One of our favorite actresses is celebrating a birthday. Melissa McCarthy turns 46 Friday, and we're marking her big day with big gifts — the ones that she's given us.
And when it comes to delivering body-positive messages, rejecting labels and encouraging us to accept ourselves as we are, she's been generous.
So as we say happy birthday, we also say thank you — for all the times the "Ghostbusters" star has made us feel fantastic about ourselves.
1. She demanded that everyone 'stop tearing down women'
When Jennifer Aniston made headlines this summer for penning a powerful essay about the way she and other women are treated and speculated about in the media (and beyond), McCarthy supported the former "Friends" star, telling Entertainment Tonight, "I agree one-hundred-thousand-billion percent with (Jennifer's sentiments)."
She then went on to add an important message of her own.
"I think everybody needs to stop tearing down women." And for those who try to tear down women based on their bodies, McCarthy added, "I just hope it gets to the point where it's embarrassing for people to have such a shallow thought."
2. She shared the secret to self-love: 'I'll take me as I am'
We've all looked into a mirror and seen things we don't love looking back, but McCarthy believes we shouldn't just tolerate those less-than-loved parts — we should actually learn to love them.
"(I love) all of it — my flaws, my shortcomings, my body parts that you're like, 'Well, couldn’t that be better?' — all of it!" she told People and Entertainment Weekly editorial director Jess Cagle. "I think, especially after having kids, I go, 'Well, the alternative is pretty bad. I’ll take me as I am.'"
3. She pointed out the problem with putting looks before accomplishments
After taking note of just how often she faces questions about her body as opposed to her career, McCarthy highlighted the double standard behind putting women's looks first.
"There has to be something more," she explained during an interview with Refinery29. "There are so many more intriguing things about women than their butt or their this or their that. It can't be the first question every time, or a question at all. ... Can you imagine them asking some of these guys I work with, 'How do you keep your butt looking so good?' It would be like, ‘What the f--- are you talking about? Why are you asking about the shape of my butt?’"
4. She explained the importance of taking a compliment
If you've ever caught yourself responding to a compliment with all the reasons you don't deserve it, this gem from the actress is all you need to get ready for the next accolade.
"When you say like, 'Oh, you look great,' so many women for the next 20 minutes are like, 'I got it on sale. It's actually terrible — if I turn around you’d hate it. I’ve got one shorter leg ..." McCarthy told reporters at a press conference in March.
Her advice? She tells daughters Vivian (9) and Georgette (6), "Don’t negate it. Don’t tell them they’re crazy. Just say ‘Thank you. I love it too. That’s why I put it on.’ It’s a little building block, but I hope it’s one of many ways that I show my girls that it’s OK to like who you are. It’s OK that everybody’s different."
5. She told us 'plus size' was just a label — and it shouldn't even be that
McCarthy isn't a big fan of labels, especially ones that leave women feeling as though they don't fit in with the "norm."
“Women come in all sizes," she told Refinery29. "Seventy percent of women in the United States are a size 14 or above, and that’s technically ‘plus size,’ so you’re taking your biggest category of people and telling them, ‘You’re not really worthy.’ I find that very strange."
She added, "I just think, if you’re going to make women’s clothing, make women’s clothing. Designers that put everyone in categories are over-complicating something that should be easy.”
6. She reminded us there are no limits to our potential
Reaching our goals — no matter how modest — can be an amazing thing, but so can the realization that no goal is out of reach.
“I have an overactive sense of justice," McCarthy told More magazine. "I want women to realize you don’t have to work for the company. You can run the company. I want the scope for them to be endless."
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