In June of this year Rose McGowan shocked Hollywood when she tweeted a picture of a script she was reading.
The image in question – showing a note from a casting director about the outfit she would be required to wear – revealed the sad truth about expectations for female stars.
Speaking out about sexism in the film industry in this very public way cost McGowan her agent and her acting career, but it did expose an issue that has gone unnoticed in Hollywood for years.
Since McGowan exposed this script more actresses have chosen to stand up against blatant sexism including J-Law who recently spoke about the gender pay gap.
In an interview with the Sunday Times this weekend, McGowan gave us more of an insight into the difficulties facing female actresses in the male dominated film industry.
“I was very uncomfortable in that life [as an actress],” McGowan confessed. As a result of the difficulties she encountered, the actress – who is most known for her role in Charmed – has now turned her back on acting to focus on singing and directing instead.
McGowan spoke frankly about the realities of fame in the interview.
“I had a publicist who said, ‘If you ever look particularly good that day, give us a call and we’ll send down a photographer so we can get controlled shots,’” she said.
When asked about her infamous outfit for the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, McGowan explained, “That was a big f*** you.”
“It was ballsy and weird, but I got shamed. I got shamed for years,” McGowan admitted.
“Like Madonna says, ‘I’m not your bitch, don’t put your shit on me.’ If I feel like walking down the red carpet like that. I am certainly going to.” McGowan said of her attitude to take control of situation.
From the way McGowan explains it, Hollywood seems like a pretty cruel and unfair place for women.
“Agents double deal on everything, because if they want to get their [more lucrative] client a job, they’re not going to protect you,” McGowan said.
And publicists are just as bad.
“They also throw the smaller fish to wolves. They’ll leak an item so a bigger item get’s squashed. Like ‘I’ll give you a made-up story about Rose, if you protect my other client.”
So why do these women put up with this? McGowan reckons it’s desperation to succeed.
“They want to be famous, they want to be on screen, so they ‘deserve’ the bullying,” she explains.
Thank goodness then that we have women like McGowan who are standing up and speaking out.
By Elizabeth Bennett