Yesterday the 16th Annual Webby Award Winners, i.e., for the year of 2011, were announced, with more than one hundred categories like Activism, Games, Humor, Science, Weird, and Law. Most Webby awards are not given to individuals, but rather to things like websites, blogs, ad campaigns, videos, and internet capable mobile apps from all around the internet. However, the Webbys give out Special Achievement Awards each year to specific people who they feel did particularly interesting things with or on the internet, typically with more standard Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony-like categories like Best Artist, Lifetime Achievement, Breakout of the Year, and Person of the Year, depending on who the Webbys see fit to honor and what they did. Last year, honorees included Dan Savage, for the It Gets Better Campaign, Martin Cooper for making the first mobile phone, and even the supercomputer Watson. This year, they include an award for Webby Actresses of the Year, jointly given to Juliette Lewis and Graydon Sheppard (co-creator of Shit Girls Say) for their work in Shit Girls Say. Graydon Sheppard, to clarify, is a man.
Lets talk about why this is problematic.