Emma Watson wins the first gender-neutral movie award

Today’s society is presented in a plethora of different ways, but one of the most significant ones is representation in media. The way we watch the world portrayed on television often impacts how we view it in real life. If we turn on our televisions and watch an award show where men and women are constantly divided into two different categories because they are on different skill levels, of course we are going to accept a gender divide in our society. MTV acknowledged the significance of representation and did something about it. At the MTV Movie Awards on May 7, 2017, the first ever gender-neutral movie award (Best Actor in a Movie) was given out, and the prestigious honor went to none other than feminist Emma Watson for her role in Beauty and the Beast.

At award shows, there has always been “Best Actor” and “Best Actress.” This is a fact that no one ever really raised their eyebrows because the existence of a gender gap had become a norm for everyone. No one ever actually thought about the fact that the existence of two separate categories could be perceived as an implication that the skill levels of males and females were not equal. Given the fact that women notoriously get paid less in the acting industry as well, the level of inequality in Hollywood has long surpassed what should be acceptable.

However, MTV has put a dent in that inequality with their gender-neutral award. The concept of having a gender-neutral award first came about when the channel Showtime wanted to submit the performance of Asia Kate Dillon, a star who identifies as non-binary, for the Emmys but had no clue which category to submit Dillon to: best actor or best actress. MTV took note of Dillon’s oppression, and thus, the first ever gender-neutral acting award was born.

The award certainly meant a lot to Watson. “MTV’s move to create a genderless award for acting will mean something different to everyone,” the Beauty and the Beast actor said. “But to me, it indicates that 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.” MTV has received glowing praise for their efforts to close the gender gap in Hollywood and will hopefully inspire other award shows to do the same.

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