Rose McGowan – “Hateful” in a Flash

Rose McGowan got heckled by some insane transwoman the other day, and the video went viral. Apparently this was because McGowan had made some “transphobic” comments in an interview with RuPaul. Basically, Rose talked about how transwomen were different than other women because they didn’t have the same biological experiences (like periods, etc.) As these were obviously empirically true statements, I suppose it’s not surprising they caused such outrage. Of course transwomen are not the same as biological women. For one thing, they are born with penises. So that’s one difference right there. Anyone could have learned this much by simply watching Kindergarten Cop.

I mean how dumb/insane do you have to be to go after someone like Rose McGowan because she “doesn’t do enough for transwomen” or whatever. Even the great-hearted among us can only politely entertain this kind of stupidity with a straight face for so long.

In all honesty, this is exactly the kind of thing that pushes people over the edge. You go through life walking on eggshells, careful to be respectful and not offend others, but you discover it’s never enough. So you just stop caring and even begin to take pleasure in offending them. Others who haven’t had quite reached their breaking point yet (some perhaps never will) wonder how you can say such “insensitive,” and “hurtful” things. but they don’t realize how you’ve come to be desensitized. Tell people enough times that they are racist/sexist/transphobic no matter what they say or do, and they will eventually decide it’s not worth trying to appease the unappeasable. This doesn’t mean they will subsequently go out of their way to be huge assholes to everyone, but they might very well stop caring so much if sharing their honest opinion or joke causes people to think they’re huge assholes. Rose McGowan’s not there yet. She’s still under the illusion that there’s a place for “white feminists” within the intersectional community. There isn’t really. These people will never accept them as their own, and the behavioral demands and speech parameters will only get more unreasonable as time goes on.

Admittedly, I haven’t seen too many of Rose McGowan’s movies. I vaguely remember watching The Doom Generation, but since I watched it at a girl’s house with a few friends on some random night in 1997, I wasn’t really paying attention. It seemed like a movie that was trying too hard to seem hip and edgy. Rose also had a small role in the movie Encino Man, which I never realized until I noticed it in her Wikipedia (it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie.) Perhaps, in the case of Encino Man was just too preoccupied with Megan Ward, who had already left a lasting impression on my psyche with her demonic mirror seduction scene in Amityville 1992: It’s About Time. Oh, and I forgot that McGowan had a supporting role in Scream also, where she gets killed while trying to escape through a doggy door.

The only real Rose McGowan centric film I’ve seen in its entirety is Devil in the Flesh, a throwaway direct-to-video “erotic” thriller from 1998 where McGowan plays,a psycho teenage girl who becomes infatuated with her teacher and tries to murder his fiancee (after successfully killing several other people.) I recall being highly annoyed with this film as a young man, because it did not deliver any payoffs on the sexual tension building up in the plot. It fell clearly into the “more tease than sleaze” category. People who make these kinds of erotic thriller movies need to realize that the viewers aren’t rooting for the good guys (or the bad guys for that matter.) They’re rooting for sex scenes to happen involving the most physically attractive characters in the movie, prefaced by an underlying sexual tension within the context of a forbidden premise. The viewer wants to see the teacher succumb to his psycho student’s advances (after resisting at first.) The viewer doesn’t care about him being a good guy and saving the day by rescuing his cheesy fiancee. Not in this kind of movie anyway. As a side note, in the sequel Devil in the Flesh II (this time starring Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) the girl does manage to successfully seduce her teacher, (albeit with the same predictably disappointing ending) so in this sense it is the superior film.

Fast forward 20 years and these days McGowan has a shaved head because she no longer wants to be seen as a “sex object.” It might seem strange coming from someone who wrote the paragraphs above, but I can’t say that I blame her really. Even average everyday girls get hit on or have to fend off creeps in pretty much any situation where human interaction can possibly occur. I can only imagine that for an actress with a public image as a sex symbol, this kind of attention would be amplified to unimaginable levels. At some point a girl may want to be noticed for something else, anything else. Not only that, but McGowan herself has (allegedly) been subjected to actual abuse by Harvey Weinstein and probably a few others as well.

So she’s a hardcore feminist activist now and an icon. Good for her I suppose. As a cynical, somewhat apathetic guy I find her interviews painful to watch, with all the excessive, misplaced self-aggrandizement and melodramatic talk about “bravery,” “revolutions” etc. It all comes across really awkward and delusional to anyone outside of her own head. It is also pretty lame to use “Brave” as the title of your autobiographical book about yourself. Still, I can’t bring myself to dislike her. For all her bombastic bluster, she still seems like a nice girl and a sincere person. This is a girl that had a rough time and went through some bad stuff and just wants to break free of all the bullshit. Anyone that displays an ability to stop giving a fuck about conforming to groupthink on any level always has the potential to go further, even if they ultimately choose to just embrace a bunch of other dumb stuff instead.

