Helen Mirren: Men Putting Arms Around Their Girlfriends’ Shoulders Is “Like Ownership”

Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford
Actress Helen Mirren opened up recently about how one particular body language sign irks her in the context of relationships. Mike Windle/Getty Images

Do not, says the Dame! Actress Helen Mirren opened up about how one particular body language signal — typically represented as a form of affection between couples — actually irritates her.

"It annoys me when I see men with an arm slung round their girlfriend’s shoulders," Mirren, 70, told the Daily Mail's You magazine this past weekend. "It’s like ownership. Of course, when you’re young, you want the guy to take your hand and look after you. But when I see girls being leaned on, I want to say, 'Tell him to get his damned arm off your shoulder.'"

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Mirren went on to express disapproval about many modern-day women. "Women are still toddlers," she noted. "Trying to find their position in the age of sexual liberation, birth control, education and financial independence. We’re still finding our path. And yes, we’re making a lot of mistakes along the way."

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The Hitchcock actress, who has been married to director Taylor Hackford for 19 years, has no children of her own. "I honestly don’t know what the children think of me — because I come and go in their lives," Mirren mused. "I’m not baking them cookies on weekends! I waft in and out, and I think they understand that I’m not the normal sort of grandmother."

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She did, however, share a snippet of advice for youngsters. "Growing old is not for p–sies," she told You. "You’ve got to have courage. But then, you’ve got to have courage in life anyway."

This isn't Mirren's first occasion discussing gender inequality. This past April, the actress took to the podium at the Women in the World summit to share her beliefs. "We're half of the human race," Mirren noted to attendees. "Why are we not there on any level?"

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For those seeking powerful roles for women in film, Mirren said change begins with society. "People often say, 'It's so terrible that women don't have great roles in movies,'" Mirren said at the summit. "I say: 'Forget that. That doesn't matter. Change roles for women in life, and you will find the roles for women in drama.'"

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