Helen Mirren: It is insulting to call powerful women ‘sassy’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Actress Helen Mirren has hit out at the use of the word “sassy” to describe women, saying new words should be used to denote female power and humour.

The 69-year-old actress, speaking to the Times, said she is often described as being cast in “feisty” roles, saying: “Only women are feisty. It just makes me gag.”

Mirren also said she thought the term “spritely” was “horrible”, and said the word “sassy” is “insulting”

She continued: “We need new words for female power and funniness and smartness.”

Going on, the star said she thought the seventies, the decade in which she rose to prominence, was “worse than the f****** 1940s and 1950s for women”.

“I was thinking about the 1970s which, unfortunately, was when I was at my prime, age-wise. 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.”

She also criticised attitudes women have towards other women, particularly online, saying they can often be “cruel” to one another, compared to the way men typically treat other men.

Mirren expressed frustration at the “level of cruelty and judgementalism that comes from women to women on Twitter or Facebook or in the world, which is much more than from men to women nowadays.”