Rose McGowan’s iconic VMA dress was a response to sexual assault

When Rose McGowan stepped out at the 1998 MTV VMA Video Music Awards wearing a completely see-through dress with an exposed thong, she was making more than just a style statement.

“I [wore] that for a reason. It was my first public appearance after being raped,” McGowan, 45, told actress and activist Jameela Jamil for her I Weigh interview series, per People. “And I thought, it was kind of like Russell Crowe and ‘Gladiator’ when it comes out in the ring and he’s like, ‘Are you not entertained?’ And that was why I did that. That was my response to being assaulted.”

A leader of the #MeToo movement, McGowan was one of the first women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, alleging that he raped her at his hotel during the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. The disgraced Hollywood producer has since been accused by more than 60 women, and currently faces a potential life sentence.

The star previously hinted at her deeply symbolic VMAs fashion choice without getting as specific. “I’ve never worn something like that before or since,” she told Dr. Oz last year. “That was a political statement. Of course, there was no Twitter at the time or Instagram, no way to speak for yourself.”

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