Written by Miss L

In The News

The price of speaking out in Hollywood

News that Rose McGowan has been dropped by her agency for speaking out about sexism in Hollywood is appalling but not surprising, says actress Miss L.

Rose McGowan

Rose McGowan photo by pinguino k from North Hollywood, via Wikimedia Commons.

Another week, another tale of sexist crap from Hollywood. Yep, it’s business as usual in the film industry.

Last week, Rose McGowan tweeted about a casting note she’d received with a script. It asked for actresses to wear a “form fitting tank that shows off cleavage (push up bras encouraged).” The film, she said, also starred a certain actor whose name rhymes with ‘Madam Panhandler’.

Good on her for calling out the bullshit. We all cheered, bemoaned the ever-present sexism in the acting industry and then we carried on, pleased this issue was getting some media exposure. But then the tale took a nasty turn when McGowan revealed her agency had dropped her after speaking out.

This is the real problem in this industry – the fear of speaking out. We should be able to confront these issues and say how wrong they are. Because there is a big problem out there. A huge problem. A massive problem full of naked women, partially naked women and, in one (honestly real) case, a naked woman painted silver and covered in gravy.

I’ve been tweeting about terrible casting calls for more than two years and I do it, maybe in a cowardly way, from behind an anonymous account. Like many other actresses, I was scared that by calling out all the utter trash we have to put up with, I’d put my career in jeopardy. And, after seeing what happened this week, it’s hardly surprising. Of course, McGowan is better off without such an agency but it all shows what a precarious job this can be.

I’ve seen pretty much every horrible, sexist casting call out there. From “busty lab workers. Two very underqualified lab workers in cute shoes” to “the actress would need an EASY ACCESS SKIRT with LEGGINGS underneath so the skirt could be lifted up and it would look convincingly like she was being taken from behind” and “breasts – you gotta have something that bounces when you run.”

“The acting industry is about as supportive as a 10-year-old bra and no one wants to be seen as unemployable. All we’re seeing now is that being vocal about the issue just results in us being shouted down.”

I tweet about these terrible casting calls on a daily basis (@ProResting) and, usually, the reaction is a mixture of horror and disbelief. But it’s amazing the negative reactions I get, too. I’ve been called bitter and jealous. People say I have an agenda against female nudity and that maybe a career in acting isn’t for me. I get told I’m misrepresenting the acting industry and that I’m wrong. Oh, and I regularly hear this little treasure…

“Well, what do you think the casting call for Magic Mike looked like?”

One film. The naysayers have one (and one sequel) film up their sleeve. If you just have one film to call on then maybe there’s not a problem. However, women have EVERY SINGLE FUCKING FILM THAT FEATURES A SCENE IN A STRIP CLUB up their sleeve. Yeah. There’s a problem. A big, massive problem.

I’ve never been dropped by my agent. I mean, I have. I was gloriously dropped by email because “it wasn’t working.” But I’ve thankfully never been dropped because I’ve dared stand up against the industry. And it’s worrying that it can happen. Because in the last week we’ve taken one step forward and two centuries back.

Actresses who may have gained courage from Rose McGowan’s first revelation have probably been terrified by the second. The acting industry is about as supportive as a 10-year-old bra and no one wants to be seen as unemployable. All we’re seeing now is that being vocal about the issue just results in us being shouted down.

But if we all speak out about it, then we have to be heard. If we all make a stand and refuse to put up with this sexist industry, then they can’t ignore all of us. Maybe if we all speak out and refuse to be afraid, we can finally get the equality we deserve and, once and for all, destroy rubbish like this…

“Her cleavage is her best feature.”

We deserve better than that. And it’s time we let everyone know about it.


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Written by Miss L