Rose Mageddon… I mean McGowan, has had enough. The actress-ivist just singlehandedly dismantled the public’s repugnant reaction to the very private matter of Renée Zellweger’s face. As a response to hopefully the last article Variety contributor, Owen Gleiberman, will ever write, entitled “Renée Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself, Has She Become a Different Actress?” McGowan jettisoned her grievances about the uncalled for public aversion to the way Renée Zellweger looks. Loaning her wisdom to the Hollywood Reporter, McGowan took to the publication to call out the unfair treatment from Gleiberman which she feels “reeks of status quo white male privilege" in her guest post "Vile, Damaging, Stupid and Cruel."
In his article, Gleiberman labels Zellweger as something of a patron saint of plain looking women. In his opinion, Renée is a woman who struggled to find work because of her extraordinarily ordinary looks, winning roles with the same luck as winning the lottery and owing all her success to Cameron Crowe, who he Gleiberman claims took a huge risk when casting someone like her. Zellweger, queen of the unexceptional, finally found the perfect role as Bridget Jones, which called for a plain-at-best looking actress. Years later, Renée may or may not have changed her look succumbing to the harsh pressure and scrutiny of Hollywood (which Gleiberman is guilty of doing in the very article he is trying to bring awareness too) and now she no longer looks like the role of the plain woman this grown ass man seems to be so weirdly attached to.
An actual quote from the article, Gleiberman writes, “Zellweger had won the lottery, had been plucked from semi-obscurity by the movie gods (or, actually, by the daring of Cameron Crowe), …What was unusual, to the point of breaking the rules, was the way that she looked. In 1996, Tom Cruise … didn’t make films with just anyone. He worked with costars who reinforced his supernova status, through their fame or their beauty or both. Zellweger…was beautiful, but not in the way that a Nicole Kidman or a Julia Roberts was.”
McGowan defends Zellweger and all actresses under public scrutiny saying, “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….I am someone who has withstood death threats from fan boys, had fat sites devoted to me. I've withstood harassment on a level you can’t comprehend, Owen… I was so confused by the heaping tons of abuse, I actually forgot what I looked like.”
McGowan goes on to very eloquently discuss the disease-like pressure actresses face. She also turns the tables on Gleiberman and the double standards of Hollywood by replacing Zellweger's name in the article with the names of prominent actors to show how unphased we are seeing a woman’s looks being criticized and how unnatural it would be to do it to a male celebrity. While McGowan does her best to flesh out everything wrong with the abhorrent reaction of Gleiberman, there is not enough room on the internet to explain all the misogyny that has risen out of great face debate.
Courtney Bissonette is a New York based writer and improv comedienne. She writes primarily about movies, pop cultures and feminist heroes. She gets along best with old people. She has seen more old movies than your grandma, probably. Salt from Salt n Pepa once took her Trick'r Treating. You can follow her on instagram at @gddamnitcourtney or twitter @courttette