Trends: Genderless Awards Categories

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

Last month, MTV announced that its MTV Movie Awards would be no more. Instead, the show would now involve awards for TV, and be called the MTV Movie & TV Awards. But that wasn’t the only new thing the cable network had in store for its new awards show: Certain major categories will be gender neutral.

This new gender neutrality spans the acting categories: Best Actor in a Movie (which includes Emma Watson from “Beauty and the Beast” and Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out”) and Best Actor in a TV Show (which includes Donald Glover from “Atlanta” and Millie Bobby Brown from “Stranger Things”). Of course, some categories have always been gender-neutral, inkling Best Kiss, Best Villian and Best Hero.

There’s clearly a sea change happening, as mainstream culture has gotten hip and woke to the nuances of gender identity. And the young generation isn’t averse to asking for what they want, particularly in terms of representation. Actor Asia Kate Dillion, known for their role on Showtime’s “Billions” as a non-binary character (and TV’s first one at that!), wrote to the Television Academy and asked them to reconsider their binary male and female categories. This was a big ask: the Television Academy governs the Emmy Awards. The Television Academy was very receptive to Dillon’s letter, and Dillon decided to submit themselves under Best Supporting Actor

If the Emmys were to do away with gendered categories, the award show would be getting back to its roots. The Emmys enacted separate categories for male and female performers in 1951, its third year.

I hope this new gender consciousness grows until it becomes so commonplace we no longer need to remark on it.

Advertisements

Trends: Updating Classic Films to Be More Inclusive

Emma Watson as Belle in 'Beauty and the Beast' (The Leaky Cauldron)

Emma Watson as Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (The Leaky Cauldron)

Within the last few years, many films have been updates to classic films. While it’s no secret that Hollywood likes to recycle its own ideas, there’s now a push to make the films more inclusive.

The 2016 release of “Ghostbusters” brought one change to the classic film: the ghostbusters were all played by women (the very funny Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones). While some butthurt fanboys cried that the reboot  killed their childhood (actually, they usually used a much more brutal, assault-y verb for it), the movie brought in $46M+ on its opening weekend, and grossed $229M+ over its theatrical run.

“Ocean’s 8,” which will be released in (wait for it…) 2018, will also feature all female leads in its remake-of-a-remake. (Seriously, the first version involved Frank Sinatra and his boys’ club Rat Pack and was released in 1960.) But “Ocean’s 8” does one better than “Ghostbusters” in that it’s more diverse. In addition to Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling and rapper Awkwakfina will also star in the ensemble. And that first cast photo looks lit.

This weekend, Disney is releasing a live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast.” This movie has a lot going for it: For starters, Emma Watson as the titular character gives it some feminist cred. Watson had a lot of input on the character, and  Belle doesn’t wear a corset and is an inventor. (Remember, in the original 1991 film, Belle’s father was the inventor with the wacky contraptions.)

Updating the characters to reflect modern times also extends to the supporting cast. Le Fou, muscle man Gaston’s main lackey, is now going to be gay. And in love with Gaston. Which puts a lot of things into perspective, actually. Though Le Fou will be the first openly gay character, he’s far from the only gay character that Disney has created.

The movie will also feature the first two interracial kisses in a Disney movie: one between wardrobe Madame de Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and harpsichord Cadenza (Stanley Tucci), and the other between candlestick Lumiere (Ewan McGregor) and feather duster Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). And Disney is here for it.

I can’t wait to see how Disney movies continue to grow and evolve in terms of representation in the future.

 

 

Sex & Stats’ 2014 Year in Review

Beyonce's 'Flawless' performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Award

Beyoncé’s ‘Flawless’ performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards

We’re almost done with 2014, so let’s take a look back at some important movements in the world of sexuality.

Trans Issues:

After a long time, the trans community has come into the spotlight.

It started back in early March, when Jared Leto took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing trans woman Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club.” This was the first time an actor won an Oscar for a trans role, and the second time an actor playing a trans character had been nominated for an Academy Award. (The first time was when Felicity Huffman played a trans woman in 2005’s “Transamerica,” and garnered a Best Actress nomination.) The film also sparked a dialogue about cisgendered actors playing trans roles.

The community has been making strides on a local level as well. This fall, a Texas high school elected its first trans homecoming king.

 

Anal Play:

“We’ve been experimenting with the butt,” a good friend of mine said recently. Though she was referring to what she and her partner were getting up to, this statement also applies to our culture’s newfound fascination with anal play.

Ever since a stripper alleged that Drake enjoyed having his salad tossed, it seems like anal play and rappers  are having a major intersectionality moment. Nicki Minaj has proven this most frequently with her singles “Anaconda” and “Only,” positing herself in the power position of receiving, and greatly enjoying, having her asshole eaten out.

Anal sex also appeared on our broadcast TV screens in mainstream American homes this fall. The “How To Get Away With Murder” pilot and an episode of “The Mindy Project” both featured the formerly taboo act (the former more explicitly than the latter). Bonus points for both featuring interracial couples as well.

 

Feminism:

This is technically a holdover from 2013, but feminism continued to stake its claim in culture this year.

“Harry Potter” actress Emma Watson gave an inspiring speech to the United Nations launching the HeForShe campaign, mobilizing men to do their part for feminism. Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld ended his spring 2015 runway show with models holding up signs painted with feminist slogans. Singer John Legend declared that society would be better if all men were be feminists.

Of course, Beyoncé also had a hand in this. (No surprise there, as her 2013 self-titled album sampled Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie’s now-famous TED talk on feminism.) She started it off strong in January authoring an essay on workplace inequality for “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From the Brink.”

But that was small compared to what was to come: During the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé performed “***Flawless” in front of a giant lit marquee, branding herself as a FEMINIST. IN ALL CAPS. It certainly raised consciousness for many people, because Google searches for “feminist” and “beyonce feminist” majorly spiked that week.

 

2014 has been very eventful, and let’s hope society keeps making sex-positive strides forward in 2015. See you next year!