Beginning in 1984 the annual MTV Video Music Awards have had their share of dramatic performances and character moments. As the channel’s largest annual televised event, the music awards present MTV with the opportunity to premiere major announcements to their largest target audience of the year. On some occasions it’s the debut of a movie trailer or a music video, band reunion or shock performances; whatever the unveiled product is, MTV has its eyes fixed on mass exposure and broad appeal.
This year, MTV decided to take a stand on the precipice of post modern discourse and try to bridge the gap between conformists and nonconformists by changing the title of its signature award. The “Moon Man”, as it has been known since the award’s inception in 1984, has been the prize trophy awarded to individual winners in their respected nominated category. The choice of “Moon Man” as the award statue was mimicked after the introductory clips of 12 men walking on the moon MTV would broadcast during its genesis in the early to late 80’s. Thus, the Moon Man became the official mascot for MTV both as a symbol and a tangible recognition of achievement in award ceremony settings.
Last week, it was announced by MTV President Chris McCarthy that the moniker of the “Moon Man” would be changed to “Moon Person.”
Speaking with the New York Times in an interview, McCarthy said, “Why should it be a man? It could be a man, it could be a woman, it could be transgender, it could be nonconformist.”
McCarthy states in the interview that the awards show, available for broadcast on 79.2% of American household televisions, has suffered a 5-year decline in ratings and that decline has prompted the Viacom owned company to do all it can to reverse the trend of fleeting audiences. The company hopes that the change will appeal to young adults and the channel can be seen as inclusive, resulting in a more diverse and perhaps a larger populated audience.
The change in ceremonial statue gender follows MTV’s earlier decision to dissolve the separation between actors and actresses, doing away with gender isolated categories at their MTV Movie Awards.