'I've never had a relationship with any sisterhood': Rose McGowan powerfully asks women to take a hard look in the mirror


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Rose McGowan created a seismic change in the entertainment industry and beyond when she came out against the ‘monster’ who abused at the beginning of her career. Powerfully in her memoir BraveRose does not give this ‘monster’ a name but her words and experiences have taken on a life of their own, helping those who have suffered at the hands of similar individuals stand up and let their voices finally be heard.

It is just over a year since the #MeToo movementflooded the media and a movement was born that sought to knock down the patriarchal power structures in our society that protect and fuel abuse. But Rose does not resonate with this movement, ‘Me-too was never my thing,’ and felt like fellow actresses wearing black dresses on the red carpet at last year’s Golden Globeswas, ‘dancing on our graves.’

Here on International Women’s day, Rose sits down with GLAMOUR’S Josh Smith to powerfully talk about the ghosts that still haunt her and poses the questions we all need to keep on asking so we can call become Brave

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'Brave' is such a strong, powerful title. What do you think are the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in order to become brave?

It’s feeling the fear and doing it anyway. That’s how you stay brave and get brave. A lot of the time your mind will tell you to do the easier, softer thing because it makes everyone more comfortable in the short term. But in the long term every time you give that part of yourself away, you’re lessening yourself, you’re not as vibrant or as brave of a being. So, I think it’s better to lean into the fear and be like you know I am scared, guess what I’m going to do it anyway.

What have you learnt from leaning into the fear?

That there’s a lot to be afraid of but I’ve also learnt that I can withstand huge storms.

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What does ‘being empowered’ mean to you?

Being empowered to me means knowing your own power. One of the things that I do regularly is make a list of all my fears and then what I would if I weren’t afraid and that gives me a really good roadmap to go on. We can survive almost anything, and we will be stronger for it. The reality is, yes you can do it even everything around you or other people are telling you to be scared because society really implants fear. It really likes to do that to people and I disagree with that wholeheartedly.

Is there fear that regularly features on that list?

Probably. I was a homeless teenager so I think being homeless scares me a lot and I kind of made decisions with my life, career decision, decisions with people I was with based on this really kind of deep, grinding core of fear that I had never really addressed and finally one day I was like ok if I was going to be homeless, I would work that out.

I was looking at the press coverage you were getting when everything came out and that level of extreme sexism – it runs through every story about you. Where do you think we’ve got to with sexism in our society today?

You know I mean I feel like I’m the posterchild for people who’ve been dealt with sexism. I’ve got a real extra helping of it in this lifetime. It’s ugly, it’s stupid, it’s basic and it’s boring. I was raised in a commune where I didn’t have mirrors for the first ten years of my life. That gave me a superpower. I was not raised as a gender or as a race.

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You call the women who have come out against you, ‘female misogynists.’ How has your relationship with the sisterhood changed and evolved throughout your life?

Well I have never had a relationship with any sisterhood. I was a very beautiful young woman and I was very much hated by a lot of girls and women at almost every, I went to 10 or 11 different schools in 11 years. What it taught me was that I’m pretty much on this journey by myself and it taught me that it’s really sad that girls literally don’t know how to stick up for each other. They don’t know how to protect each other. They don’t know how to network with each other. Like there’s always these things like women need to support women. Women I think really need to take, and girls, a hard look in the mirror at what they do because if you’re doing it to support a power structure that’s not supporting you then you’re in a cult.

Fame and power are such negative things that we have in our society because they directly feed each other and play against each other. Do you think fame is just as guilty as power in the things that you’ve experienced?

I think power abuse is power abuse in any industry, from the construction worker to the 13-year-old girl walking down the street, that’s power abuse. To the big boss who is attacking the employees, it’s power abuse. Fame can cloak you but abuse of power and being a power abuser is what pushes things into the negative.

What message would you want to send out there to someone whose watching this who has someone in their life who is abusing their power and they feel like they can’t escape it because they feel like it’s the hand that feeds them. What would you want to say to them?

If I survived being homeless, this is not going to fall on you. There are resources out there, there are places you can go but more than anything starts believing in yourself little by little every day. Know that the little things that are done to you are not yours to keep. Know your worth and I say it’s all about being free.

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When you receive emotional outpourings from someone who says you have positively changed their lives with your stories does it give you two fingers up at the people who have done these horrific things to you?

I never thought of it that way. I just wish those people would fall off the planet. I wish they would cease to exist but yeah if I was going to think about it, yeah!

When it comes to putting Brave into the world and writing these things down that must obviously bring back horrific memories for you and those flashbacks you have to deal with when you’re writing. Would you say this has possible been the greatest form of therapy?

Yes, I think I would have had more of that had I not been dealing with so much media and insanity all of last year, I would have had more time to process it. I’m processing it now, but I love words. Words matter so much to me and reading has been what saved me my whole life and I feel like my brain gained a terror bite writing it because it was so hard and again it took like 3 years. My favourite lines in it: be better, think different, I know you can, I know you can change the world starting with yours just by being brave.

Brave by Rose McGowan is available now

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