Is it Time to Go Gender- Neutral?

MTV announced that they will replace the male and female categories with “non-gendered” prizes for its movie and TV awards show.

This means Emma Watson competes with Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy for best actor in a movie.


Emma Watson nominated for “Best Actor” for her role as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Image by:

This move highlights the debate on whether there is a need to differentiate between male and female performances, which has traditionally only affected acting categories (i.e. not Best Director or Best Cinematographer).

This could be a move we see bigger awards like the Oscars and Golden Globes make in the next few years and follows a similar one by the National Television Awards.

A National Television Awards representative told The Independent:”It felt right for the National Television Awards to make the change…A great performance is great regardless of gender and we think that dropping the male/female division has made the drama performance category more exciting.”

What is gender neutrality?

Gender neutrality also known as gender-neutralism or the gender neutrality movement, is a concept that avoids categorising roles according to people’s sex or gender in policies, language, and other social institutions. The main motivation behind gender neutrality is to avoid potential discrimination, due to conventional social and gender roles.

The ongoing problem with gender in the entertainment industry

Recently, the organisers at the Emmys asked Asia Kate Dillon to choose which category to be considered for. The Billions star- born female- doesn’t identify as male or female.

Dillon chose best supporting actor category, stressing that “actor” is generally seen as a non-gendered word.

However, the organisers say: “anyone can submit under either category for any reason”. This may seem like a perfectly reasonable course of action, but it still dismisses the talented individuals who do not identify with either of the genders. 

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