Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Oh, O

I know, I know, y'all want to hear more about Oprah's weight gain. In the latest issue of her magazine, Oprah asks: "How Did I Let This Happen Again?"

I don't want to point any fingers, but maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with this. When are we all going to figure out that if diets are imprisoning, cleanses are the solitary confinement of food restriction? Is there anyone out there who's cleansed without, when all's said and done, gaining any compensatory weight? A cleanse is too restrictive to live by, and the body and mind inevitably rebel from a period of deprivation.

Still, I hate to talk about her weight. I hate that she's talking about her weight. She's one of the world's most powerful, influential women, and the most newsworthy item about her is what happens when she steps on the scale?

15 comments:

Burp~! said...

I agree. Everytime I see the tabloids screaming out about Oprah's weight gain/loss, I just want to scream myself. WHO CARES about her WEIGHT when she is doing such amazing stuff other than DIET? that said, I wish Oprah would set an example for all women by accepting her natural weight...but like you said, every woman has an eating disorder...

Leigh said...

Oprah is an exceptionally powerful woman - but much of her power comes from her connection to her readers and viewers and they want to feel that personal contact with her, which comes from her willingness to discuss her weight problems.

I agree with you that it would be more helpful to her fans if she could let that go and discuss being healthy -not dieting and not feeling self-loathing for not being skinny - but if she were to give that up completely, she would lose that connection. Most of the rest of her life is so far removed from the average person's that weight issues are her primary line to them, the one thing she truly has in common with them.

Kim said...

Frankly, I am more annoyed than saddened by this obsession with her weight. And I'm mad at her for feeding into it (no pun intended). She is a powerful, smart, ambitious woman. Yet, her #1 concern seems to be her weight. Come on now. That's ridiculous. She lets the media focus on her weight instead of just saying, "You know what, this is my size. I'm done dieting. Let's move on." She's back on the "I'm going to find time to exercise" bandwagon, which just makes me roll my eyes. If we, as women, would stop hating ourselves and constantly seeing ourselves as needing "improvement," we probably would be healthy and happy, without all this fix-it effort. That's my 2 (or 3) cents.

Stacia said...

Of anyone on the planet , Oprah has the power to change the notion that women's value is tied into their weight. I'm sick of her cyclical self flaggelation about her weight gain, and public airing of shame. She is perpetuating the societal crap that keeps women in bondage. With all that she has achieved in her life is she still focusing on her "failure" with weight? WTF?
Think of how powerful it would be if she accepted her body type, told the truth about the insanity of diets, and encouraged millions of women to do the same. This is a huge opportunity squandered.

justjuliebean said...

A friend of mine does a cleanse every February. For some reason, he thinks it's good for him. He eats brown rice and vegetables and strange things like clay and pills. He has a headache, no energy, and feels like shit the whole month, yet is convinced it is helping. His doctor says it probably won't hurt too much, not exactly a ringing endorsement. He is thin, never eats enough to gain weight, but is borderline diabetic (probably due to all the juice he drinks the rest of the year). Not my business, not my problem.

Sara E Anderson said...

"Cleansing" is an extremely suspect concept, but it's big business, so I don't expect it to disappear any time soon.

RunnerGirl said...

It is interesting that one of the world most powerful women seems to lose confidence and self-esteem when she gains weight and is "fat". It's one thing to be concerned about health, but Oprah seems to focus mainly on looks being what makes you confident. Though I'm sure some health talk is thrown in.
If you take a feminist approach to EDs this makes perfect sense. The still male dominated society would certainly prepare us women to be focused on whittling ourselves down instead of focusing on becoming more powerful and accomplishing something other than lowering the number on the scale.
Despite everything Oprah has accomplished the fact that her weight makes multiple headlines in multiple outlets is a disturbing reminder that women have a long way to go (I doubt if Leno gained as much if it would be news)

azusmom said...

Oy, Oprah, enough already! