Liv Hewson lays on the ground as Van in the show 'Yellowjackets'

‘Yellowjackets’ Liv Hewson Opts Out of Emmys Consideration Due to Outdated Gender Restrictions

With Emmy campaigns in full swing, fans of the critically acclaimed Showtime series Yellowjackets wondered which actors would be tapped for the nominations. Melanie Lynskey (who plays adult Shauna) and Christina Ricci (who plays adult Misty) were both nominated last year, so it was only a matter of time until Showtime announced their 2023 Emmy picks from the cast.

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However, one actor from the cast will be sitting out from the Emmys—According to Variety, Liv Hewson has decided to withdraw from consideration. Hewson, a non-binary actor who plays young Van, has been a shining star in their sophomore season as the scarred goalie and Showtime reportedly planned to submit them in the supporting acting category. For the uninitiated, Yellowjackets follows a girls’ soccer team in two timelines: one in which they try to survive in the woods after a plane crash and the other following their adult selves as they grapple with their trauma. Hewson’s Van is caught at a crossroads where the character is trying to be a loving and supportive girlfriend to fellow teammate Taissa, but is also growing increasingly fearful of the evil Tai could possibly possess.

In an interview with Variety, Hewson explained their decision to sit out of this year’s Emmy considerations even though they’re a key player on one of the biggest shows on television. “It would be inaccurate for me to submit myself as an actress,” they said. “It neither makes sense for me to be lumped in with the boys. It’s quite straightforward and not that loaded. I can’t submit myself for this because there’s no space for me.”

Hewson is not the first actor to call for gender-neutral award categories

This isn’t the first time a member of the LGBTQ community has spoken about shows like the Emmys not having gender-neutral categories. Emmy D’Arcy, who plays Rhaenyra Targaryen on the show House of the Dragon, spoke with E! News ahead of the Golden Globes and expressed how “surreal” it was to be nominated for Best Actress while being non-binary. They explained that they thought they had to “present as a woman in order to find success in this industry,” but that way of living was “sustainable” for them. They went on to say, “[So,] I stopped pretending. And weirdly at that point I got nominated for Best Actress for the Golden Globes, which is like beautifully ironic.”

The Crown’s Emma Corrin made similar statements last year, calling for acting awards to be merged in a single gender-neutral category. “I hope for a future in which that happens,” they told BBC News. “I don’t think the categories are inclusive enough at the moment.”

Billions actor Asia Kate Dillon also challenged Hollywood’s classifications when it comes to gendered nominations. Dillion, in a similar case to Hewson’s, was asked by Showtime as to which category they would like to be nominated in at the Emmys. After doing a bit of research, Dillion then penned a letter to the Television Academy asking for “more information from the Academy as to whether or not they use the word actor or actress to refer to assigned sex or identity, so that I could make the best decision for myself as to how I wanted to be submitted,” per Variety.

Some awards shows have progressed past gender-based awards. In 2021, The Gotham Awards decided to stop defining its categories by gender and the Independent Spirit Awards followed their lead a year later. And, surprisingly enough, the Grammys have been completely gender-neutral for a decade. But with progress comes pushback. Some inclusion advocates worry that if award shows decide to have more gender-neutral categories, cisgender white men might start dominating those as they already do with writing, directing, etc. In my opinion, that worry is not enough to stop campaigning for a few more gender-neutral awards. Cis men have been the biggest winners at award shows for decades and having more inclusion isn’t going to stop that phenomenon. Hewson said it best during their interview: “There is an implied fatalism there, which suggests that we’ve all agreed that equality is impossible. And that’s sad.”

Hewson also pointed out that Hollywood isn’t going to start “awarding best female and male director, or female or male cinematographer” because that “implicitly would be insulting.” Their final words on the matter really hit home on the matter of being a young non-binary performer in a gender-centric industry, “You can keep things as they are right now — I just won’t be participating.”

(featured image: Showtime)

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Kayla Harrington
Kayla Harrington (she/her) is a staff writer who has been working in digital media since 2017, starting at Mashable before moving to BuzzFeed and now here at The Mary Sue. She specializes in Marvel (Wanda Maximoff did nothing wrong!), pop culture, and politics. When she's not writing or lurking on TikTok, you can find Kayla reading the many unread books on her shelves or cuddling with one of her four pets. She's also a world class chef (according to her wife) and loves to try any recipe she can find.