MTV just dropped its gender-specific award categories

MTV just dropped its gender-specific award categories

No more Best Actress! Male and female actors now compete in the same category, but not everyone sees this as a good move
09 Apr, 2017

At this year's MTV awards, we'll see male and female actors compete against each other in a single gender-neutral acting category instead of separate Best Actor & Best Actress categories, reports Billboard.

The best actor awards will be split into film and TV categories instead.

The nominees for the inaugural best actor in a movie includes Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya, Beauty and the Beast’s Emma Watson, Logan's Hugh Jackman, Split's McAvoy and Hidden Figures’ Taraji P Henson.

The best actor in a show category sees Game of Thrones’s Emilia Clarke compete against The Walking Dead's Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Stranger Things’s Millie Bobby Brown and Atlanta’s Donald Glover, among others.

While major award ceremonies like the Oscars and Emmys still feature separate categories for men and women, MTV's move towards gender neutrality comes at a time when the issue is trending.

Earlier in the week, Billions star Asia Kate Dillon, who identifies as gender non-binary, wrote a letter to Emmy organisers — the Television Academy — after they asked which of the best actor or actress categories the Billions star would prefer to be included in.

“I’d like to know if in your eyes ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ denote anatomy or identity and why it is necessary to denote either in the first place?” Dillon wrote. In response, the Academy said that Dillon could apply to whichever category they “more closely identifies as”. Dillon opted for actor, due to its widespread use as a gender-neutral term.

However, not everyone believes that MTV's move to dispense with gendered categories is a good one.

Melissa Silverstein, founder and editor of Women and Hollywood, a website that advocates for gender equality in film, said that the decision could "severely [affect] female nominees in the future.”

“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.”