A Teaching Moment

A male reporter told Melissa McCarthy that she’s only a good actress when she looks attractive. And that she, in fact, looked “really bad” in her role as Tammy.  She quite understandably was angry. But, Melissa McCarthy took the time to make it a teaching moment. To the reporter’s credit, he listened. He heard what she had to say. First, Melissa McCarthy asked the critic if he would want someone to deny his own daughter a job because of her physical appearance: He said: “No, I would never want that to happen! Never in a million years want that to happen.” Then, she said this. “Just know every time you write stuff every young girl in this country reads that and they just get a little bit chipped away.”

It’s no small thing to face criticism or anger, as that reporter did. For something, you’ve done. Many people get defensive. And, many justify their behavior. Many others blame someone else. Yet, speaking out as Melissa McCarthy did, she made an opening to shift misinformation, ignorance, and habits. That’s the only way sexism or racism (or anybody) changes. People make mistakes, sometimes cruel and hurtful mistakes. Better if it didn’t happen. But, when it does, what more can you ask than to have a chance to teach that person something they couldn’t think of on their own?

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Dr. Sandra E. Cohen

I’m Dr. Sandra Cohen, a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. I work with creatives in therapy, story/character development, and entertainment consulting. If you are a writer, actor, or director and want help with a character – or a chance to do some of your own personal work - call at 310.273.4827 or email me at to schedule a confidential discussion to explore working together.