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rose mcgowan

Dear Rose McGowan, Here’s Why I Won’t Be Watching ‘Citizen Rose’

Rose McGowan seeks to bask in the glow of a compassion only reserved for white women whilst the footprints of her Doc Martens are pressed into our backs.

I employ what one could call a ‘survivor’s leniency’. As a complex PTSD sufferer because of multiple sexual assaults, and the recipient of intense therapeutic support which led me away from drug-induced psychosis and back, into a now thriving recovery, I know well the long-term impact of sexual violence on those of us who have been preyed upon by abusive people. Thus, I have not shouted my dislike from any rooftops what bugs me about Rose McGowan.

It started when I heard her on Rupaul and Michelle Visage’s podcast “What’s the Tee?”. They’re consummate professionals who are professionally flattering, well-researched and usually deliver content seamlessly. Yet, they couldn’t hide how clunkily awkward it was when Rose McGowan was their guest. One of the lowest moments in this car crash of a podcast was her misguidedly using the terms trans women and drag queens interchangeably. Her statements about trans women and her racist, TERF and queerphobic ways aren’t new, but the cherry on top was a ridiculous anecdote about their lack of interest in her menstrual cycle. “Don’t you think it’s funny that you guys never ask me about my period?”

Maybe it’s too much to expect cisgender people to wonder how insidious gender dysphoria might be? That there may be trans girls who mentally spiral downwards in thoughts about not having wombs and not having children? That to this trans girl it would be really disrespectful and insensitive to brazenly ask for details of someone’s menstrual cycle out of the blue? That the idea of asking someone about their genitalia and how they work and how they feel about them is conversational territory that I am not entitled to? #mindblown


But like I said, I was being lenient because I didn’t feel classy about heavily critiquing a survivor. I have been side-eyeing her messianic posturing of herself in the #MeToo movement with her #ROSEARMY. Her disdain for the collaborative efforts of #TimesUp and the announcement of E! Network’s release of docu-series, “Citizen Rose” was the final straw.

My expectations of it are so low because for one, this is the E! network — the home of “Botched”, “Keeping Up with The Kardashians” and “Mariah’s World”. This is quite clearly a sign that the movement has already been wholly commodified by the cheap glitz of Ryan Seacrest and his team of voracious producers. The network’s most recent story was about how their now former E! News host Catt Sadler, found out she was paid half of what the male co-host was.

The pretentiousness and performativity of fair-weather allies should fill us with dread. The power, eloquence and optimism that Oprah brought to the Golden Globes in her speech definitely soaked my pillow with tears this past Monday morning. The OWN network is one that I would trust to deal with documenting the #MeToo movement appropriately. Those who’ve committed their life’s work to helping women heal like, I dunno, Tarana Burke who is THE FOUNDER OF THE MOVEMENT, deserve to have their stories documented for their years of dedication to victims of assault.

Rose McGowan’s “Don’t Cry for me Argentina” televisual event is not what survivors are demanding when we rightfully bellow for systemic change. We are in such perilous waters when we allow women with more ambition than compassion to attempt to be the coagulants for collectives which require more know-how than they currently possess.

McGowan promises to raise all our voices but her moves curiously leave her with all the power. She is nowhere near well-versed enough, nor empathetic enough to know how to empower the most vulnerable, marginalized and disenfranchised. Rose McGowan seeks to bask in the glow of a compassion only reserved for white women whilst the footprints of her Doc Martens are pressed into our backs.






KUCHENGA is a writer, an agitator an avid consumer of all culture high and low. She is a Black trans feminist whose work sparkles with vivacity and originality. A member of Black Lives Matter UK, the Bent Bars Collective and Sisters Uncut she lives by the River Thames in London and can be found frollicking in Battersea Park with her dog Nene.

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