The Guardian's Hannah Jane Parkinson admires the gesture from MTV, but worries that men dominate so much the entertainment industry. She fears—like many other skeptics—that gender-neutral categories will honor mainly males. For now, awards might need to stay gender specific until the playing field is more even. It will take time. She writes:
Announcing the arrival of the gender-neutral categories last month, the head of MTV, Chris McCarthy, said: “This audience actually doesn’t see male-female dividing lines, so we said, ‘Let’s take that down.’”
This is an admirable stance, and it is true that the world is seeing gender less and less as two divided camps. That is without doubt a good thing, but single acting categories could well be problematic when there remains so much work to be done on the undeniable male bias of the entertainment industries.
The Verge's Kaitlyn Tiffany also acknowledged male biases, but says gender-neutral categories is a step in the right direction. And many critics argue the Oscars should follow suit. But in the meantime, Kaitlyn writes this is a win for entertainment equality.
The award has been hailed as a watershed moment for equality in entertainment. It’s certainly a step in a positive direction, and it’s nice to think about a future where acting categories aren’t split up by gender — as if performing as a man and as a woman are somehow radically different acts. Gender-neutral “best performance” categories honor the fact that men and women play equally valuable roles in film, and, crucially, they make awards ceremonies more hospitable to actors who don’t conform to gender binaries.