Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oprah - my controversial opinion

since Oprah wrote about her weight gain in her January magazine, i've been formulating what i think of her opinion of her "falling off the wagon", as she called it.

i've read a lot of commentary about her article and statements. most people seemed angry that she felt "embarrassed" by the weight gain. many wanted her to be comfortable in her current body, accept how she is now and be a role-model for large-size women. others complained that she talked about her weight in a time of war, economic crisis and poverty.

i feel differently. i respect oprah's honesty. if she doesn't like being 200 pounds, why should she say otherwise? this feels like one of the first times oprah's made herself vulnerable.

She says she's embarrassed. She'd thought she was "finished with the weight battle. i was done. i'd conquered it." she adds that she was "even cocky", telling friends how to lose weight by eating and exercising as she did.

who wouldn't be a little embarrassed? i think she's being humble.

i'm oprah's height and once weighed 200 pounds, and i hated it. i hated that my thighs slapped together when i walked, badly chafing my skin. i hated how my stomach rolled over my pants -- it was so uncomfortable. actually, just sitting was uncomfortable. when my breasts swelled to double Ds, it was hard to find a bra that supported me and ALL bra straps dug into my small shoulder, painfully leaving angry red marks. i also had reddish marks on my breasts and hips, from the stretch marks crawling all over me. stairs winded me. my stomach often hurt when i over ate. an on and on.

i can't imagine oprah feels her best. she says she's not exercising and she must be over-eating, which isn't healthy and doesn't feel good. why should she accept this?

and let's face it, it's not easy being really overweight in this society. fat is not as accepted as thin, and that sucks, but it's real. i wish it were different, but i can't pretend it's otherwise. i was at an oscar party last year and when oprah came on stage to present an award, someone in the room said, "wow, she's turned into a heifer." many others in the room commented on how heavy she'd gotten. who wants that? (of course, the guy who made the comment was an awful, heartless jerk, but i'm sure he's not alone in his thinking and remarks.) when i was heavy, i heard lots of rude remarks about my weight and my giant breasts. i don't hear them now, at 130. ever. it's better.

when i weighed 200 pounds. i really wanted to lose weight. if i weighed 200 pounds today, i'd really want to lose weight. i don't think oprah needs to embrace a weight that's uncomfortable and probably unhealthy for her.

as for talking about something like her weight when there are so many more important issues, Oprah, herself, says "i'm mad at myself. i'm embarrassed. i can't believe that after all these years, i'm still talking about my weight." i'm sure she'd rather be comfortable in her body and have time to put her energy elsewhere. first, she needs to feel good.

she also wrote that "my focus is no longer on weight. my focus this year will be on how to achieve optimum health get support when i need it, find ways to nurture myself, deepen my spiritual connection and have some fun."

these are great comments, but i have a sneaking suspicion, that like so many of us she WILL focus on her weight, even though she probably wishes she weren't.

am i off-base?


  1. you are not off base, I totally agree with everything you said

  2. It must be so hard to be in the public eye all the time in such a big way, and to finally get a grasp on your weight....only to lose that grasp again... I don't envy Super O...

    (you were at an Oscar's party :o :o )

  3. I agree with everything you've said too. I happen to like Oprah, and as you said, she is very vulnerable right now. Just because someone is wealthy and in the public eye, doesn't mean she shouldn't focus on her own health now and then. She has done so much good for so many people, so what if it is an economic crisis and wartime? Yes, the war is horrible and the economy sucks. Life still goes on, doesn't it? should we all just dwell on the negatives? Should we all stop our goals toward self improvement, just because there is a war on, and the economy sucks? If so, the world would collapse. Life is for living, and it is a struggle sometimes. I think Oprah rocks. I feel very badly for her, with this. I think it is stress induced, she's had some horrific things happen this year. Why is it everyone focuses on the bad things about her, when she does so much good for everybody?

  4. When I lost a lot of weight people treated me differently. Society treats overweight people like they have comitted the worst sin - overeating. As though it is a sure sign they are of a weak nature. To me, anything done to excess is a sign of emotional difficulties. Eating, drinking, smoking, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity - all of these things done until they are problematic are one and the same in my eyes, just that eating really cops it in the media.

    I wish the media would just focus on being fit and healthy and aware of your body. I wish companies that sold crap food were banned. I wish people were accepted on their merits rather than the size of their body. Would Oprah be any more relevant if she were as sylph like as Angelina Jolie? Well, gee, she would be perfect then wouldn't she? Not likely. The media would find something else to fire at.

    Today there was an article on a local online newspaper and it said "Fat people are happy" as though being fat automatically assigned you to a life of abject misery. The whole article just reflected the skewed attitude there is with society.

    Oprah has not fallen off the wagon. I hate that expression. She just took her eyes off the road for a while. Once you have been overweight and lost it all, it is a lifelong job to keep it off.

  5. It's never easy to feel big and uncomfortable. Having being around the block myself with my weight (more than once) though, I do have to say I hate it when Oprah says things like she feels like a fat pig. That contributes to fat stigma and to making many more people the subject of shocking discrimination and prejudice.

  6. 1986chick: thank you for the support. i really thought i'd get hammered for this post. it took me a while to get the courage to post.

    Abi: it must, indeed, be awful to gain a lot of weight in the public eye. it's hard enough in real life. and no, i didn't go to a fancy oscar party (that would be amazing). a bunch of friends get together and watch the oscar's every year. i'd like everyone to know i've won the pool the last five years. and i'm pretty snotty when someone talks while i'm watching.

    Kar: i'm with you. i don't know why we have such expectations for our stars. oprah has done so much, including helping to get our new president elected. and you're right, we have to keep living our lives, no matter what's going on around us. i think many of us are conflicted about how much time and effort to devote to beautifying our physical selves. well, at least i am.

    Linda: well-said. i don't understand why overeating is a sin. it seems like it's made into a moral issue. to some, you're a better person if you're thin. but not too thin, of course. anti-fat comments are so prevalent. why does anyone care what someone else weighs? what does it have to do with them? and yes, keeping weight off is a minute-to-minute struggle. it gets tiring, no?

    Cari: i'm with you. Oprah does seem to like thinness. she seems envious of very slim women. when she has make-over shows, the made-over women are always put in "slimming" clothes, like you have to look thinner to look better. i do think Oprah buys into the whole thing, and it does annoy me. but i fear i buy into it too sometimes.

  7. Just checking you didn't go ;) :P as Sophia would say.... not reeeeeeeeeeeee-aleee

  8. I adore Oprah. And I find her ability to embrace the public nature of her battle to like her body to be admirable and courageous. I, too, wish people would hear her when she talks about wanting to feel healthy and to feel comfortable with her body in whatever state it's in, rather than concentrate on the numbers on the scale. I get the feeling from her dialogue that her inner battle has more to do with self-perception than it does with weight (though the two continue to be inexorably linked for her and for many of us.)

    I do sometimes tease Oprah-- much as I love her, she does sometimes sort of act like she's the Pope-- Pope-rah! But, I do admire her and love her show and her magazine. You're not off base-- I just think she and her battle need to be taken with a grain of salt. She is, after all, just a person.

  9. abi; wish i could meet sophia. she sounds like a cool little person. yes, my life is not glamorous. some day!

    D.M. Amen. you said.

    oprah can get very Pope-rah (brilliant, D.M.). i actually like when she's human. now, she seems to be talking about menopause and not feeling as energetic as she used to. and when oprah says something, people connect.