Instead of the best actor and actress categories, MTV has opted for a single gender-neutral category that will be opened for both male and female actors. The decision to make the awards gender neutral comes at a time when there has been a series of debates about the issue of different gender categories for acting.
Although other popular award ceremonies like The Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Emmys and Baftas all still have separate categories for men and women, music awards ceremony the Grammys has always had non-gendered categories.
Speaking to New York magazine regarding the decision to scrap gendered categories, MTV president Chris McCarthy said: “this audience actually doesn’t see male-female dividing lines, so we said, ‘let’s take that down.’”
However Melissa Silverstein, founder and editor of ‘Women and Hollywood’, a website that advocates for gender equality in film, is of a different opinion and thinks the decision could have more adverse effects than positive ones.
She argued “We are all for more inclusivity, especially for people who identify as non-binary, but we caution that this could severely effect female nominees in the future,” she told the Guardian. “We already know that women are severely underrepresented in many categories – only 20% of the non-acting Oscar nominees were women this year – and so if different awards events decide to remove gender identification from categories it is incumbent upon them to work even harder to make sure a full spectrum of people are included in the nominees as well as in the selection committees.”
Finally, awarding best categories for each gender means that we are actually unable to recognise who the ‘best’ really is. Creativity should have no gender; therefore the example set by Grammys should be the blueprint for award recognitions.