Melissa McCarthy is hardly the first actress to face criticism for her appearance. Fat-shaming actresses has become something of a national pastime. But rather than remain silent or lash back at her critics, McCarthy is taking a truly commendable approach: She's trying to educate people through kindness.
McCarthy told Entertainment Weekly about one such interaction with a harsh reviewer at the Toronto Film Festival in a May 15 interview — an interaction she again described on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Wednesday.
The reviewer in question openly admitted to essentially writing, as McCarthy puts it, "How dare women not look beautiful, perfect and attractive in a movie?" and that McCarthy in particular was only good when she looked attractive and shouldn't let her husband direct her because he allowed her to appear "hideous."
In response, Melissa McCarthy, badass that she is, threw this sexist, insulting point of view right back at the reporter. "Would you do that to a man?" She asked the reporter, explaining that the choices she made about her character, including her appearance, were deliberate and intended to reveal important parts of her personality and development.
But the reporter still didn't get it. "Well, but you really looked bad," he persisted, according to McCarthy.
She then tried another tactic: She asked the reporter if he had children. When he confirmed he did, she said "I hope you don't have a daughter" and asked if he thought it would be fair for somebody to tell his daughter that she didn't deserve a job because of her appearance.
Finally, the reporter got it and admitted that he would never want that to happen. McCarthy took that opportunity to drive her point home, advising that the reporter put more thought into the way he writes about women.
"Just know every time you write stuff, every young girl in this country reads that and just get a little bit chipped away," McCarthy said.
"I just think we tear down women in this country for all of these superficial reasons and women are so great and strong and I think he really heard that," McCarthy concludes. "I think it's a bad habit that we've gotten into and it's not that people are malicious. I just think it's so easy to take a swipe ... just go the other way. Build it up."
In an ideal world, reporters would stop objectifying actresses altogether. But until then, hopefully other actresses will follow McCarthy's lead and rather than ignore these sexist comments, push back on them in equally inspiring ways.