Gender neutrality at award ceremonies: Too far? Or not far enough?

Published

Credit: The Brit Awards

Elena Adams
Writer

Let’s throw a middle finger to Piers Morgan’s gender politics.

Gender; a key but ever-changing concept in our world now. The word’s meaning is changing as people are slowly beginning to change their attitudes. Recently, Sam Smith came out as gender-neutral, now going by the pronouns they/them. Shortly after this, there were rumours of the Brit Awards possibly abolishing their gender categories, much like the MTV Movie and TV awards as well as their Music awards. Although the Brit Awards claim they aren’t doing so yet, this rumour still sparked conversation about gender equality, and had many questioning – is it going too far?

Many would argue this agenda is, in fact, going too far. Take Piers Morgan, for example. In 2017 on the This Morning show, Piers Morgan claimed he “doesn’t know why we are bothering with this”, but also claimed that, “if there is one category then fewer actresses will win”. However, he has been proved wrong, as shown by not only the winners, but also the nominees of the MTV Movie and TV Awards and the Music awards. This year there were five female winners in the Movie and TV awards and in the Music awards, there were 15 female wins out of a possible 22 categories. More often than not, the majority of nominees for each category were female acts, proving rather that female acts are thriving within the gender-neutral categories and not suffering, as Piers Morgan suggests. If we look at this example, it would be sufficient to say that gender-neutral categories would be beneficial, as they’re not discriminatory.

When Emma Watson received the first ever gender-neutral award at the MTV Movie Awards in 2017, she stated in her acceptance speech that for her, “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” which essentially sums up the entire argument over gender-neutral awards. Why are they needed anymore? Especially when there are more than just male and female acts now. With monumental changes currently happening in our society regarding people’s identity, it makes sense for the Brit Awards to create gender-neutral awards. If an artist like Sam Smith identifies as gender-neutral then it would be wrong to nominate him for the best male artist award simply because that is what he was biologically born as. Yet, it would also be unfair to exclude him from the awards due to his own identity. Including everyone hurts no-one.

By creating more gender-neutral awards, these ceremonies would just be championing inclusivity and telling more young people they can be successful and recognised no matter who they identify as or who they are. If anything, our society has not tried enough to accept all the new gender identities possible for people. We, as a society, need to learn to be more accepting of people’s own decisions, especially when they do not harm or interfere with our own lives.