The actress and activist talks about why she was forced to wear her hair long by Hollywood and why she feels boys are "stolen" and then "trapped" by modern masculinity.
Rose McGowan is not a fan of the American idea of masculinity, but that doesn't mean she's not a fan of men. In fact, she feels many of them are "trapped" in this notion of what masculinity is to the point she understands their rage.
She also wants them to know that they don't have to overreact to the #MeToo movement; it's not an indictment of all the old ways of doing things. They can still flirt with women.
In fact, Rose says she thinks it's "really stupid" that she keeps being asked how "men know if they're allowed to flirt anymore" in the wake of the #MeToo movement she's found herself toward the forefront of.
"'It makes me want to bang my head against the ground," she said of the question in a wide-ranging interview with Hunger magazine, and the fear behind it. "If you're not grabbing people against their will, you should be okay."
But they also need to check their expectations and understand the roles and rights of both parties in the exchange. "If you're not punishing them for not going out with you, you should be okay," she continued, as detailed by The Daily Mail. "If you're not seeking revenge because this girl doesn't like you, you should be okay. It's fine to flirt, but it's another thing when someone buys you a drink and thinks they own your hour or that night."
At the same time, Rose says she feels for men, even as they struggle to deal with their emotions and understand their place in the world, because of this idea of modern masculinity she says they're forced into from a young age.
"The word masculinity to me means 'trapped,'" she told the outlet. "In a really unfair way by an unfair system. My heart breaks for boys when I see them being moulded into men."
"Boys get stolen really early and put in this tight-fitting jacket – “here's what you can be” and “here's what you are,'" she continued. "Society does the same thing to girls, in a totally different way. But for men so much gets repressed so you can be the idea of what a man is supposed to be. How can you not help but have an inner rage?"
She says a lot of this comes from images through the media, which is run by older men with a sense of inherent superiority they nevertheless know is based on an illusion. "When you are benefiting through privilege because of your illusion, a lot of people don't want to quit that illusion," she said of those men, but then pointed out that what they're clinging onto is not necessarily happiness or fulfillment.
"The highest rate of suicide is 40-year-old white men. There's a reason for that. I think that that illusion is a trap," she said. "If they can break through that, and see themselves as they are, faults and all and work on being better humans, maybe they could be free."
And she says the American idea of masculinity is the most "toxic" and "dangerous" in the world. "This idea that America is number one and each man there is number one and superior -- that's a load of bullshit everybody knows it," she said, adding that Trump's rhetoric only reinforces this "cult-like way of thinking."
"He repeats the same things -- that's brainwashing," she said of the president. "He instils fear of others in people -- that's brainwashing."
She said that she believes people need to reject the "fear paradigm" and instead work on being happy with themselves. "When you cross stupidity with fear, that's a really dangerous mix," Rose said.
Elsewhere in the interview, Rose talked about her signature buzzed hairstyle, which she says she used to wear even before she became a star in Hollywood. In fact, it was only because of the Hollywood machine that she ever grew it out long.
"When I was in Hollywood, they told me I had to have long hair otherwise the men wouldn't want to f--k me," she said. "If they didn't want to f--k me, they wouldn't hire me. A woman told me that."
And for Rose, she found that as her hair grew, she felt herself losing her power. "The side effect I noticed when I shaved my head is that men could hear the words coming out of my mouth for the first time. They couldn't hear me before," she said. "I had not expected that."