The fight for gender equality rages on in many aspects of everyday life. On both the big and small screens, the fight for equal pay and equal opportunity rages on just as fiercely. Now, MTV is making a step in the direction of equality with its latest move. According to a report by the Guardian’s Gwilym Mumford, the upcoming MTV Movies & TV Awards will only present gender-neutral awards.
Per Mumford, this is a move that is a part of a bigger overhaul that will also see television included in the awards show for the first time.
For the upcoming awards show, the nominees for the inaugural best-actor award in a movie are Beauty and the Beast’s Emma Watson, Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya and Hidden Figures’ Taraji P. Henson. As for television, Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke joins Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown and Atlanta’s Donald Glover as inaugural nominees.
This isn’t the first time the entertainment industry has opted for gender-neutral awards. In 2012, the Grammy Awards went gender-neutral, per Mumford. Furthermore, the National Television Awards went with gender-neutral awards in 2008 before returning to gender-specified awards in 2012 and 2013. Since then, though, those awards have also went back to gender-neutral.
“This audience actually doesn’t see male-female dividing lines, so we said, ‘Let’s take that down,'” MTV president Chris McCarthy said, according to a report by Vulture.com’s Josef Adalian. “They don’t see lines between theatrical releases and television. They just see it as great content. So let’s take that down. And they don’t really care whether it’s scripted, reality or a theatrical release.
“They just want to celebrate great content.”
Per Mumford, there are some who believe switching to gender-neutral awards could do more harm than good.
“We are all for more inclusivity, especially for people who identify as non-binary, but we caution that this could severely affect female nominees in the future,” said Melissa Silverstein, founder and editor of Women in Hollywood, per Mumford. “We already know that women are severely underrepresented in many categories—only 20 percent 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.
The MTV Movies & TV Awards will be held in Los Angeles, California, on May 7.