Should awards be gender neutral? | The Tylt
Emma Watson won the first gender-neutral MTV Movie & TV Award for Best Actor in a Movie. Many supporters are elated that the MTV sees male, female and non-binary actors as equals, and argue the rest of Hollywood needs to catch up—especially the Oscars. Others have acknowledged there's issues in female representation within the entertainment industry and if all award shows add gender-neutral categories, it may put women at a disadvantage. What do you think? 🏆
Should awards be gender neutral?
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.
Outside of Meryl Streep, will there be a bias against women?
Many are skeptical the industry is ready to go gender neutral.
But supporters want other acting awards to follow MTV's lead.