When watching highlights of the MTV music awards and seeing so many different perspectives on the genderless award that was created it got me thinking about why it was created? It then occurred to me that yes there was celebration for this award, but there were also so many criticisms. So many people are still facing moral and ethical dilemmas with change and new findings when it comes to gender, race and the social class of which we live in. This pattern of criticism is not new, and we can just look at the attitudes that some of our grandparents and great grandparents have on race and gender to get some context. Racial and gender equality have progressed so far over the years and I know we all look back and say, “What the hell were they thinking”? But we shouldn’t just be looking backwards and shaking our heads at the problems of the past, because we are no better. There are still communities of people who are hiding away because they do not have equal rights. I have no doubt that my future grandchildren will look at the decisions from 2017 and ask me what we did to change gender equality and why it took so long.
The Caitlyn Jenner effect.
This debate of gender has not composed itself overnight; as there has been controversy over the LGBT community for a long time. The most controversial transgender story of the last decade is obviously got to be surrounding Caitlin Jenner. Now I don’t need to spend any time explaining what went on when she won women of the year, but just to refresh your memory. The internet appeared to be divided into two categories; a hero in America’s next civil rights frontier, or vocalised disgust in the once celebrated Olympian. This visibility of Caitlyn and other transgender celebrities has at least started the conversation to solidify normative gender.
Are body parts all that define who we are?
As our world was moving forward and progressing towards equality, we remained divided and the self-announced spokeswomen for the LBGT community had just been targeted for a whole world of discrimination. The discrimination towards the transgender community was shown through the lack of empathy for Caitlin, and the various internet memes, South park skits and continuous denial of the basic human rights everyone should be entitled to. I am not one to judge people on what they believe in; but the traditional idea that a person’s genital sex is the only indicator for of whom a person identifies to be is ill-informed. Gender is not specifically biologically based; each person’s social and psychological state is often the deciding factor for who people really are.
MTV to the rescue!
There is no doubt that in society, traditional and contemporary beliefs are in debate and what we need to realise is that there a community of people who are facing discrimination because of these vastly different opinions. That is why the brilliant people at MTV have taken a bold step to put an end to gender based discrimination and created a genderless award. The idea was put forward to promote that gender doesn’t have anything to do with the performance that you put forward. MTV is a powerful gatekeeper for change on this social debate due to the ability they hold to put forward a positive message surrounding gender.
The moral panic towards this award and the transgender community is viewed as threat because some people are morally challenged by people with different ideas and values than themselves. Views including the idea that if a young child views a transgender person getting an award on T.V, then they will want to become transgender too. The award winner for 2017 Emma Watson, has always used her status as a celebrity to create a positive change for people everywhere. She explained while accepting the aware that to be an actor, you must have the ability to place yourself into somebody else’s shoes and there is no need to separate that ability into two different categories. Emma’s acceptance speech is a step forward for many highly popular award is a display of the discrimination that the trans community face at many awards ceremonies. Only time will tell if any other award ceremonies will follow in MTV’s courageous footsteps.