I had a very interesting discussion with the director of a very old and very reputable community theater in our area the other day, and I thought I would take it to you all on this board. It just might spark some fascinating debate/discussion! :)
Our topic was the relative merits of the terms "actor" and "actress" when describing a female performer.
My friend, who is herself a woman, said she prefers the term "actress." She points out that women performers know going into an audition that they will be cast according to their gender, so why not use the gender specific term to describe them? ("They know that they are not going to be cast - at least in most cases -- as Hamlet or Othello, for instance. They know that they are auditioning for female roles.") She claims that the prejudice against the term "actress" that exists in some quarters is a holdover from the days when starlet wannabe's described themselves as "actresses/models," which had a slightly unsavory connotation. She states that that connotation has long been left behind, and that "actress" is a perfectly good word.
On the other hand, my D (a rising hs junior) thinks of herself as an "actor."
Love to hear what our young performers (of box sexes!) think. :)