So a no more apt winner of the first gender neutral Best Actor category at the MTV Movie and TV Awards was Emma Watson.
Watson won the award for her performance in Beauty And The Beast and the award was presented by gender-neutral nonbinary actor Asia Kate Dillon. She described the award as “very meaningful” even is she did allude to dropping both sex and gender which confused me a little.
It confused me because Watson was right when she said that the award was not recognising sex, but I still haven’t really come to a conclusion about whether male and female specific awards were gender discriminatory. A side thought of mine, because I tend to overthink things, was whether actually having more categories simply enables more people to win and this has therefore made the expense of the event for MTV a little cheaper!
Whatever the implementation, one knows that the purpose of the award was to break down barriers of inequality.
With that in mind, the crowning of Miss Black University of Texas 2017 last week was a somewhat more controversial affair. Rachel Malonson received some backlash from her victory for allegedly not being black enough, which is the exact sort of comment that MTV were trying to remove when they set out their awards. The backlash doesn’t appear to be bitterness from the other contestants but social interpretation of what constitutes “black”.
A lot of news outlets are phrasing this outrage as how a woman with Malonson’s skin tone could win the award. Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought the winner of beauty pageants was generally the most beautiful person. Therefore, if I was extrapolating, the logical answer one could give is rather unfortunate because it would be, “the contestant with the paler skin was deemed more beautiful than the contestants with darker skin”.
Perhaps the better question (if it’s really important) was how she was allowed to enter.
If I’m honest, though, stories like this bother me. I get annoyed by comments like that from Hannah Jane Parkinson in The Guardian who described it as “heartening” that the winner of both of MTV’s Best Actor categories were female. The inference that can be taken is that if both winners were male then the breaking of gender boundaries had not worked. Such sentiment belittles the idea that it is indeed only performance that matters which is the only part of meritocracy that actually makes sense to me.
I think what also really annoys me is the fact that we live in a world where this is necessary and newsworthy.