Rowling has faced criticism for her remarks on trans women. (Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

‘I hadn’t really ever dealt with global media shaming’

The socially distanced MTV Video Music Awards will look very different this year, with no red carpet. But truly, no fashion do or don’t that Miley, Gaga, or any other attending superstar might have worn this year could top one of the most scandalous outfits in VMAs history: Rose McGowan’s see-through chainmail dress. 

The author, activist, and former actress tells Yahoo Entertainment that she always hated the paparazzi-crazed red carpet experience. “You have these big men, a hundred of them yelling at the top of their voice trying to get you to look at them, but your body doesn’t understand why it’s being screamed at and aggressed on. … I’m like, ‘I feel like I’m being shot with guns right now,’” she says. But when McGowan attended the 1998 VMAs with her boyfriend at the time, Marilyn Manson, she decided to make a bold red carpet statement anyway. However, most people had no idea about the real, serious statement she was making by showing all that skin.

Marilyn Manson & Rose McGowan (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)


McGowan says that Manson himself was one of the many people who didn’t understand the intention behind the mind-blowing garment. “(The Weinstein assault) happened before I went out with him. …I didn’t tell him because what happened,” she recalls. “I did tell him later — well, he found out because he would ask my friend, ‘What’s wrong with this girl? She wakes up screaming at night and soaking wet in the bed and the sheets are wet. She does it every night, like two or three times a night.’ I would have terrible nightmares, PTSD stuff. So, we had to talk about it then.”

Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan at the 1998 VMAs. (Photo: Barry King/WireImage)


Looking back, McGowan has mixed feelings about her shocking VMAs fashion moment, through she doesn’t necessarily regret it. “It was kind of hard. I hadn’t really ever dealt with global media shaming. But it prepared me for later on it happening to me a whole bunch. It was also like, ‘Sorry you’re square and I’m not bummer,” she chuckles.

“I’m like, ‘Why did I do that?’ I’ve had to look at that. You know, when you do stuff sometimes on instinct and in a mood, like when a mood overtakes you on, you analyze what it was that brought you to that mood or that choice. So, I’ve certainly had a lot of time to analyze and I’m looking at the timeline. But I completely understand why I did what I did.” 

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