Actress Rose McGowan came under fire yesterday due to comments she made during an appearance on Bret Easton Ellis’ podcast, where she lambasted gay men for what she perceives as their misogyny and lack of support for women’s rights. She had earlier courted controversy for holding a party to support Brunei-owned hotels which were facing a boycott launched by LGBT groups angry over the sultanate bringing in laws that made gay sex a crime you could be executed for.
She has now tried to clarify her comments, stepping back from the language she used but saying she sticks by the point she was trying to make.
In the original podcast she said (via Female First), “Gay men are as misogynistic as straight men, if not more so. I have an indictment of the gay community right now, I’m actually really upset with them… You wanna talk about the fact that I have heard nobody in the gay community, no gay males, standing up for women on any level?
“There is Sharia law active in Saudi Arabia, there’s a woman who’s about to be stoned – have not heard [AIDS activist] Cleve Jones discuss her, and nor will he. I think it’s what happens to you as a group when you are starting to get most of what you fought for. What do you do now? What I would hope they would do is extend a hand to women. Women, by-and-large, have very much helped the gay community get to where they are today.
“And I have not seen a single peep from these people, who supposedly represent lesbians as well… when the equal pay act was shut down by Republicans in the Senate, not a single man mentioned that. I see now people who have basically fought for the right to stand on top of a float wearing an orange speedo and take molly [the drug MDMA]. [Gay misogyny] is a huge problem.”
Now she has stepped forward to clarify in an article that has appeared on the likes of Huffpo and The Advocate. In it she says, “I was on Bret Easton Ellis’s podcast the other day discussing sexism and misogyny. I made a dumb generalization, and for that I apologize. For everything else I said, no, I will not. Where does it say that because of a man’s sexual orientation, I don’t get to point out a character defect that some of them may have? When equal pay for women was voted down by every male Republican, there was no LGBT outcry. I wondered why that was. After all, lesbians are women — this affects them too, right?
“Misogyny infuriates me and it endangers me as a human. It also endangers the LGBT community. Empathy for the plight of women isn’t making it better. Your voice will. Could I have articulated my frustration in a better fashion? Undoubtedly. For that I apologize, but I stand by my overall point. The rights that have been earned by the community are simple civil rights.”
She goes on to add, “Do I think the LGBT community needs to address and combat the misogyny in its midst? Absolutely. I’ve lived and breathed gay rights for as long as I can remember. I’ve seen so much change, and now I want more. Women, myself included, have given blood, sweat, and tears to the gay rights movement. I’m asking for help in return. Casual and accepted misogyny no longer works for me, and it shouldn’t work for you.”
I’m not sure it’s a good tactic to make statements that generalise massively and lambast an entire section of the community and then ask for their help, but perhaps she thinks it will wake some people up. However I do have issues with some of her language. After all, one of the main issues the women’s movement has faced is men who generalise, stereotype and try to fit women into preconceived boxes (bitch, slut, homely, mother, etc.) rather than treating them as individual human beings, which seems similar to what McGowan is doing with gay people here – treating them as a collective. It’s also true that if a gay man does step up to support women’s rights or any other cause, they may not do it with a rainbow tattooed on their forehead.
However in her article she’s keen to point out, “And as for those who question my allegiance to the gay community and try to paint me as a gay hater, I have a big eye roll reserved just for you. I’m human, I mess up, but I mess up with love and good intentions. I feel like I’m in a fight with my family. Now, let’s go do the right thing, myself included.”