Act with Tact - Should the Acting Awards go Gender Neutral?
The world is a vastly different place from what it was a few decades ago, and much of what was once considered normal is now being phased out of the societal framework. One such occurrence, in the very latency of its banishment, is the concept of gender based acting awards.
From Al Pacino to Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando to Meryl Streep, cinema has seen many stalwarts grace the audience with their presence. It will be difficult to find a critic who finds fault in any of them, if you look at the quality of their acting.
Indeed, the only areas where women lag behind are screen time and equal pay.
In such a situation, the mind begs to ask the question, why shouldn’t acting awards be gender neutral?
One might even argue that the Oscar statuette in itself is biased in its structure, with no adequate representation of the various binaries and non-binaries across the gender spectrum, especially for an award in a space which is not confined to the biological specifics of one particular gender.
Other non-binaries, who perhaps do not identify with the binaries of the gender spectrum, will especially welcome the arrival of a more gender neutral culture in awards, for it paves the way for a more receptive society as a whole.
MTV, interestingly, has taken a step in the right direction with its gender neutral acting award, won by none other than HeForShe champion Emma Watson. As she succinctly put it, acting is about the ability to put you in someone else's shoes and that doesn't need to be separated into two different categories.
However, another argument put forth is that if gender neutral awards were introduced, it will almost be impossible for women to win in a male dominated voting panel, most notably seen in the Oscar Selection Committee. A quick search on the internet would reveal the ghastly ratio of men to women in such a setting.
It is quite an interesting discussion, one which has been swept under the rug for far too long. Such instances affect the collective subconscious of society, normalising certain phenomena which are conveniently disguised and accepted.
One hopes that someone decides to act on it before it is too late.