The 2017 Emmy Awards don’t take place until September 17th, so there’s one more thing to put on your calendar which I won’t be watching. But submissions are already being accepted for the various award categories and this year Hollywood is running up against a problem which the glitterati helped to gin up themselves. There’s a program on Showtime named “Billions” (disclosure: I have never seen this show) which is attracting some awards circuit buzz, specifically for the supporting cast role played by Asia Kate Dillon. But there’s one problem… Dillon now “identifies” as a “gender non-binary person.” (Say that three times fast.) So does she get entered in the Supporting Actor or Supporting Actress category? Oops! (For the record, Dillon’s IMDB profile lists her as an “actress” so I’m going with “she” here. Sorry, not sorry.)
This puts the ever-so-tolerant and diverse Lords of Hollywood in a tough spot. After all the support you’ve shown for transgender rights, how do you still have these archaic awards categories sticking around? Dillon wrote them a letter asking for precisely that answer. (Washington Post)
So Dillon researched the language behind “actor” and “actress,” then wrote a letter to the Television Academy, questioning the current system.
“I’d like to know if in your eyes ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ denote anatomy or identity and why it is necessary to denote either in the first place?” Dillon asked in the letter, which was obtained by Variety.
Dillon then pointed out, “The reason I’m hoping to engage you in a conversation about this is because if the categories of ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ are in fact supposed to represent ‘best performance by a person who identifies as a woman’ and ‘best performance by a person who identifies as a man’ then there is no room for my identity within that award system binary.”
Added Dillon, “Furthermore, if the categories of ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ are meant to denote assigned sex I ask, respectfully, why is that necessary?”
Amazingly, the academy had an answer ready almost immediately and at least they seemed to think it was sufficient. They told the potential award winner that, “anyone can submit under either category for any reason.” Given that handy escape hatch, Dillon responded by saying she would compete in the “actor” category because it’s a “non-gendered word” that she uses, so it was probably okay. (But if that’s the case, isn’t “actress” still offensive? True, “actor” used to mean either sex, but “actress” has always been specific to women.)
This is yet another example of the linguistic and societal nonsense which erupts every time these “gender” issues arise, but it’s at least refreshing to see the proverbial gun barrel turned on the sanctimonious scolds in Hollywood. These are the people who lecture the rest of the country endlessly while engaging in some of the worst racism, sexism and every other ism imaginable on a regular basis. But it’s also an opportunity to once again ask the question of how this brave new world of “gender” (dealt with in complete denial of science) is supposed to deal with the subject of competition.
We’ve long had standards of competition which break down into categories based on gender or sex (which mean the same thing, no matter what our SJW betters try to insist). In their eyes, should there be a distinction between men and women for awards in acting? Just saying you can be nominated in either category you wish doesn’t really address the underlying question. And what of other competitive environments? We have these distinctions for very good reasons. Shouldn’t they be insisting that the women compete in the same Olympic competitions with the men in fields of boxing, track and field, weight lifting and swimming? I’m guessing you’ll be hearing a deafening silence out of that community on this question because it would represent that last time that a woman won a gold medal in virtually anything.
Even in the less physical (or completely intellectual) fields we run into problems. Take chess for example. It’s difficult to imagine an endeavor less connected to physical strength or other bodily attributes. Did you know that there’s a separate women’s category for the world championships? Women are allowed to compete in the general world championships, but how do we explain the fact that there has never been a female world chess champion going all the way back to the early 1800s?
Men and women are different. We figured that out pretty early on in our societal evolution and make accommodations for those differences in competitive environments. And Hollywood has been doing it for ages as well in their various awards ceremonies. If you truly think this is some oppressive, evil notion, then the entertainment industry should put their money where their mouth is and just have a single “Best Performer” award in each category. (Leading, supporting, comedy, drama, etc.) Then let the massive food fight begin over how that plays out and the rest of us will sit back with our overpriced theater popcorn and enjoy the ensuing show.