Rose McGowan is a Bad Ass
Lately I’ve been diving down a rabbit hole of nostalgia TV. I’m a sucker for anything with a badass, feminist theme, especially if I watched it as a teenager. Now that Charmed is on Netflix, I can’t seem to stop binging. (No, really send help plz! Thx! )
One of the actresses from the show is Rose McGowan. She’s been off the radar for years, but when I was a fledgling freak she was known for edgy roles, nearly nude awards show outfits and being Marilyn Manson’s super hot girlfriend. From where I was sitting she gave no fucks about what society thought, and that was truly inspiring to me as a rebellious teen in rural South Carolina. It didn’t hurt that my bible thumping parents were utterly horrified by Marilyn Manson.
I’ve always wondered what happened to her to no avail, but suddenly she’s all over the entertainment news. She recently released her beautiful, creepy directorial debut, the short film Dawn.
As soon as the credits rolled I did a Youtube crawl through her current DP/30 interview then a classic ’99 sit down with Roseanne Barr.
I thought she was fearless back in the day, but I loved watching that grown ass woman reflect on being a “sexy girl” in entertainment. How surreal and fucked up it was to spend her formative years pretending to be other people, wearing clothes she wouldn’t wear, saying things she wouldn’t say the majority of the time. She talked about being fed up with playing a fake character and conforming to gender stereotypes. That finding her true self after that was hard and really only came when her life hit rock bottom. Her film education is thorough, and when she talked about her selfless habits on set I was basically ready to marry her.
Making porn from 18 has had some interesting parallels. Regardless of the format, you’re selling yourself as a product. You slowly put certain preferences aside for the art and obviously for financial incentive. Spending so many years focused on marketability makes giving up your autonomy effortless and invisible. Not necessarily to some literal person, but to your own business decisions.
I made my living solely as a professional slave for 7 years, trying to exceed some concept of perfection in my mind. I mirrored those choices in my personal life, always dating “dominant” men, even though I have never been good at taking orders for free. I lived to have as few limits and opinions as possible, but could never quite figure out why I was always dissatisfied.
People might assume that BDSM is full of non-conformists, but in my experience tiresome stereotypes and expectations abound. I thought I was bucking tradition then, but it wasn’t until my year of slave overload on The Upper Floor that I acknowledged my desire to say fuck the rules forever. My days of yes Sir, no Sir, 3 bags full Sir were long gone.
The 5 years that followed have been an interesting, emotional and cathartic learning experience. I spent 2 of them trying to normal up to LA standards, learning fuck hole party tricks and being marketed in ways that were 100 times more objectifying than when I was a slave. Despite that I have no regrets. I gained perspective and gratitude for my pervy corner of the industry I may have lost otherwise.
Unabashed sexuality is a powerful thing.
In fetish porn I may get paid less to do more, but I am infinitely happier. My co-workers are artists and activists from every gender and orientation. On both sides of the camera I’m surrounded by rebels and outlaws and powerful women who poke at the status quo constantly. We unapologetically challenge what’s considered acceptable in society and even in our “crossover performer” phobic industry. We stand strong against political organizations trying to regulate us out of existence and the ignorance that leads our financial institutions to discriminate against us.
Unabashed sexuality is a powerful thing that threatens everything out puritanical culture holds dear. From attitudes towards religion, monogamy, traditional marriage and procreation to the obligatory shame, guilt and intolerance we’re indoctrinated with from childhood.
I haven’t reached Rose McGowan’s saturation point with playing a character, but it feels infinitely more authentic and satisfying to be true to myself. Watching her interviews I had such a mix of feelings, particularly when she talked about her bittersweet experience with Charmed. I couldn’t help but relate to the disillusioned viewers who are being forced to look at me differently now that I am a top.
In the age of social media and podcasts and talk shows and Entertainment Tonight we get so much access to our celebrities. Such a greedy peek behind the theater curtain. So many little experiences that effect our fantasy construct. In porn or in Hollywood it’s easy to be selfish and frustrated…or totally delighted…when a performer is different/better/worse than you imagined.
It’s downright bizarre seeing an actor talk unscripted; exposing their opinions, politics and causes. Finding out that off camera they DON’T identify with their character. Watching them talk about roles they played years ago with distance. Learning disappointing details about co-worker relationships you assumed were close but totally weren’t. Or the complete opposite.
Even if it colors your experience that juicy stuff is riveting as a viewer, even for me. I want to know every dirty behind-the-scenes detail I never knew before…kind of…but my dream is the cast of Charmed love each other, always have and never get tired of talking about some irrelevant show from 10 years ago.
Ahh fantasy. It seems that the cycle of human behavior is turbulent and inevitable regardless of fame, wealth, class or gender. The game is how you apply those lessons, and your attitude while you do it. I will forever maintain that the most reliable way to judge a person’s character is by their behavior on set.
Basically, If you’re not a positive team player with absolutely no fucks to give like my new BFF Rose McGowan you can fuck right off!