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Also, I still see some girls here on the boys page.
In case you haven't noticed, women refer to themselves now as ActorS...I hope the page editor who deleted all the women, except Judith Dench, Ellen Burstein, Blythe Danner, and Sophia Loren and further messed up the alphabetizing will correct it. You might notice also that Sidney Poitier is a man, or so I always thought.

Re: "actress"...yet another perfectly useful word forever tarred with the brush of political incorrectness. Female actpersons might refer to themselves as ActorS, but there are still many people who refer to them (quite respectfully) as ActresseS. It's what they are, isn't it? -- AnonymousCoward (ducking)

Linguistically speaking, what is common usage IS correct. These females who act are, as a group, whatever the plurality of AME speakers call them, be it ActorS or ActresseS. THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE!!!(Answer to A.C.) Since there is a dispute here, started by me, I will cede to the older nomenclature and possibly the majority opinion. I have created ActresseS. Wait til next year though...:-).

I thought about this when I created the two pages, believe me. I thought about it, too, when I created separate pages for MaleTennisProfessionals and FemaleTennisProfessionals. In both cases, I was guided by the highest professional awards. In tennis, women play in a separate league from men. In acting, the AcademyAwards (and, I believe, all the other major awards) are granted separately to male and female performers.

In both cases, there is a good reason for the distinction. If men and women played in the same tennis league, it would be extremely unfair. That's a biological fact, as far as I know. Maybe in the future, it will not be true, but for today, it is true.

In acting, it is generally, but of course not universally, the case that parts played by women and parts played by men are inherently different. It might be possible to remake, say, TheGodfather?, with MichellePfeiffer? playing the role previously played by MarlonBrando?, but... --JimboWales

The question seems to me, whether their is a difference in the activity called acting for men and women. I don't see any. Remember, in Shakespeare's time all roles were played by men. Why are "the parts played by men and those by women inherently different," by the way?
I would answer this by saying that the problem was sexism in Shakespeare's time, not in our own. The role of LadyMacBeth? is best portrayed by a woman, I think. A film detailing the life of MotherTheresa?, starring SylvesterStallone? in the central role, would be a farce, would it not?

Remember that I said, "generally, but by no means universally".

Perhaps in the future, the methods of makeup will have advanced to a sufficient stage that SeanConnery? could play a convincing PrincessDiana?, but for now, gender is relevant to the roles, and it is not sexism to note this fact. --JimboWales

And I suppose having ElizabethTaylor? playing MotherTheresa? or OprahWinfrey? playing PrincessDiana? would be good casting? Notice you are choosing characters who HAVE lived and of whom we already have a visual image. Remember that MaryMartin? played PeterPan??
Is this stealing your last word, if I only agree with what you've said? It occurred to me late last night (wikipedia is keeping me up at night!) that you are absolutely right when you say that there isn't a difference in the activity of acting between men and women. And you are of course right too, in pointing out that just as some men are not right for some parts as women, some women are equally not right for some parts as women.

Of course, this perhaps doesn't remove the need for the distinction. We agree that personal physical characteristics can play a major role in how a performer is perceived in a part. And so we might conclude that, in general, gender is or at least tends to be a highly important characteristic for classifying performers. So we might leave the distinction as is.

The big difference between my tennis example, and acting, is that in tennis it really is true that the top tennis players would all be men, if all were to play in the same league. In order to have sensible competition, segregation is probably necessary. But why do we have separate awards for best actor and best actress? Even if men and women naturally tend to play different parts, there seems to be no reason why we should consider it difficult at all to decide if JuliaRoberts? or AlPacino? is the better performer in a given year.

I guess we will have to agree to agree!!!

If we were making a page listing famous philosophers, or famous scientists, I do not think that a separate listing would be a good thing at all. Unless, of course, someone wanted to make a page highlighting famous female scientists of the past, when they were more rare, or something like that.

One of the beautiful things about a wiki is, of course, that someone can create a page of 'ActingProfessionals?' that lists all of them, male or female, on the same page, or in alphabetical order, like 'ActingProfessionals?/A', etc. --JimboWales


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Last edited February 16, 2001 8:05 am by RoseParks (diff)