Rose McGowan does not necessarily think you're a misogynist

The actress clarifies her stance that "no gay males" stand up for women

By Mary Elizabeth Williams
Published November 6, 2014 6:57PM (EST)
Rose McGowan         (AP/Jordan Strauss)
Rose McGowan (AP/Jordan Strauss)

Attention, people who still remember the 1998 VMAs: That lady from "Charmed" would have you know that she is not homophobic and that gay men are not all misogynistic. OK, thanks, Rose McGowan!

The actress issued an apology to the LGBT community Wednesday after her disparaging comments about gay men on Bret Easton Ellis' podcast last month were pointed out on Pink News. In her conversation with Ellis to promote "Dawn," the short film she recently directed, McGowan recounted how she and a gay male friend had been watching "The Golden Girls" together when her friend called Blanche a slut. And she defended her choice to hold a party at L.A.'s Sultan of Brunei-owned Dorchester Hotel this summer, despite a boycott over the sultan's recent enactment of Shariah law -- a party she said at the time was in support of "all the wonderful, struggling people who work in the hotel."

On the podcast, Ellis, a gay man, called the boycott "a form of narcissistic self-victimization gay insanity," to which McGowan added, "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? … I see now basically people who've fought for the right to stand on top of a float wearing an orange Speedo and take Molly [MDMA]. And I see no help, and I see no paying it forward, and I have a huge problem with that ... There are so many things to help and do, and I see no extending of a hand outside of the gay community to another community, and that's a problem for me." She went on to say, "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."

But after the story went wide, McGowan clarified her comments, sort of, explaining in the Advocate, "I made a dumb generalization, and for that I apologize. For everything else I said, no, I will not ... I will correct myself and my off-the-cuff comment — gay men certainly aren't more misogynistic than heteros, but I've met some who have come damn close. In some ways, it's more damaging, because it's coming from men that have faced so much hate." I'm sorry, is this a contest? Do we need to create a chart of what groups are the most misogynistic? What do we want to do here – sexual orientation, race, religion?

Can gay men be misogynistic? Oh sure. Remember Perez Hilton? Have you heard some of the crap that Bret Easton Ellis has said? Do you remember his rant about how "There’s something about the medium of film itself that I think requires the male gaze"? Remember his theory that "Men are no picnic but women are fucking CRAZY"? Gay men can have idiotic ideas about women just like everybody else. Women can have idiotic ideas about women. Misogyny is not the sole domain of straight men. But with her convoluted generalizations and furious, deeply self-pleased defensiveness, McGowan is perhaps not the best or most articulate spokesperson for tolerance. Not that she seems to care. On Twitter Thursday, she declared, "So you got offended. Big fucking deal. Pull up your bootstraps, march on, get a life & get some fucking perspective. You bore me." Actually, I think I'll do what most of us have been doing since the '90s: forgetting Rose McGowan even exists.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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