Actor. Actress. It does not matter. Whatever you want to call us. Thespian. Performer. Pain in the arse. Finder of free bars. Populator of call centres and front of houses. Pyjama wearer. Rester. You name it, we probably answer to it. In fact, that’s our job. To answer to your latest whim. You create the character, and we become it.
We’ll play heroes, villains, innocent bystanders who get caught in the crossfire. We play mothers, fathers, children and, heck, we’ll even play their pets if we’re desperate enough. We’ll play people who once existed and we’ll play imaginary beings who could never live. Whatever you ask of us, we’ll often do with very little question. You never know, if you’re lucky, we might not even ask if you’ll pay us.
But what we do ask, is that you allow us to be equal. Regardless of our gender, our race, our sexual orientation, our age and our ability, we just ask that you keep us equal. Please, kill your stereotypes. Women do not need to fulfil a teenage boy’s fantasy that, because it has remained unfulfilled into middle-aged manhood, has to be created on screen. Regardless of what you may think, we can wear clothes and we can speak and we can be older than 22.
That part you’ve just written. Does it need to be a white, able-bodied straight man? Does it really? Go outside for a few minutes. Yes, of course, those men are out there. But, thank Christ, there are a whole lot of other people out there too. People who deserve to be represented. People who watch things and want to see people like them on screen. People who don’t identify with men who went to Eton.
We all want to play everything. Let us be your lead role. Give us a character that extends beyond our breasts. Allow us the chance to be remembered for something other than looking great in a bikini. We’re not here to eradicate men from the picture. The rest of us just want the same opportunities. The same chances to match the fact that we’re all doing the same job.
We’re not all the same. We’re gloriously different. Each one of us brings wonderfully different things along with us. We just want the chance to show the world what we can do.
We’ve been expected to play bit-part tokens for too long.