Looking a High Horse Rider in the Mouth

I hadn’t planned on writing anything about the Harvey Weinstein story, because: A. Tabloid celeb scandals and showbiz gossip don’t really interest me that much, and B. It’s obvious just by looking at Weinstein that he’s a rather archetype sleazy producer / pervitronic executive type (though admittedly weirder in his fetishes. I mean what kind of guy gets off on having a girl watch him masturbate.) The guy apparently must get turned on by seeing women sit there with confused looks on their faces, as he prevents them from leaving and insists they stay and watch him do things in his bathrobe or whatever:

“Look babe, don’t move. Don’t leave. Just sit there and watch me eat this croissandwich. Yeah that’s it, please don’t leave, or you’ll never work in this town again.”

Anyway, the guy is obviously the scum of the Earth. Still, typical of the times we live in, a lot of people can’t help but overreach. Some of these actresses need to get off their high horses. How convenient that twenty years later after they’ve become big stars and made their millions, these actresses come out of the woodwork to lecture everyone else that ever worked with Weinstein (or worse, they will blame “men” in general.) Many of these women, once aspiring young starlets seeking fame and fortune, were perfectly willing to put up with Weinstein’s sleaziness if it meant furthering their careers and getting breaks in the industry. Some of them accepted settlements and payoffs, which ultimately did nothing to prevent other young girls from being victimized. Now, suddenly they are shaming other actors and directors that have worked with Weinstein for continuing to work with him, associate with him or simply for not condemning him in strong enough terms. Perhaps these actors and directors simply saw it as a matter for the legal system and didn’t wish to become busybodies in everyone else’s affairs that didn’t concern them. I used to live in West Hollywood and have known tons of sleazy and sketchy guys over the years. At the end of the day, there isn’t a whole lot you can do except teach young people how not to be naive in these situations, and hope they notice the red flags and are smart enough to recognize these predators and call them out when they see them. You can warn girls a hundred times about how scuzzy some guy is, and some of them will still go along with his slimy program, either because there is something to be gained, or they trust their own intuition over your advice. If a producer attempts to engage in non-consensual acts with you, simply call your attorney and call the police. Anything less than that, and other people privy to the gossip are likely to assume whatever happened must not have been that big of a deal to you. Even if the cops ultimately won’t do anything due to lack of evidence, it sends a message to the perp that you mean business, and you’re not someone he wants to fuck with.

The “overreach” aspect in the Weinstein scandal is like what we see in other areas of public outrage overreach, like politics and free speech. It is not enough to simply disagree with someone’s political beliefs. You must disavow the person, condemn them and formally disassociate yourself with them, even if it is a member of your own family. You’re considered a “nazi” or “white supremacist,” even if you just support the right for controversial opinions to be expressed and debated non-violently. “So and so made this offensive statement or joke. Will you call on him to apologize? DO YOU DISAVOW?!”

I have a genuine respect for women like Ambra Battilana, and found myself rooting for her while I listened to the recording of her rejecting Weinstein’s crude advances and his attempts to manipulate her. She acted the way you wish every person would act in these scenarios. She stood firm and held her ground, willing to pay the price and absorb whatever negative impact it would on her career. Many of these other women though, are hypocrites…because they essentially took the “deal,” went along with it, kept quiet and are now complaining long after they have reaped the rewards. Now that it is good for their careers to speak out on the matter, they have become more vocal, self-righteous and sanctimonious than ever.

“It’s time for straight talk, Kim. It’s not my fault you posed for Harmon. It’s not my fault you posed for Larry in the nude. You did it. It’s your problem. It’s pretty late to act prissy and prim. All you kids make me sick! You act like little Miss Muffet, and down inside you’re dirty. Do you hear me? Dirty! You’re greedy and self centered and think you can get away with anything. You’re no better than the girl who sells herself to a man. You’re worse, because you’re a hypocrite. And now little Miss Muffet is in trouble, and she’s all outraged virtue. Well you listen and you listen well, you’re damaged merchandise and this is a fire sale. You walk outta here and your reputation won’t be worth fifteen cents. You’ll do as I tell you! Do you hear me? You’ll do as I tell you!” -Lawrence Aberwood ((Aberman,))

Scum of the Earth, 1963.

Brandon Adamson is the author of Beatnik Fascism