Letter: Female roles

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The Independent Culture
Sir: To describe the term "actress" as "time-honoured" (letter, 17 March) seems odd.

There was certainly nothing honourable about the term at the end of the 17th century. Women had only recently won the legal right to appear on the stage, and the male actors previously specialising in female roles who were thus put out of work soon saw to it that the word "actress" should become synonymous with whore, amoral female, rapacious seductress; a tradition continued by some sections of the press to include bimbo, striptease artist and show-girl.

If female actors disdain a word which implies that their job description includes such services it does not seem at all bizarre to me but, rather, long over-due.

MOLLY BARRELL

Ilminster, Somerset

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