After deciding to ditch gendered categories in an effort to be more inclusive, The Brit Awards are facing scrutiny now that this year’s nominees for “Artist of the Year” don’t include any women.
The annual showcase of British musical artists debuted its new policy last year. They replaced “Best Male” and Best Female” solo artist categories with the gender-neutral “Artist of the Year” in an attempt to be more inclusive.
A statement regarding the change said this change was meant to award “artists solely for their music and work, rather than how they choose to identify or as others may see them.”
But now for 2023, there aren’t any women on the list of contenders. The nominees for Artist of the Year include Central Cee, Fred Again, George Ezra, Harry Styles, and Stormzy.
This drew a lot of negative reactions online.
“So the Brits introduced an Artist of the Year category as a gender-neutral replacement for Best Male and Best Female Artist category – but this year all five nominees are blokes,” musician Tim Burgess shared in a tweet. “One step forward, three steps back.”
“In an astonishing turn of events, ‘gender neutral’ Brit awards have an all male nomination list for best artist of the year,” another user wrote. “Who could have expected this outcome from the deeply misogynist music industry embracing deeply misogynist gender identity theory?”
women famously do not do music https://t.co/ccKDMwxq9n
— Ben Smoke (@bencsmoke) January 12, 2023
A Brits spokesperson responded to the criticism with a statement shared with HuffPost U.K.
“Last year’s introduction of new categories aimed at making the awards even more inclusive, recognizing exceptional work rather than how artists identify,” the statement said, noting how Adele won the award last year when the gender-neutral categories debuted.
The message went on to say that while “it’s disappointing there are no nominations in the Artist of the Year category, we also have to recognize that 2022 saw fewer high profile women artists in cycle with major releases as was the case in 2021.”
Last year’s Brit Awards caused controversy of their own as Adele’s acceptance speech celebrated her womanhood, leading some gender theory activists to accuse her of transphobia.
“I understand why the name of this award has changed but I really love being a woman and being a female artist. I do!” Adele told a cheering crowd after being named Artist of the Year in 2022. “I’m really proud of us, I really, really am.”