Transparent creator Jill Soloway on why The Kardashians are feminist heroes


In the latest installment of “Mavericks with Ari Melber” – a new digital series with MSNBC and NBC News THINK – Transparent creatorJill Soloway talks feminism, the Kardashians and more

In a new interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber, Jill Soloway talks about gender and queer identity, why the Kardashians are some of their favorite feminist icons, how men are still pitting women against each other in the #MeToo era (and why they give out French fries at the Emmys!).  

Select quotes from Ari’s interview with Jill Soloway: 

  • On Jill’s favorite show, The Kardashians“The show that I watch the most right now to learn about family is The Kardashians. That’s my favorite… A) it’s a matriarchy. It’s run by a women. I have a lot in common with Kylie and Kendall. I have a parent who transitioned. And, you know, this– it’s a bunch of people trying to get together and have fun. And I think it’s really just about getting together and trying to have fun. So, I just– I kind of just really love watching… the way they talk and care for each other. And I think it’s really just about getting together and trying to have fun.”
  • On feminism and femphobia“A lot of people are trying to get to the bottom of feminism and ask these questions. Who do we stand for? Do all women stand for each other… they’re always women who are highly feminine, there are women who are sex workers, there are women who use their femininity and their beauty as a way to make money, but in fact it’s just as valid a way to make money as any other way to make money. You know, Kylie is a billionaire businessman. Kim is an amazing artist and a director. She art directs photographs. These are all really, really talented people. But because I think that they have an awareness of how their beauty is– monetizable they end up getting shamed in popular culture. But I’m a huge fan of all of them. I think the divided feminine is a way that– men have unconsciously kept women competing with each other. Which would mean that women would say, “Yes, I’m a real fan of female entrepreneurs, but I hate Kylie Jenner.” So, the way that women are asked to turn on each other for access to male power is, I think, a real, big problem in our society.”
  • On toxic masculinity and the patriarchy: “I [hear a lot of] “What’s the difference between patriarchy and masculinity?” Or, “What’s the difference between patriarchy and toxic masculinity?”… “What are men supposed to do?” And, yes, I do think– toxic masculinity is something to fix. I don’t think you can really destroy patriarchy without destroying capitalism. They sort-of go hand-in-hand. You’re asking people to not want power. And– that’s not really possible in a capitalist world. But I think you can destroy toxic masculinity, which would mean that men would do things like pit women against one another, or only give power and privilege to women that they’re related to. That’s that common thing you hear when men say, “Would you want your wife/your daughter/your mother…” that’s really just about colonialism and ownership. It’s saying that if they have a financial interest in a woman then they’re interested in protecting her, and if they don’t they’re not.”
  • On Jill’s own transition and what happens after you win an Emmy: “The book is about my journey from identifying as straight, and identifying as fem and female and heterosexual and married, to moving through this journey when I was making the show and really surrounded by trans and gender-nonconforming people and then starting to use non-binary and gender-nonconforming pronouns myself. And it’s really also kind of behind the scenes, like, exactly what happens backstage after you win an Emmy. They handed me McDonald’s French fries and a cocktail.”
  • On The Brady Bunch and Transparent: “I noticed that The Brady Bunch and Transparent [are] really very similar. Like, they– these two shows have a lot in common actually. They’re both kind of idealized family. You know, The Brady Bunch was kind of funny. I think about The Brady Bunch now and I really wonder a lot about– the dad of the girls and the mom of boys.”

Mavericks with Ari Melber” takes viewers out of the newsroom and into the world of culture, passion and independence with some of the biggest names from music, film, television and more. Mavericks builds off the success of Ari Melber’s #FallBackFriday segments on MSNBC’s “The Beat,” in which celebrities, politicians and more come together to decide who needs to “fall back” each week.