The depiction of women in film and the lack of women behind the scenes in the film industry, is a crucial discussion that is finally at the forefront of popular culture. For decades, women's stories have been told by men, with male directors, screenwriters, and producers dominating the scene and limiting women's control over how we present our own experiences. In an incredible speech at Wifey.tv's festival of female-directed shorts, Transparent creator Jill Soloway made an incredibly feminist speech, explaining how it is time for a "matriarchal revolution" in film.
Soloway explained that there is currently a "state of emergency for the female voice," with men and people in power seeking to silence women every step of the way. She specifies the source of the problem to be the male gaze — the fact that regardless of how enlightened a male director is, he will almost always approach the film with more empathy for the male character. The way to combat this is for women to pick up the camera or the pen; to shun the haters and tell our stories on our own terms.
Here are the most empowering and badass feminist quotes from Soloway's epic speech. (The whole speech is available over on The Moveable Fest.)
When She Explained How The Male Gaze Is Inescapable
I really started thinking about how the male gaze is a privilege perpetuator. 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.
Oftentimes the male gaze is not deliberate, but simply intrinsic to a male director. Regardless of how progressive or how educated a male director is, he might not even realize the privilege of his perspective.
When She Explained How The Female Experience Is Portrayed As "Divided"
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. That divide is kind of a wound that’s really harming our entire planet right now. The divided feminine is the issue.
Male filmmakers and authors so often split their characters so they fit one of two molds, as Soloway says. There is never any nuance: women are never both saintly and sexual, they have to be one or another. These binaries are as harmful as they are unrealistic.
When She Explained The Importance Of Having Female Directors
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. It’s not just a matter of our numbers.
The situation is so dire — and women's voices are so consistently silenced — that every time a woman shares her voice, it heals the world.
When She Encouraged Us Not to Give Into Our Insecurities
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. You think there’s something wrong with your voice all the time.
Even the most successful people get anxious — a Golden Globe doesn't kill your inner critic. It is normal to feel insecure, and there's no reason to feel ashamed of it.
When She Explained How Society Shames Female Desire
We are ashamed for having desire in our culture. 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.
Directing is about expressing and presenting one's desire. By making films, women combat this toxic notion.
When She Pointed Out The Irony Of Women Being Dissuaded From Making Art
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. All they told us our whole life is we’re too emotional to do any real jobs, yet they’ve taken the most emotional job, which is art making about human emotions and said we’re not capable of it.
Men have denounced being "emotional" while capitalizing and dominating the market of emotions.
When She Calls For the Revolution
The world, the matriarchal revolution, is dependent on female voices and speaking out loud. Please keep making things.
Amen, Jill. We ARE the revolution. Keep making art, and keep inspiring the next generation.
Images: Getty Images (8)