Dame Helen Mirren wants us to stop using the word ‘sassy’ to describe women of power, humour and intelligence. And, the word ‘feisty’ for that matter.
Why? The Oscar-winning actress is still defying convention, telling The Times that she believes branding a woman as “sassy” is “insulting” saying, “we need new words for female power and funniness and smartness.”
In an interview for the release of her new film Woman In Gold – where Mirren plays a Maria Altmann, an elderly Jewish refugee on a mission to reclaim five Klimt paintings stolen from her Viennese family by the Nazis during the Second World War – she also told The Times that she detests being described as taking on “feisty” roles.
She said, “Only women are feisty, it just makes me gag.” And, while Mirren certainly draws comparisons to the differences in the ways in which men and women are described now, and have been described in the past, she also said that there is a “level of cruelty and judgmentalism” from women towards other women that is more damaging “than from men to women nowadays” – particularly in this era dominated by social media.
The 69-year-old also said she thought the word “spritely” was “horrible” – and who could blame her. It’s veiled with all kinds of condescension. Mirren added that the 1970s – the period in which she first rose to prominence as an actress – was a far more difficult time to be a woman than in previous decades. She recalled “Men saw that era as a sort of, ‘Oh fantastic. We can f*** anything, however we like, whenever we like! They’re up for grabs, boys!’ It was that kind of attitude.”
Watch Helen Mirren in Woman In Gold below…
Woman In Gold is released on 28th May 2015 and is due to hit cinemas in June.
What do you think of Helen Mirren’s comments? Do you think it’s insulting to call a woman ‘sassy’ or ‘feisty’? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below…