He’s confident, she’s an attention seeker. He’s a man who knows what she wants, she’s a diva. And he’s the boss, while she’s just bossy.
Blake Lively is all too aware of the deeply sexist language we use to describe men and women. And in a revealing new interview, she has revealed how these terms affected her feelings of self-worth when she was starting out in her TV and film career – and how it dictated her own behaviour.
Speaking to People magazine, the Gossip Girl star explained: “I think that sometimes you're not encouraged to stand up for yourself. It doesn't even mean in really dramatic ways. That just means that if you're working too many hours, or you aren't being paid what someone else at your work level is being paid, or if you're being treated differently than someone else on the crew, or whoever.
“I didn't feel like I could fight for myself in the same way, because I was afraid of coming across as a diva or difficult or demanding.”
Other stars, such as Jennifer Lawrence, have previously spoken out on how being straightforward in the workplace or daring to discuss gender equality often sees women labelled ‘difficult’.
Lively added: “As a woman, you're afraid of a label you may acquire by demanding fair treatment for yourself that you know that you've earned.”
When asked what advice she would give to her younger self, she said firmly: “I'd encourage myself to love myself and fight for myself, as hard as I fought for other people.”
It’s not the first time that Lively has addressed the problematic connotations of language: earlier this year, she revealed that she and her husband, Ryan Reynolds, had banned one word in particular from their household in a bid to empower their daughters, James and Ines.
“[In the past], we’ve joked that my daughter is bossy,” Lively said. “But my husband said, 'I don’t ever want to use that word again. You’ve never heard a man called bossy.'”
The Age of Adeline star continued: “There would never be any negative connotation for a man being a boss. So to add negative connotation on a woman being bossy? It’s belittling. And it doesn’t encourage them to be a boss.
“So do I know how to be the best parent for a daughter? No, I have no idea. All I can do is share what I’m thinking – and learn from others.”
Images: Rex Features