Mirren, famous for films including The Queen, Calendar Girls and most recently Red, also lashed out at those who praise her for being sexy at the age of 65, saying it was “bloody irrelevant”.
“I resent in my life the survival of some very mediocre male actors and the professional demise of some very brilliant female ones,” Mirren told the audience.
“However, with all due respect to you many brilliant and successful women in this room, really not too much has changed in … Hollywood filmmaking that continues to worship at the altar of the 18 to 25-year-old male and his penis.
“Quite small, I always think,” she added, to gales of laughter.
She was speaking at a breakfast ceremony honouring the 100 most powerful women in entertainment – an annual league table drawn up by industry daily The Hollywood Reporter.
In an interview on its website, Mirren – who received the Sherry Lansing leadership award – also rebuffed the suggestion that she had won fans as a role model for having sex appeal in her 60s.
Asked how that made her feel, she said: “A bit cross, actually. We have to let go of this crap. It creates even more pressure on women, and I certainly don’t want to be a part of that.
“I’m not beautiful; I clean up nice … (but) the fact that I look good at the age I am is bloody irrelevant,” she said.
Despite her modesty, fellow actress Halle Berry praised Mirren for being “hot as hell”.
“The thing I want to say is that the last bastion of civil rights in the movie business is ageism,” Berry said.
“And Helen you have single-handedly, all by yourself, broken down that barrier because you can age, you can do films that are successful and you can still be hot as hell.”
The women in entertainment 100 list was led by Disney/ABC Television Group chief Anne Sweeney, followed by Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and NBC Universal cable entertainment head Bonnie Hammer.
Chat show host Oprah Winfrey came in fourth, while other celebrities in the top 100 – all but a handful of them industry executives – included Angelina Jolie at 26, Sandra Bullock at 29 and Judge Judy at 48.
© 2008 Australian Broadcasting Corporation