Oprah is an icon. She has achieved a level of wealth and fame that is unfathomable. I grew up watching her show and cried like a baby when her show came to an end. She represented the perfect balance of strength and vulnerability, wealth and down to earthness. Awesome right?! But now when I think of Oprah, all that comes to mind is Common’s classic song, “I Used to Love H.E.R.”.
She gave us Selma which was great but then she criticized Black Lives Matter protesters for not having “clear demands”. I haven’t heard much from her on the #OscarsSoWhite issue. I actually don’t know what Oprah has been up to these days. Oh wait, yes I do, she bought stock in Weight Watchers and has since become the face of the company which leads me to say, “really Oprah?!”. We are all used to celebrities pushing Weight Watchers, some of the most notable being Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson but Oprah is different.
First off Oprah is a multi billionaire. The other women are humble millionaires. Granted by most definitions they are all considered rich and would be quite well taken care of with or without their Weight Watchers checks, but Oprah really doesn’t need the money.
Money aside, what grinds my gears about Oprah putting the Oprah stamp on Weight Watchers is that she built her empire on supporting and encouraging women to be their best selves. She has a responsibility to consider how we might then react physically and mentally to her suggesting we join a dieting program. Never mind the fact that Weight Watchers has a 15% success rate and any nutritionist or dietician will tell you that these sort of diet plans aren’t sustainable nor the healthiest. Moreover, we have loved Oprah at every size, why at this juncture in her career is she choosing to promote this idea that we need to “lose weight” and not for the sake of our health necessarily?
Truth be told, I don’t really care what Oprah does with her body. Women should feel free to do what they feel they need to do with their bodies. It is the promoting and profiting off of her new “journey” that I find problematic.
Put simply, Oprah, as a woman who we have witnessed fluctuate in size for decades, missed an opportunity to powerfully own her body and her beauty (although, you can’t really buy 10 shares of loving who you are on the stock market so I suppose it isn’t as lucrative). Nevertheless, I do agree with her about one thing, “let’s make 2016 the year of our best bodies”. I think we should make 2016 the year of our best bodies not because of a diet plan but because it already is.