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Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Awards Aren’t Sexist Like Emmy’s


Not too long ago the nominations for the Emmy’s were announced.  Excited TV casts, networks, streaming companies, directors, actors, and scriptwriters felt honored just to be considered for the prestigious television awards.  But I couldn’t help wonder why, in our era of “gender-means-nothing,” we still have awards for best actress.  Book awards never go down the gender route.  They just honor the best books and writers, period.

Sure we divide awards by task, such as editing, sound effects, direction, etc.  Sure we divide things by genre – comedy or drama.  We also distinguish between a single-episode special vs. a scripted series vs. a serial show, such as soaps, late-night comedy, or the daily news.  But why would we have an award based on one’s gender?  We don’t have one based on other demographics, such as race, age, height, weight, or religion.

I suspect that years ago there was a prejudice to assume that the best actors were men, simply because women, throughout society were wrongly stigmatized to be seen as somehow less than men.  So in light of this prejudice, they split the awards by gender.  Or maybe it was just another way to honor great performers and expand on the number of winners and nominees.  But it’s something that should be done away with.  To me, the award is sexist and sends the wrong message about the acting capabilities of men and women.

Are there more lead roles for men than women?  It depends on the genre, but men certainly dominate in movies revolving around superheroes, crime dramas, and history.  Is that why they created a separate award for women, because they simply don’t get as many major roles as men do, so they need to find a way to honor their work?

The book industry, to its credit, seems to be gender-neutral, though I imagine the GLBT community would like to see more bestsellers and books published where their lifestyle is featured more prominently.  But we don’t have our major book awards subdivided into best female writer or bet gay writer.  Why?  Because we simply value honoring the best talent and entertainment without having to discount for all types of groups and lifestyles.  That said, those involved in the awards process need to be unbiased in reviewing and honoring a diverse body of writers.

However, there are awards that separately and distinctively honor aspects of our society that are underappreciated by the mainstream awards.  For instance, the porn industry has its own awards, as their product is not acknowledged by the Oscars.  There are awards for all kinds of groups, including ones that honor the artistry of African Americans, the disabled, and children.

I’m glad that Pulitzers, Booker Awards, and National Book Awards are not given out based on gender.  The Emmys, Oscars, and other awards should follow suit.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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