer to someone as a Jewess, as opposed to Jewish; just as I would find it odd to be referred to as a Britisher (being male), instead of British.)

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    #5

    Re: Why didn't he say "authoress"?

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Hi Jlinger,

    Thank you for your elucidation.

    Were these changes of words about gender the result of feminist movement in the English-speaking countries? Thanks!
    I think they are more a general sensitivity or sense of enlightenment. When we realize that what we say may offend, we temper what we say (well, some do; others go merrily along offending right and left). David is right, of course, in pointing out that the Oscar still goes to Best Actress, and that is certainly a holdover from a previous era. It will change, in time. But to give it to the Best Female Actor is no improvement; it still puts women in a class separate (above? below?) from men, and that simply isn't "right" today.

    I don't think it's feminism that brought this on. We can blame feminism for the Ms title, and some aberrant spellings of womyn and herstory and such, but not this.

    It amazes me that in one profession where gender is VITALLY important to job performance, function and client satisfaction, there is no separate word for male or female prostitutes. And if prostitutes can get by without an "-ess" or "-ix" ending, then surely we can call an author an author.


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    #6

    Re: Why didn't he say "authoress"?

    It amazes me that in one profession where gender is VITALLY important to job performance, function and client satisfaction, there is no separate word for male or female prostitutes.

    You promulgate that, but write:
    But to give it to the Best Female Actor is no improvement;it still puts women in a class separate (above? below?) from men, and that simply isn't "right" today.
    They are in a class of their own - witness Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame, Natalie Wood in Splendour in the Grass, Stockard Channing in The Girl Most Likely To...

    What category are you advocating? "Best Actor in a Female Role"? I have visions of Tom Cruise in a dress, assaying the part of Joan of Arc, vying with Meryl Streep playing Mother Theresa.
    Last edited by David L.; 03-Dec-2008 at 06:28.

  3. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Why didn't he say "authoress"?

    David L. and Jlinger:

    Thank you for your answers.
    Last edited by thedaffodils; 03-Dec-2008 at 06:29.

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    #8

    Re: Why didn't he say "authoress"?

    "What category are you advocating? "Best Actor in a Female Role"? I have visions of Tom Cruise in a dress, assaying the part of Joan of Arc, vying with Meryl Streep playing Mother Theresa."

    Why don't they have Best Directoress, then?

    And Best Actor in a Female Role would clearly go to Robin Williams as Mrs Doubtfire. Or Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie. Of course, there were also great performances by Lemmon and Curtis in Some Like it Hot. And can we ever forget Nathan Lane as Mrs. C/Goldman in Birdcage?

    My, so many to chose from. The Crying Game, Dressed to Kill ...

    And what about the alternate. Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria?

    Shakespeare was a master/mistress at it. Chaplin and Laurel brought it to movies.

    We clearly need a new category!

  4. SUDHKAMP's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Why didn't he say "authoress"?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlinger View Post
    "What category are you advocating? "Best Actor in a Female Role"? I have visions of Tom Cruise in a dress, assaying the part of Joan of Arc, vying with Meryl Streep playing Mother Theresa."

    Why don't they have Best Directoress, then?

    And Best Actor in a Female Role would clearly go to Robin Williams as Mrs Doubtfire. Or Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie. Of course, there were also great performances by Lemmon and Curtis in Some Like it Hot. And can we ever forget Nathan Lane as Mrs. C/Goldman in Birdcage?

    My, so many to chose from. The Crying Game, Dressed to Kill ...

    And what about the alternate. Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria?

    Shakespeare was a master/mistress at it. Chaplin and Laurel brought it to movies.

    We clearly need a new category!
    Can you please give a list of actresses(sorry female actors) in male role. It is getting interesting.

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    #10

    Re: Why didn't he say "authoress"?

    You can Google "cross-dressing movies" for a lot of that.

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