Rose McGowan DGAF About How Sexist Critic Feels About Renee Zellweger’s Face

Rose McGowan, Renee ZellwegerIt's no surprise when a woman in Hollywood's appearance is slammed by the press -- but a recent column by Variety film critic Owen Gleiberman devoted to Renee Zellweger's face went way too far. And now actress Rose McGowan is calling Gleiberman out in a powerful essay against "white-male privilege" and misogyny. 

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Gleiberman's piece is titled "Renee Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself, Has She Become a Different Actress?" and you can read the whole thing here. But basically it's one man's rather pathetic commentary on how Renee Zellweger's face looks "different" in the trailer for Bridget Jones's Baby than it did in Bridget Jones's Diary and how that bothers him, for some reason, on what seems to be a deeply personal level. He wrote:

The movie’s star, Renée Zellweger, already had her “Did she or didn’t she?” moment back in 2014, and I had followed the round-the-world scrutinizing of her image that went along with it, but this was different. Watching the trailer, I didn’t stare at the actress and think: She doesn’t look like Renée Zellweger. I thought: She doesn’t look like Bridget Jones! Oddly, that made it matter more. Celebrities, like anyone else, have the right to look however they want, but the characters they play become part of us. I suddenly felt like something had been taken away.

Is Gleiberman seriously implying that actresses have a responsibility to keep their flawless facade consistent in such a manner as not to be jarring? That female celebrities are public domain? Well, of course he is. Because that's what Hollywood demands of its women: unwavering, unrealistic, unattainable perfection. Actresses are not allowed to age, nor are they allowed to get any discernible "work" done to stave off the aging process. It's a reality women in the industry have been forced to accept for far too long, but not all of them are willing to take it anymore -- like filmmaker and activist McGowan, who responded brilliantly to Gleiberman's column with her own essay in The Hollywood Reporter

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I highly recommend reading the entire thing, but the following passages are among the most powerful:

Renee Zellweger is a human being, with feelings, with a life, with love and with triumphs and struggles, just like the rest of us. How dare you use her as a punching bag in your mistaken attempt to make a mark at your new job. How dare you bully a woman who has done nothing but try to entertain people like you. Her crime, according to you, is growing older in a way you don’t approve of. Who are you to approve of anything? What you are doing is vile, damaging, stupid and cruel. It also reeks of status quo white-male privilege. So assured are you in your place in the firmament that is Hollywood, you felt it was OK to do this. And your editors at Variety felt this was more than OK to run.

You are an active endorser of what is tantamount to harassment and abuse of actresses and women. I speak as someone who was abused by Hollywood and by people like you in the media, but I’m a different breed, one they didn't count on. I refuse and reject this bullshit on behalf of those who feel they can't speak. 

We all know that there are far too many women who feel they can't speak. Most actresses suffering through this system seem almost paralyzed by the constant barrage of criticism. They're too beaten down and afraid of being blackballed to make their voices heard -- and who can blame them? Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the one silver lining to her own experience a few years ago, Zellweger pointed out that after being raked over the coals for her face, she no longer felt afraid of what people thought about her:

What good comes from knowing that something like that happened? Less fear, sure. So when people come up to me to ask ‘How did that feel?’ I don’t know, and I like it like that. I don’t know. I know it sounds pretty unlikely that a person might be able to make herself, I guess, keep clear of those words or of that experience, but I have and it takes effort. But I have succeeded.

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It's just a shame that Zellweger had to make that effort in the first place. It's a shame that men still feel like it's okay to dismiss a woman's talent and effort and focus exclusively on her worth as an object. Rose McGowan is 100 percent right to openly slam this ridiculous, outdated thinking, and we can only hope that more high-profile women in Hollywood follow her lead. Because the only way anything is ever going to change is if women band together and refuse to deal with this kind of thing anymore. 


 Images via Johns PKI; London Entertainment/Splash News

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