Melissa McCarthy made history at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards.

On April 10, 2016, Melissa McCarthy crowd surfed to the stage at the MTV Movie Awards.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for MTV.


And it was 100% appropriate. Because that was totally her night to shine.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for MTV.

McCarthy accepted MTV's Comedic Genius Award, and it was the first time a woman received the honor.

After she was lifted onto the stage, clumsily dropped her golden popcorn statue — "that wasn't part of the bit" — and poked fun at last year's award recipient Kevin Hart (whom she called "The Rock's assistant"), McCarthy totally nailed her acceptance speech.

(Is anyone surprised?)

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

Here's what she had to say on being a trailblazer (emphasis mine):

"I may be the first woman to win this award, but I am ... certainly, certainly not the first one to deserve it. I don't know — I think I'm a walking human patchwork of all the remarkable, funny women who I have loved and studied over the years, and I am only here because Carol Burnett, Jane Curtin, Phyllis Diller, Whoopi Goldberg, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Diane Keaton, Tracey Ullman, Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, and my mom ... who taught me not to fear being the butt of the joke, taught me not to worry about being likable or perfect, and to lovingly go for the kill."

April was pretty much the Month of McCarthy. Early in the month, news broke that she was returning to her role in Netflix's revival of "Gilmore Girls" after all (her co-stars, and the Internet in general, were over the moon about it). And not long after, her new film, "The Boss," dethroned "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" at the box office to take the top spot.

Her historic win at the MTV Movie Awards was just the icing on the cake of an already pretty sweet month.

McCarthy really nailed it with her acceptance speech too. Because although countless funny women have come before her, not all of them have been justly recognized for their success.

The age-old "women aren't funny" notion is an obnoxious stereotype with staying power. Women in comedy have been fighting it for decades, maneuvering their way through an oftentimes sexist industry with double standards as far as the eye can see.


But comedians like McCarthy, Amy Schumer, Leslie Jones, Mindy Kaling, and so many others have been shaking things up in recent years through their feminist messaging and their blockbuster success. American moviegoers are increasingly open to the idea that women are funny after all (who would have thought?) and these changing attitudes are evident at the box office.

Here's to hoping a woman winning a comedy award won't be all that newsworthy in the years to come...

...and also that McCarthy will never accept an award any other way than how she did at those movie awards.

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for MTV.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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Kids can innovate, create, and imagine in ways that are fresh and inspiring — when we "allow" them to do so, anyway. Despite the tendency for parents to freak out because their kids are spending more and more time with technology in schools, and the tendency for schools themselves to set extremely restrictive limits on the usage of such technology, there's a solid argument for letting them be free to imagine and then make it happen.

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