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When Men Play Women and Vice Versa: Cross-Gender Acting in TV and Movies

Have you ever heard of the term ‘cross-gender acting?’ It’s when an actor or actress plays a character of the opposite sex. It’s actually been around for thousands of years. But it doesn’t only exist in Shakespearean plays and movies based in that period (while some actually do, though). Most of the modern examples of cross-gender acting are in serious movies with really well-played performances like Tilda Swinton, who’s played a man in more than one movie.


Photo by Shane Partridge/Shutterstock, Matt Baron/Shutterstock / Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

And then there are the less serious and let’s say… less well-played roles, like the Wayans Brothers in White Chicks who are playing not only another gender but another race! But we’ll get to that. While some actors and actresses pull it off almost too well, others are so clearly not convincing, and it really only distracts us from the movie’s plot. These are the actors and actresses who took the challenge and played the opposite gender. You can be the judge as to who played it well or not.