(ABC NEWS) – Viewers of the MTV Movie & TV Awards next month may notice a change in categories for the honors.
The music-centric network will no longer have different acting categories for each gender. Instead, actors and actresses will compete against each other, such as for best actor in a movie and best actor in a show.
The change follows MTV’s announcement last month that it would honor television shows and movies together in certain award categories such as for best villain and best tearjerker.
MTV president Chris McCarthy explained the decision to eliminate categories that divide one gender from another and TV from film Vulture.
“This audience actually doesn’t see male-female dividing lines, so we said, ‘Let’s take that down.’ They don’t see lines between theatrical releases and television — they just see it as great content — so let’s take that down,” he said. “And they don’t really care whether it’s scripted, reality or a theatrical release. They just want to celebrate great content.”
With the change, MTV appears to be following the lead of the Grammy Awards, which did away with gender-specific categories for singers, collaborations and groups back in 2011.
It has yet to be seen if other awards shows, such as the Academy Awards, will follow suit.
Gabriel Rossman, a professor of sociology at UCLA, talked to ABC News in February about the basis for Hollywood’s gender-specific categories for acting awards.
“If you didn’t have the awards segregated by sex, it would probably lead to a male-dominated awards, and that in turn would lead to a culture backlash,” he said.
A 2016 report on diversity in the entertainment industry USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found in an analysis of 109 movies released in 2014 that women received only 28.7 percent of speaking roles in the films. That breaks down to 2.5 male speaking roles for every one female role.
“You could easily imagine an #OscarsSoMale hashtag on Twitter,” Rossman told ABC News. “It would just get ugly, and by separating it so that we have best actor and best actress, it means that we don’t have to think about it that much. It’s ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ not ‘When Sally Met Harry.'”
The MTV Movie & TV Awards, which will be hosted by “Workaholics” star Adam DeVine, airs on Sunday, May 7, at 8 p.m. on MTV.