Actor Rose McGowan may be best known for her role on the modern witch series Charmed, but now the Hollywood veteran is taking on a much more personal role – activist.
In 2015, McGowan spoke out against a film Adam Sandler was shooting with Netflix, which included a casting call for women wearing ‘push up bras’ and ‘form fitting leggings.’
casting note that came w/script I got today. For real. name of male star rhymes with Madam Panhandler hahahaha I die pic.twitter.com/lCWGTV537t
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) June 18, 2015
It was a move that reportedly got McGowan dropped by her agent, but brought support from other actors, including Heather Matarazzo.
I wish more women would speak up and help in this industry. It can’t just be a few of us. Put fear aside and take a stand.Stop being selfish
— Heather Matarazzo (@HeatherMatarazz) June 25, 2015
McGowan made headlines again this past August when she used her platform to speak out against US presidential candidate Donald Trump, asking the media to stop giving Trump publicity by writing about his campaign.
Now McGowan is once again turning her attention to sexism in Hollywood, this time in the form of an apology, of sorts, to fellow actor Shannen Doherty. Both actors appeared on the series Charmed in the early 2000s, with McGowan added to the cast after Doherty’s departure in 2001. Doherty was largely painted as the ‘bad girl’ of TV in the 1990s and 2000s, with reports of her leaving Beverly Hills, 90210 due to clashes with producer Aaron Spelling, and her Charmed exit the result of tension with co-star Alyssa Milano.
McGowan and Doherty, who has been publicly battling breast cancer since 2015, were often cited as enemies, a role that McGowan writes in a new Instagram post was enforced by the studio heads and the media.
In the lengthy letter posted yesterday, McGowan writes that she was scared of losing her job over being labeled a ‘bad girl’ like Doherty, a comparison that caused McGowan to not see that her fellow actor was being vilified for standing up for herself. “Shannen, we didn’t know it yet, but we were the good ones,” writes McGowan. “Two boss young women that scared the ‘faux-liberals in provincial Hollywood, for that sin we got burned at the media stake, egged on by Hollywood who believe the press they start.”
McGowan’s letter shines a light on the frequent pitting of women against one another in Hollywood, while also taking on the double standard demonization of women using their voice and taking charge of their careers.
Here’s hoping McGowan’s letter will inspire change within Hollywood and in other industries.
Dear @theshando Someone made this of us & I wanted to share it with you as it made me reflect. We have a funny history. As young women we were pitted against each other for society’s pleasure. The rules of Hollywood engagement brainwashed into us were truly vile. The men & brainwashed women in our business made it so we couldn’t be friends, I regret that. We were cast in this weird fake reality show where we were supposed to be enemies. I resented it greatly. I regret not being awake enough to articulate this to you at the time. Fear was drilled into me from day one in this town & you were the barometer by which my behavior was judged. I was under a microscope, one false move and I’d be branded ‘difficult’ just like you. I think we all know what happens when girls here get out of line. I willfully remained enigmatic & unengaged. The Bad Girl Shaming you received at the hands of the media was merciless. Global media shaming is real AF, as you know. Fuck them all & their machine, too. You cast a long shadow over my life. We were both cast in a fake real life role, that of the Bad Girl. I had to prove I wasn’t as bad as you or I’d get the axe, too. But we were never the bad ones, it was them., the Beige Brained White Dudes in Charge. Well fuck them. Damn them for fucking with our minds & careers just because their misogynistic belief systems couldn’t sanction two strong females in a traditionally subservient role- actress. I refused to give them the cat fight they so wanted. Shannen, we didn’t know it yet, but we were the good ones. Two boss young women that scared the ‘faux-liberals in provincial Hollywood, for that sin we got burned at the media stake, egged on by Hollywood who believe the press they start. There was a strongly inferred threat of me being blacklisted in tv as I’d been in film. Instead of understanding that we were a different breed, they tried to crush us, but they couldn’t. I send you strength. ⚒🛡#rosearmy #BRAVE #shannendoherty #typos4life