My Apology for not knowing that actor is a unisex term now

I write to you kind friend for your forgiveness and your understanding. I know you understand better than anyone that I am not perfect, I hope that you will similarly try to understand this grievous error that I have committed.

I was enjoying a movie the other day, with my hand in a tub of popcorn. I can eat popcorn in five minute intervals while I’m in-between diets. How I can eat popcorn while people are starving in other countries is a fact that I will cover in a subsequent apology. However, while watching this movie an actor of the female persuasion appeared on the screen and delivered her dialogues with emotion, grace and poise. A trifecta of Jane Austen values. So taken aback was I by her performance that in my foolishness I exclaimed “oh what a great actress!”

As the words left my mouth I knew that I had said something terrible and unredeemable. The world came to a standstill and my friends all turned and glared at me. The watch on my clock stopped and began to rewind, a gesture it did to show me how regressive I was being. It turned itself back to caveman o’clock, because that’s how I was acting. I was acting like a caveman, another troubling gender normative term.

I know that women and men in a movie do the same job but because of the panopticon of patriarchy that has enslaved me for much of my life and whose shackles I try valiantly to break every day, I have been conditioned to think that there are different words to signify a male and a female actor. I know. I am sorry. That’s what this whole letter is about.

I know that words like actress have been instrumental in the oppression of women. If a man is an actor, than why must a woman be an actress? Is she also not acting? It’s not like if a person has a penis they are called one word and a person has a vagina they are called a different word! Am I right? Men and women have their differences but the terms that are used to address the percentage of them that act in movies is not one of them. This is a non negotiable aspect of humanity.

I know this is far beyond equal rights now, this is equal words. That’s a much bigger issue. Because you know what rights is? It’s a word. And so is the word word. In fact if word is a word then the bigger sentiment than that is something I can’t write because I’d need a word to do it but it’s a feeling that is inhabiting me right now. I can’t express it without using constricting and divisive words like ‘word’ or ‘actress’, but rest assured that the issue is alive and well within me, where it sits and combines and recombines trying to find an orientation in which it is stable and does not decay into Cesium and Uranium. I am sorry that some things are not like other things and my behaviour is reinforcing some things. That was not my intention at all. I wanted some things to perpetrate and propagate and combine, not divide.

What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet but may be confused with a dog. People may point out that those are not red dogs growing in your garden, but roses. Fuck those people and enjoy your sweet smelling bounty of dogs. Gift a a lovely bouquet of dogs to your personfriend. You know what I’m saying?

I know this is really hard to explain without the use of words, but since words are the problem I currently know of no other way to express myself. I am composing a musical piece on the same, but was absolutely shocked to see the gender disparity in the treble and bass clef. Everywhere I look I see division and I am disappointed. I will fix my errors. I am sorry.

Please forgive me. Words are all I have. To take your heart away.

4 thoughts on “My Apology for not knowing that actor is a unisex term now

  1. Dear Kanan
    I can understand the place that you are coming from. Words indeed confuse. And also hold the power to take one’s heart away, if words are all that you have, that is.

    I digress.

    I wish to thank you for opening my eyes to the horrific act I had been doing myself. I too am guilty of falling prey to the dirty underbelly of patriarchy and feeding into its demonic flame by referring to female actors as – gasp – an actress.
    The social conventions of treating women differently than their male counterparts is so deeply hard wired into my brain that I was oblivious to my erroneous ways.

    But it is your apology that made me realize otherwise. And also had me question why isn’t a female doctor called as a doctress.
    We may never know.
    But we do have you, to steer us into the correct path. Towards a much better tomorrow!

    Yours Truly


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