So…A little while ago I was surprised to be contacted on Twitter by Rose McGowan after responding to one of her tweets. We had a back and forth over Direct Message touching on her experiences and the experiences of others and she recommended reading her book Brave, and this is what the article is mostly going to be about.
Obviously, I was aware of who Miss McGowan was, having been a huge fan of the TV series Charmed. And with her more recent revelations of her experiences of Hollywood, and her contribution to the #MeToo movement and her own consciousness-raising movement, #RoseArmy, her presence was very much at the forefront of a much bigger story.
Out of respect for her, I will not mention the name of who she has accused, or go into details again about what allegedly happened to her. Those things are detailed in the book, though even she refuses to name him, but for anyone who knows the story and has Google, you’ll know who it is.
I don’t see a broken or damaged woman. I see a hurt woman, yes. But I also see a strong woman who fights for what she believes is right
So I went into Brave with not really knowing what to expect. The mainstream media had painted a rather bleak picture of her as this loud troublemaker who couldn’t control herself. Even smaller websites would chime in, with one even branding her a whore in the past. Would this book be a self-serving pity fest? A vague collection of anecdotes from a woman desperately trying to promote herself? Far, far, far from it.
Brave details pretty much everything about Rose McGowan, from her troubled childhood growing up in a cult, her relationships with her family and partners, her experiences of Hollywood, why she decided to shave her head and through to her current fight to be heard by the very media that is so keen to destroy and discredit her.
Reading every chapter of her book, gave me an insight into why she acts the way she does now, why she’s so passionate about calling out unacceptable behaviour towards people, and why she’s so angry.
I don’t see a broken or damaged woman. I see a hurt woman, yes. But I also see a strong woman who fights for what she believes is right.
For anyone who has ever been the victim of harassment or assault, this book could potentially be triggering, but to see how far she’s come and how she wants to inspire and challenge your way of thinking is utterly phenomenal. There are times that the book will be hard reading, but I would recommend that if there are some chapters that affect you, then take a break. There’s no rush to read it through in one go. I will say though that it’s a book that will certainly get you thinking.
To be one of the first women in Hollywood to finally speak out and have her voice heard took a tremendous amount of bravery. She threw herself out there, running the risk of being ridiculed and dismissed. For years the talk of the “casting couch” had always come hand in hand with Hollywood. But for the first time the #MeToo movement pointed out that it was far seedier than anyone would’ve thought. A terrible dynamic of higher-ups allegedly using their power and influence over someone’s career to get away with some truly shocking behaviour.
Brave details the alleged casual misogyny that exists within the film and TV industry, and that’s just towards one woman.
I don’t want to go over every aspect of Brave, there’s a LOT in there, nothing is held back, so there will be a fair few surprises about what some aspects of Hollywood are like.
Rose’s public appearances are usually fraught with controversy, from a shouting match with a transgender activist at a book signing (instigated by the activist), to unsettling questions being asked in interviews, usually looking for a juicy soundbite to take out of context. Brave gives Rose an opportunity to actually get her point across without a time limit. I didn’t want to just be another voice in the sea of pieces about her. Her voice deserves to be heard. So I implore you to read Brave, and to actually listen to this woman, who described herself to me as a freedom fighter.
Rose continues to be a dividing voice, but she’s acutely aware of that. She takes no pleasure in lifting the veil on systemic abuse in the industry at the risk of her own career.
And now this year she brings her book tour and talks to the UK & Ireland for several dates around the country. I’ve already got my ticket, and while Brave is a brutally honest, and almost visceral read, hearing the stories from Rose’s own mouth will add that extra dimension to the book.