At this time of year, when many pause to reflect and give thanks, Rose McGowan is taking it one step further. The actress and activist, notable for being one of the most vocal and polarizing advocates for the #MeToo movement, is using her personal Instagram account to highlight the stories of people all over the world who otherwise would not have the platform or reach to make themselves heard.
Coined #NOvember, the movement created by McGowan came after she was told by many people that they felt she was lucky to have a voice in a world where many do not. She was inspired by those who, as she describes, have embraced the power of the word “no.”
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As of tomorrow I’m handing over my page to YOU and your voices. I have the privilege of visibility that many others doing great things deserve. The wave of change that has swept the globe can not be credited solely to the famous or the celebrities. They (myself included) may have gotten the press or the headlines but the power came from YOU. Sharing your stories. Your truth. We are equal to each other in validation and importance no matter what. Thank you for supporting my work and page, it’s really been beautiful sharing this journey with you. I can’t wait to showcase your unapologetic truths every day this month! And for this worried that they won’t get updates, it’s ok! I’ll be posting to IG stories and midway I’ll do a permanent IG post as well. #NOvember #lovewins #rosearmy #educatedonthate #unapologetic #wepower #activism #lgbtq #rosemcgowan #yeswecan
“Saying ‘no’ for me personally was when I was really saying YES to freedom,” McGowan told Refinery29. “Sharing stories of ‘no’ meant taking a word many feel is negative and celebrating it as a positive force in our lives.”
One of these stories posted to McGowan’s Instagram is that of Prita, a conservative Muslim woman who was asked to not wear her burka to school when she first moved to Boston in order to “not offend anyone and ‘fit in’.” She defended her choice to wear what she wants and said “no”, stressing that doing so doesn’t make her a “terrorist” or “weak.”
McGowan calls this movement a “new form of volunteerism,” as she chooses to use her privilege and visibility to champion the the voices and experiences of others.
“If you are an influencer and find your page is full of selfies, this is your time to look at what you were put on this planet to do,” said McGowan. “You’ve been given the gift of a stage to be heard, and I think occasionally sharing that stage is an important thing. Will it get less likes? Most certainly. Will it make people feel less alone? Absolutely.”
In the spirit of American Thanksgiving, McGowan also sent a message to the media, thanking them for their work this year in helping create “a massive cultural reset.” Despite being what she calls the “Year of the Trigger,” 2018 has been fraught with extreme challenges but, McGowan stresses that it hasn’t been without glimmers of hope. “I noticed that over the course of the last thirteen months, the intense stories I was receiving in my DMs were shifting—those at the beginning of the year are very different to those I've received at the end of the year. So many of people's tragedies have been replaced by stories of triumph. I thought you may want to know that there has been a shift. And you have been a part of it.”