Day 5: Failing at Shaming Oprah

Have you heard the hullabaloo about Oprah Winfrey joining Weight Watchers?  Even though she’s one of the most wealthy, powerful and accomplished women on the planet, her choice to join WW and encourage others to join her is a big problem for many.

Not me.

Oprah, if you want to lose weight – Go for it!

If you’re not comfortable in your body and you want it to be smaller – Do it!

And if you want to encourage others that feel as you do to join you – Sounds good to me!

Which brings us to the problem. By saying in her ads, “Inside every overweight woman is a woman she knows she can be,” she appears to be saying that every overweight woman needs to be fixed or changed in some way and that is unfortunate.

But I think we’ve all known Oprah long enough to know that if you like how you look and don’t want to lose weight, she could care less. I truly believe that her intention was to try to connect with women that feel as she does about their bodies, but due to an unfortunate word choice her message has been muddled.

My real issue with all of this is how many people are going after Oprah herself for wanting to lose weight in the first place. This manufactured controversy feels like when we argue about whether feminists should work or stay home. I’ve never understood that argument. To me feminism is about having the choice to do whatever feels right and not having to justify the choice you make.

It’s the same with weight. You have the right to create whatever body you want to have! If you like curves, be voluptuous. If you like muscles, hit the gym. If you like looking a certain way and don’t mind doing whatever it takes to create a specific sized body, then knock yourself out.

Maybe Oprah misses her athletic figure and the power all those muscles gave her?  Maybe at 62 she’s simply tired and would like to carry less weight on her frame?  Maybe maintaining her weight loss is the one thing she’s never mastered and she wants to scratch this off her to do list once and for all?

Let me be clear.  I think Oprah looks fine as is but I’m not in her body.  I’m not privy to her energy levels, aches, pains or health challenges.

I get it. Our culture puts too much pressure on women to be thin. So go after all of the underweight, size zero models, actresses, etc. for putting forth an unrealistic ideal. Talk to all the magazine editors for only hiring certain sized models. Or better yet yell at Oprah for having ads with way-too-thin models in her own magazine! But don’t attack a woman for deciding what she wants to do with her own body. Oprah is a smart lady. She can be trusted to make the right decisions for her body, mind and spirit.

Let her be.

And lets stop with all of this black and white thinking. There are so many layers of grey when it comes to health, weight, fitness, body image, self-acceptance, and self-worth. If you completely disagree with her, that doesn’t make Oprah wrong.  It just makes what she’s about right now, wrong for you.

And that’s okay, too.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. stephieann8 says:

    I for one am one of those who disagree with Oprah but it was mostly due to the terrible way her message was put out there. The line she says after the one you post where she says “Many times you look in the mirror and you don’t even recognize your own self, because you’ve gotten lost, buried in the weight that you carry.” I’m all for people doing whatever it is that makes them happy. I just disagree with how she said it.


  2. lbp says:

    I’m sorry it took me so long to respond. I definitely find it interesting how we as a culture are having a hard time navigating this. Fat acceptance, VS health and wellness, VS what we see around us VS what we see in the media. What’s normal? What’s healthy? What can and can not be said. I hope to blog more about this in the future. Fascinating stuff for sure. Thanks for posting!


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