'Transparent' Creator Jill Soloway Speaks Out Against The Male Gaze And Sexism In Film
In her introduction to a set of female-directed shorts playing at the Cinefamily in Los Angeles over the weekend, Jill had some on point words for the crowd, made up largely of female filmmakers. Jill shared her thoughts on the male gaze, female desire, and the importance of women working together, especially in the film industry. Here are some of the highlights:
On the male gaze: "In the Roger Ebert documentary [Life Itself], he talks about films being an empathy machine, so whoever the protagonist is, they're going to have empathy and when men are making movies about men, they're creating more empathy for the male gaze. So the male gaze, because the men are subjects, necessarily divides us, divides women into either/or —the madonna or the whore, the slut or the good girl or the many, many ways in which women are divided to be seen as objects when the male character is the subject."
On creating solidarity among female artists: "Obviously, besides trying to bring other women into your work, when you pick up the camera and share your voice, it heals the world. It's not funny anymore what's going on with us. It's immoral, the way that we are kept from our voices."
On confidence: "I wake up in the middle of the night thinking, 'Don't do what you're doing. Don't write that thing.' I feel this way all the time. So I just want all the female creators to keep an eye out for that thing that says don't do it, it's not good enough, it's not ready and you're not right, and know that that's the uninvited guest that's always going to be there in your unconsciousness. That's a product of growing up other, of growing up as not the subject."
On desire: "Women are shamed for having desire for anything — for food, for sex, for anything. We're asked to only be the object for other people's desire. There's nothing that directing is about more than desire. It's like, 'I want to see this. I want to see it with this person. I want to change it. I want to change it again.' It's like directing is female desire over and over again, and film is the capturing of human emotions and somehow men were able to swindle us into believing that that is their specialty."
On insecurities: "I just want to make sure you know I'm always plagued by insecurities. The insecurities are always going to be there. Notice them when you're there writing, when you're trying to get your thing out there, when you're setting up your night where you're showing your films. It's always going to be there. The world, the matriarchal revolution, is dependent on female voices and speaking out loud. Please keep making things."