Over the last couple of years, Rose McGowan has become a voice of reason in show biz. The actress and director has frequently spoken out against the ingrained sexism in Hollywood, something which, last year, resulted in her being dropped by her agents. But despite that, McGowan hasn't let herself be silenced, and this week has penned a powerful rebuttal piece to a column posted in Variety about actress Renée Zellweger.
Last week, Owen Gleiberman, the new chief film critic for Variety, published a lengthy piece about Renée Zellweger's physical appearance titled "Renee Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself, Has She Become a Different Actress?" In the column Gleiberman expressed disappointment that in the trailer for the upcoming film Bridget Jones's Baby, released 12 years after the last instalment, Zellweger no longer looks like the Bridget Jones he remembered. Something which apparently caused him to feel as though "something had been taken away."
Gleiberman then launched into a length talk about Zellweger's rise as an actress, from "semi-obscurity" to starring opposite Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. Apparently long before Zellweger disappointed Gleiberman by not resembling Bridget Jones, she was shocking him by being a person "who looked not so much like the sort of actress who would star in a Tom Cruise movie" who then proceeded to actually star in a Tom Cruise movie. Wow.
The author then went on to spew forth more opinions on the subject of celebrities opting to have plastic surgery, claiming it made a person "less vivid, less distinctive, less there," and was "a rejection of the self."
With such a controversial and anger-inducing article, there was instant outcry from many across the internet, and in response Rose McGowan published a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter.
Firstly McGowan questioned why Gleiberman felt the need to approve or disapprove of a celebrities looks:
Renee Zellweger is a human being, with feelings, with a life, with love and with triumphs and struggles, just like the rest of us. How dare you use her as a punching bag in your mistaken attempt to make a mark at your new job. How dare you bully a woman who has done nothing but try to entertain people like you. Her crime, according to you, is growing older in a way you don’t approve of. Who are you to approve of anything? What you are doing is vile, damaging, stupid and cruel.
She went on to point out exactly why she was the perfect person to be a voice for many celebrities, given her personal experiences in the public eye:
I speak as someone who was abused by Hollywood and by people like you in the media, but I’m a different breed, one they didn't count on. I refuse and reject this bullshit on behalf of those who feel they can't speak. I am someone who was forced by a studio to go on Howard Stern, where he asked me to show him my labia while my grinning male and female publicists stood to the side and did nothing to protect me. I am someone who has withstood death threats from fan boys, had fat sites devoted to me. I've withstood harassment on a level you can’t comprehend, Owen.
She also calls out the silence of those who should be speaking out to defend their friend, colleague or employee:
Any studio that Renee Zellweger has made money for, any co-star she's supported or anyone who takes a percentage of her income should be doing what's right: They should be calling this harassment out.
Finally she pointed out exactly how silly and ridiculous articles focussing on actresses appearance really are, by replacing every mention of Zellweger's name with that of a male celebrity. The result is paragraphs such as this:
JOHNNY DEPP was no flash in the pan, but after 'Edward Scissorhands,' he struggled to find roles that could complete him. It wasn’t until 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' five years later, that he hit his stride by finding a role that jelled with his image as an extraordinary ordinary guy.
A spirit reflected, at least in the first two movies, in the slightly slovenly doughy-cuddly perfection of ANSEL ELGORT's face. Yes, he gained weight for the role, but the added weight was still him. I’m one of the few critics who loved even the second film (the ANSEL-goes-to-Thai-prison plot might have seemed absurd, except that ELGORT grounded it), and the third chapter is long overdue. I just hope it turns out to be a movie that stars ANSEL ELGORT rather than a victim of Invasion of the Face Snatchers.
It's great to see a celebrity with the status of Rose McGowan taking a stand on things like this. Whether the author of the Variety piece intended to offend or not (in fact I'm sure he believed his article was totally inoffensive), it's definitely time to stamp these types the judgement of how another person chooses to age once and for all.