The MTV Movie & TV Awards switched to gender-neutral categories on May 7, awarding Emma Watson the top acting prize for playing the role of Belle in "Beauty and the Beast" (video below).
Watson was given the award by gender-neutral, non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon, notes The Guardian. Watson praised MTV for not recognizing gender in her acceptance speech:
The first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex says something about how we perceive the human experience. MTV’s move to create a genderless award for acting will mean something different to everyone.
But to me, it indicates that acting is about the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. And that doesn’t need to be separated into two different categories. This is very meaningful to me.
Watson, who defeated male actors Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy, thanked Dillon for "educating me in such an inclusive, patient and loving way."
Millie Bobby Brown won the genderless TV acting award for "Stranger Things" over Emilia Clarke in "Game of Thrones" and Donald Glover in "Atlanta."
The BBC notes that some on Twitter were not happy with Watson's speech or the genderless awards:
Emma Watson is very annoying, PC gone absolutely crazy.
[EmmaWatson] is annoying!! Worse things to be worried about right now than gender in awards.
Stop pretending "gender-neutral" awards are progressive. As long as sexism exists, "gender neutrality" is a myth.
Former CNN host Piers Morgan unloaded on his fellow Brit in the Daily Mail:
Every time I hear actress -- sorry, gender-equal actor -- Emma Watson pontificate in public these days, I die just a little bit more ... But even by Ms. Watson’s standards of jabbering, PC-crazed nonsense, she’s now excelled herself....
Gender has become a very complex thing in modern society. But to me, it’s very simple. I come from the increasingly unfashionable school of thought that says there are just two genders: male and female. They are wonderfully similar and compatible in many ways, and very different in others.
I am 100 percent in favor of full gender equality between men and women, and fully supportive of those who wish to transgender because they feel they were born the wrong sex. But I am 100 percent opposed to the concept of there being 157 different ways (at last count) to "self-identify" one’s gender, and equally opposed to the consequential rising demand for "gender neutrality."
...Last night, I noticed Ms Watson wore quite an eye-catching racy outfit to accept her gender-neutral award. Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate if she had worn gender-neutral clothes? Or would that not, as she well knows, have garnered her the global media coverage that she so aggressively coverts with her body -- as we saw when she recently went topless for Vanity Fair?
Morgan also notes that Watson played a female character in a film with the word "Beauty" in the title:
A more gender-specific role in a more gender-specific film it would be hard to find. Far from promoting feminism, as Ms Watson has comically tried to claim, it actually promotes old-school misogyny.
The title "Beauty" is the classic physical-based stereotype for women that Watson purports to abhor. Why did she not demand Beauty be changed to Ugly? Wouldn’t that have been a far more empowering feminist message to those women less aesthetically gifted than Ms. Watson?