Morpheus on… Gender-Specificity In The Workplace

“In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass…”

Thus it was in 1967. The job of firefighter was considered too tough for women. But things have changed. Now women find themselves on the front line of the Fire Service – facing the same dangers as the men. Therefore, to be called a fireMAN would be an insult. And so – “fireFIGHTER”. Fair enough.

Of course, women have been recruited into the Police Force (although they too prefer “service” these days) for decades – and while the term Policewomen was invented for them, they now prefer Police Officer. Again, fair enough.

Futhermore, you now have “chair-person” (or just “chair”) post/mail carrier, bartender, etc. Still fair enough.

But what of actors and actresses? Well, many actresses now prefer to be called actORS – which is where THIS writer draws the line.

“Best Actor In A Female Role” – gimme a BREAK!

The thing is: fireman, policeman and so on, were all jobs designated for MEN – there WERE NO feminine versions of their job titles. But despite the fact that actresses were once little better than prostitutes (in fact, many WERE) – that situation changed DECADES ago.

Today, actresses have equal status with actors. And while it is conventional for a GROUP of people who act to be called “actors” (although I don’t see a problem with “actors and actresses”) it really JARS to see an actress interviewed and hear her refer to herself as an actOR.

So far, actresses still have to endure being called an actRESS when they go up to collect an OSCAR – after eighty-odd years, A.M.P.A.S. are not about to change the tradition of issuing THEIR awards to “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” – but one suspects that when picking up one of THOSE, the women concerned do not care WHAT they are called. If I ever got one – they could call ME a prostitute.

However, S.A.G. have now removed gender from THEIR awards – so how long before A.M.P.A.S. bows to pressure?

Then there are standups. The women now demand to be called “comedians” instead of “comediennes” – again, BOLLOCKS.

My point is: when a job title only has a MALE version – and women now occupy the posts – it is entirely fair to find a new, gender-neutral term. And likewise, if there is BIAS against female workers in a particular industry.

But we are talking SHOWBUSINESS here. If a person creates a character to tell a story or tells a joke well – their gender matters NOT. Did their performance MOVE you? Did their joke make you laugh? If so, that person did their JOB. They are a PROFESSIONAL.

And IN The Profession – gender is EVERYTHING. Showbusiness is about PEOPLE. Characters. It is the Cult Of Personality. Remove gender from it and you DEVALUATE it.

So by all means remove gender from the mundane workaday jobs. But The Business is SACROSANCT – leave it ALONE.


One response to this post.

  1. Ah. OK. I get it… “IN The Profession – gender is EVERYTHING” …”The Business is SACROSANCT” …but I do not suppose this one is winnable. Defy the mass consensus and the work vaporises. Odd how the ladies do not insist on being called men, though.

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