Skeptics worry there's still too many issues and lack of female representation within the entertainment industry. If all awards shows go gender-neutral, this might put women at a greater disadvantage to not only win but even be nominated.
The Guardian's Hannah Jane Parkinson admires MTV's gesture to progress, but like many critics—she's skeptical because men dominate so many areas of the entertainment industry. This could mean that men are mainly honored if all award shows go gender neutral. 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.
Supporters are happy that MTV is progressing to gender-neutral awards, which ideally would be inclusive to female, male, nonbinary and transgender-identifying people in the same categories. In music, although women are pitted up against each other, they are very prevalent in shaping popular music. And they are saying the rest of Hollywood needs to catch up—specifically the Oscars and other awards like it.
The Verge's Kaitlyn Tiffany also called out male biases within the entertainment industry, but she argues MTV is making steps in the right direction. Gender-neutral awards could very well mean better and more diverse representations from gender-fluid and gender-binary artists across industry accolades.
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.