When Rose McGowan recently saw what we can only imagine was one of countless sexist casting calls she has encountered in her career, she decided to call it out. The casting notice, which McGowan posted on her Twitter, instructed women to wear a “Black (or dark) form fitting tank that shows off cleavage (push up bras encouraged). And form fitting leggings or jeans:”
She also noted that the call was for a “Madam Panhandler”-starring film which, well, doesn’t take much sleuthing to decode. The notice also instructed the auditioning women to read the script for context. In other words, the casting call mansplained how to audition. Then, about a week later, McGowan tweeted that she had been fired by her acting agent due to her comments, a perfect example of why some women in the industry might feel pressured to not speak out against sexism:
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, she elaborated on the issue. “I’m not trying to vilify Adam Sandler,” McGowan said. “I was offended by the stupidity more than anything. I was offended by the fact that went through so many people’s hands and nobody red flagged it. This is normal to so many people. It was probably even a girl that had to type it up. It’s institutionally okay.”
McGowan has been speaking out against Hollywood sexism a lot recently as she promotes her directorial debut, Dawn, a short film that deals with sexism, gendered expectations, and the male gaze. In her EW interview, McGowan spoke about some of her other experiences as a woman in the film industry, including a story from when she first got started: “when I did my first film, I was told by my agent that I would need to have long hair so men in this town would want to fuck me and hire me. That was said to a 17-year-old,” she said.
“Dawn,” which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, is available for free on McGowan’s YouTube channel. Watch it instead of a Madam Panhandler movie.
UPDATE: The agent who fired McGowan, Sheila Wenzel, has herself left the agency where she formerly represented the actress, presumably as a result of the kerfuffle surrounding McGowan’s remarks.