Rose McGowan is Problematic and We Have to Talk About it
Social progress is always good, right? Speaking out against the wrongs women face everyday is step in the right direction, but what happens when those who fear and reject progress reverse the change? With every moment of success the women’s movement has seen, there has been a “backlash” in order to prevent further progress.
Feminism in the 70s brought about politics of the body. In 1972, the Supreme Court case Baird v. Eisenstadt legalized birth control and with the passing of Roe v. Wade in 1973, it seemed like women were free to choose what to do with their own bodies. Throughout the 70s, women increasingly reported progress and felt that their status was improving.
But that began to change by the 80s and continued to get worse when the United Stated entered the Reagan era. Women were beginning to feel the status of their sex beginning to diminish. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saw a 25% increase in claims of sexual harassment. There was also an increase in women complaining of male mistreatment and unequal relationships. Male favorability among women dropped 20% to just 50% in 1990, an attitude that changed over the span of 20 years. Giving women the false security of equality and working under the pretenses of a successful women’s movement made feminism dispensable.
While boasting equality, society was working to undermine the changes and diminish the women’s movement. Backlash on women’s rights is toxic and destroys the few victories women fought to overcome. The vitriolic counterattacks on women’s progress and the movement reinforces the notion of false pretenses of equality, and puts a spotlight on the fact the motions that allowed women to rise to different position are also the ones that push them back down.
This is what gives women insecurities and anxieties that, according to Betty Friedan, “have no name”: a contradicting and misogynistic society that feeds on the vulnerability of women. Consistent badgering of woman on woman is the most violent scourge produced by society.
And we see this behavior in society today, particularly with self-proclaimed feminist Rose McGowan. During the uprising of sexual harassment allegations against men in various industries, McGowan went public with rape allegations against Harvey Weinstein. She was one of the first women to address the problems with Weinstein, and has not been silent against others she believes were enablers.
Rose specifically targeted Meryl Streep, claiming she knew about Weinstein for a while but neglected to say anything. Streep has repeatedly denied the claims and said she never knew. But now that she was made aware, she publicly condoned Weinstein for his actions.
Streep attended the Golden Globes, which was lauded as an accurate expression of women speaking out against sexual harassment. After months of the viral #MeToo movement, and celebrities claiming “Time’s Up,” most women are feeling a positive reaction from society.
The Red Carpet was a sea of black as celebrities wore the color to protest sexual harassment in Hollywood. Female speakers at the event mentioned the callous behavior of men and spokes words of empowerment to women. Oprah’s speech received several standing ovations, and cries of “Oprah 2020” were all over social media. As if that will solve all our problems.
Seeing celebrities in black was a powerful statement because it keeps the conversation alive. But McGowan was not impressed. She blasted Streep on Twitter, urging her to wear Marchesa, a brand owned by Weinstein’s ex-wife Georgina Chapman. I wrote an article about Amber Tamblyn calling McGowan out for publicly criticizing other women, but there are many issues with bringing up Marchesa that have to be addressed.
First of all, wearing black in protest is not being an enabler. Rather it signifies that an injustice is occurring and awareness has to be continuously spread. It’s just like holding a sign or wearing a pin. It demonstrates personal awareness.
Second of all, mentioning Marchesa suggests that Chapman was involved in Weinstein’s behavior in some way. According to the Daily Mail, friends of Weinstein and Chapman claimed their marriage was to promote the brand. Chapman quickly distanced herself from Weinstein after news of the allegations, but now she and her brand are tainted.
And thirdly, claiming that women are being enablers to the cause and that their silence is shameful is what actually hurts the cause. Shifting the spotlight of blame on to other women is not productive and instead creates hostility when there should be understanding. Not showing up the Golden Globes (as McGowan did), is being silent.
However, she was oddly okay with having a time slot dedicated to promoting her new show on E!, Citizen Rose. I’m not going to promote that at all, so that’s all I’m saying about it.
There is one lingering issue with Rose McGowan that makes it difficult for me to see her as the pioneer of our times, as many are making her out to be. Well, let’s be real. She is definitely guiding that narrative as she created her own #RoseArmy hashtag. That one issue is haunting, depressing, manipulative, and hypocritical. Oh, is it hypocritical.
Rose McGowan is known for her work on Charmed, but she was also in several movies. One movie in particular stands out in her filmology. In 2011, McGowan starred in Rosewood Lane, a poorly rated pathetic excuse for a thriller.
However, the movie itself is not what makes her hypocritical, but rather McGowan’s commitment to the director. Director Victor Salva was convicted of child molestation in 1988, but of course was able to continue directing films post-conviction. The fact that he is a man and able to do that is an issue for another time.
When faced with questions about working with Salva, knowing his past, McGowan remained silent. Hmmmm. In an interview with LGBT news and entertainment source Advocate Magazine, McGowan defended Salva and ignored his past. According to Medium, McGowan said, “Yeah, I still don’t really understand the whole story or history there, and I’d rather not, because it’s not really my business. But he’s an incredibly sweet and gentle man, lovely to his crew, and a very hard worker.”
So Meryl Streep deserves to be dragged on Twitter because of the assumption she remained silent about Weinstein? Yet, McGowan can work with a convicted child molester, excuse his behavior, AND call him “sweet and gentle”?
There are a few inconsistencies with McGowan’s standards of morality. It seems like she has placed herself on the highest tier and is now focusing on keeping other women below her. Sounds like a power move to me.