The Brit Awards have become the latest award ceremony to eliminate gendered categories that divide male and female talent in an effort to become more inclusive.
For the 2022 event, a new award, artist of the year, will replace the British male solo artist and British female solo artist categories. An international artist of the year award will replace the previously gendered international solo artist awards.
Other award ceremonies have been non-gendered for some time now. The MTV VMA awards have been gender neutral since 2017. The American Television Critics Association awards also use mixed-gender categories, and most literary prizes have long been essentially mixed.
This year’s Emmy awards acknowledged non-binary actors by permitting them to be named a “performer” rather than an actor or actress, though they have ultimately chosen to keep gendered categories for the time being.
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The Brit Awards announcement to go gender neutral has sparked an inclusivity debate. We asked university students how they felt about the decision, here’s what they had to say:
Fiona, 21 said: “I think it’s nice! I feel like if you are a gender neutral artist or young person that would definitely be something nice to see especially on such a big platform, so I definitely support it. This will raise more awareness for non binary people and help normalise it and make it easier for young people that are struggling with that.”
Nadia, 22 said: “I think it definitely levels the playing field and brings equality to it but I think also in a way male artist have been recognised for a long time so it almost takes away some of the achievements that female artists have made. It has its pros and cons because you’re going to have marginalised people by not having a specific category for them but then again categorising people also marginalises people so there’s no right or wrong really. It’s a good step towards including more people and I hope that non-binary people get more recognition.”
Giuseppe Amico, 20 said: “I think it’s really good because then there’s no gender differences and it puts everyone on the same playing field. it’s a good thing, especially for non binary artists like Sam Smith and makes it more inclusive. people just need to wait and see what it’s going to be like before making judgements”
Shakira, 19, thinks that “it’s good that society is evolving however, I do feel like it’s going to be difficult for female artists to win awards since we already live in such a sexist society. I feel like if there’s no female artist category most of the awards will go to male artists instead of female ones, and female artists are going to have to work twice as hard to get the awards and recognition that they deserve.”
Will the Brit awards decision to go genderless create more inclusivity or exclusivity? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter by using the #GenderneutralBritAwards
Words: Erin Kalejs | Subbing: Martyna Rozenbajgier