1980: I WANT MY MTV ! 2017: I WANT MY MTV…GENDER-NEUTRAL!
Wow, turns out somebody was actually listening! In an interview with CNN, MTV’s president Chris McCarthy announced some changes to their annual Movie & TV Awards. Some new categories include “Best American Story” and “Best Fight Against the System”, but best of all, the show is doing away with gender-based categories, like “Best Actress”.
“[Today’s audience doesn’t] see those lines in the way that generations in the past have,” McCarthy said. “So we wanted to take those down. They felt really antiquated.”
And he’s right. Just recently, Billions star Asia Kate Dillon wrote to the Television Academy about such category names. Dillon articulately pointed out that if such categories mean ‘best performance by someone who identifies as this gender or that one’, then where is the room for nonbinary performers? How is someone like Dillon supposed to submit their work for Emmy consideration?
The Television Academy responded with surprising open-mindedness, saying “anyone can submit under either category for any reason.” Dillon opted for Best Actor, as the term historically refers to a performer regardless of gender. The MTV Awards is following suit: they will use ‘actor’ to refer to all candidates in a category.
MTV Awards joins The Grammys and Britain’s National Television Awards by opting for non-gendered categories. But will this be the start of a larger conversation for Hollywood?
Catch MTV’s Movie and TV Awards on Sunday, May 7th.