In her recent interview with Variety, Transparent creator Jill Soloway indicts Hollywood’s prioritizing of the male gaze. She’s nominated for quite a few accolades for her creation and writing for the Amazon hit Transparent—but as the article points out, she is one of only three women “(vs. 20 men) nominated in top comedy or drama series writer-director categories.” Soloway thinks that’s because it is still expected that men are at the center of stories. “That means the male gaze — men as subject, women as object — is business as usual for men to be able to keep telling their stories from their point of view,” she said.
Soloway finds it imperative that successful men in film use their position to highlight the voices of women. “I really applaud Judd Apatow for, over the past few years, using his privilege to give access to people like Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer…They should be examples to other men who have power and give access to female creators that they admire,” she said.
In a similar way, Soloway uses her previous industry success and identity as a cis woman to elevate the stories of trans people. The story Soloway tells with Transparent is a unique one, based loosely on her own father coming out as a trans woman when she was in her late 70s. Although she said that the story is “almost 98 percent fictionalized,” the characters and feelings are real and representative of her family. Soloway said her parent and other family members have been pleased with the show, and that her sister has even written for it.
She has also made a special effort to have real trans people be included in the show’s production. “To accomplish that, Soloway enacted a ‘transfirmative action program,’ favoring the hiring of transgender candidates over nontransgender ones,” wrote The New York Times Magazine last summer. "I really want it so that there’s no moment, on the set, when trans people are being otherized by people in the crew because they don’t think there are any trans people listening." As of [August 2014], 20 trans people had been hired in the cast and crew, and more than 60 had been employed as extras.
We hope that Soloway’s efforts are reflected by others in the media, and we’re so glad that she’s using her platform to bring attention to important issues.
Image via IMDB & Amazon Prime