JILL SOLOWAY: Taking on the Patriarchy
Jill Soloway is on a mission to topple the patriarchy. The writer-producer-director is not asking politely for the patriarchy to lose its grip on storytelling. Instead, Soloway, who uses they/them pronouns, is charting their own path by creating revolutionary shows such as Transparent and I Love Dick.
Most film and TV viewers are accustomed to seeing the world through a male gaze, and Soloway is ready to do away with that. They taught an unforgettable master class on the topic of the "Female Gaze” at the Toronto Film Festival this year, where they delivered an iconic tongue twister about the cisgender straight white male gaze: “Protagonism is propaganda that protects and perpetuates privilege.” Soloway is not a complacent, passive director who simply accepts the boys' club politics of film and TV. They demand that women and queer people get an equal platform in an industry that continues to shut them out.
Soloway does that by creating incredible work — work that is feminist, work that is trans, work that is queer. Unapologetically so. After winning their second Emmy, Soloway did something unprecendented onstage. They yelled “Topple the patriarchy!” twice. This is no novelty. In January, Soloway and their girlfriend at the time, lesbian poet Eileen Myles, authored a radical feminist manifesto. The tongue-in-cheek manifesto called for an end to male governance for 50 years, which after Trump was elected does not seem like a bad idea.
They also wrote about banning men from art-making for half a century. Soloway doesn’t really mean it, but it’s meant to make a point — to highlight how much their industry is lacking in terms of inclusive storytelling. Soloway’s work produces multidimensional stories about women and queer people. If this was Soloway in 2016, then we can’t wait to see what they create in 2017. Their work is more important than ever now that we have a bigot-elect.