MTV Movie and TV awards replaced both Best Male Actor and Best Female Actress awards with an overall Best Actor Award for all categories on Sunday, May 7, 2017.
The policy was put into practice by Asia Kate Dillion when she proudly stated she has been able to break down gender barriers as “the first openly non-binary actor to play an openly non-binary actor on a major TV show,” then presented the Best Actor in a Movie award to Emma Watson for “Beauty and the Beast.”
A non-binary person is someone who does not identify with either gender.
The significance of this award was to showcase that great acting is a visual that is enjoyed by all viewers, regardless of the gender of the actor. This ensures that the winning actor has truly mastered his or her craft in his or her movie or show, and fully celebrates the recognition that males and females deserve.
In her acceptance speech, Watson said, “Acting is about the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and that doesn’t need to be separated into two different categories.”
Being chosen as a best actor for a female is the same as saying, “She is good, for a girl.” Therefore, having an overall Best Actor Award would better suit the importance of being recognized.
The second award of the night – Best Actor in a Show – went to Millie Bobby Brown of “Stranger Things.”
The 13-year-old actor has captivated the entire internet seemingly out of nowhere, and she did not win just because of femininity and girl power. Every time she appears on a talk show or gives an interview, it goes viral. Her acting in “Stranger Things” showed more emotion and maturity male actors.
The entertainment industry is one of the final fronts left in the battle for gender equality. The division of pay between both genders can be seen most prominently, and the creation of film breeds gender as well as racial discrimination. The discrepancy is based mainly on age-old stereotypes between man and women.
Senior Shrina Parikh says, “The entertainment industry has forgotten that old Hollywood is not as appreciated as it used to be, and that the demand of society evolves as well. And as a society we demand talent without the attachment of gender.”
The MTV Movie and TV awards made a step in the right direction for gender equality by discontinuing the Best Actor and Actress awards, thus becoming the first major awards ceremony to do so. This major step symbolizes a change in recognizing the talents of both men and women on the same front, and can cause Hollywood to change some of its old stereotypical ways of thinking that a certain gender is more well perceived than the other.
Freshman Shreya Parikh says, “When you hear the word best female actress, there are feminine qualities that you would predict that were associated with her win. The same can be said for best male. But when you hear the word best actor/person, there is no strings attached. That is the beauty of it.”
Raw talent inspires many, so why do we have to put a gender label on it?