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Rose McGowan just expertly summed up the difference between flirting and harassment

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Anna Brech
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Rose McGowan

One of the leaders of the #MeToo movement, Rose McGowan, has dismissed the idea that men should avoid flirting with women in a new age of sexual awareness.

The surge in conversations around consent and sexual harassment in recent years has raised important questions about how we define flirting in a #MeToo era.

There’s a clear line between behaviour that is playful and reciprocal, versus that which is unwelcome and invasive. And a spotlight on harassment has (rightly) prompted many people to re-assess their own attitudes when it comes to dating and social interactions more generally.

Now one of the leading voices in the #MeToo movement, Rose McGowan, has come forward with her own definition of the difference between flirting and harassment – and it is brilliantly simple.  

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McGowan says the idea that men should avoid approaching women in a #MeToo age is “really stupid”.

For McGowan – one of Harvey Weinstein’s earliest and most vocal accusers – there’s a series of clear boundaries at play which decide whether the behaviour in question is charming or creepy.

“If you’re not grabbing people against their will, you should be OK,” McGowan tells the latest issue of Hunger magazine (as reported via The Times). 

“If you’re not seeking revenge because this girl doesn’t like you, you should be OK. 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.”

McGowan’s comments come as Weinstein prepares to stand trial in Manhattan in the New Year on multiple charges of sexual assault.

More than 80 women, including McGowan, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne, Lupita Nyong’o and Asia Argento have made claims of sexual misconduct, assault and rape against Weinstein in the media.

But the case being tried in court pertains to two specific incidents brought against the disgraced film producer by two different anonymous victims. Weinstein denies all charges of non-consensual sex.

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McGowan, who accuses Weinstein of raping her, recently responded to a complaint the movie mogul made about the erosion of his legacy.

“I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago,” Weinstein told the New York Post. “I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it! It all got eviscerated because of what happened. My work has been forgotten.”

“I didn’t forget you, Harvey,” McGowan wrote on Twitter. “My body didn’t forget you. I wish it could. I refused to sign an NDA [non-disclosure agreement] after it happened because I knew I would come for you. And I did.”

The actor also co-signed a protest letter written by 22 other women, which vows to prevent Weinstein from rewriting a “legacy of abuse”.

Images: Getty

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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