The MTV Music Awards has become the first mainstream film and TV award show to include gender-neutral categories.
We are all familiar with MTV’s iconic silver Moonman award, but this year he received a major makeover. “Why should it be a man?” MTV’s President Chris McCarthy told the New York Times. “It could be a man, it could be a woman, it could be transgender, it could be nonconformist.” This branding change comes shortly after MTV decided to replace the categories for Best Male Video and Best Female Video with the Artist of the Year award, absent of any gendered label.
In addition, the MTV Movie and TV award for Best Actor in a Movie featured both male and female actors. Emma Watson said during her acceptance speech, “The first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex says something about how we perceive the human experience.” She continued, “Acting is about the ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes – and that doesn’t have to be separated into two different categories.”
Another coveted prize is following suit and breaking gender barriers this award season. This year’s Silver Scroll award list has just dropped, and it features a completely female lineup. The 2017 winner will be announced on September 16th and features top artists including Lorde for her international hit single, “Green Light,” Bic Runga for her song, “Close Your Eyes,” Aldous Harding for “Horizon,” Chelsea Jade for “Life of the Party,” and Nadia Reid for the song, “Richard.”
The Silver Scroll acknowledges and celebrates one artist from New Zealand for their mastery in songwriting and composing. Previous winners include The Naked and Famous, Neil Finn, Shona Laing, Dave Dobbyn, Chris Knox, and Brooke Fraser. With female artists taking over the music scene, this award is said to be the first nomination shortlist in the music industry to feature women exclusively, making history in its own right.
Lorde, who is the most well-known of the nominees, co-wrote her sophomore album Melodrama with Jack Antonoff, who writes music under the name Bleachers and plays guitar for the band F.U.N. Lorde said she decided that Melodrama would tell the story of a house party. She explained to the New York Times, “With a party, there’s that moment where a great song comes on and you’re ecstatic, and then there’s that moment later on where you’re alone in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, you don’t think you look good, and you start feeling horrible.” The album muses of loneliness, partying, and the revival subsequent after heartbreak.
No matter who wins, each of these New Zealand natives feel both honored to be nominated and ecstatic to be recognized alongside fellow female artists. It is a step forward for everyone when such widely watched award shows move toward equality.
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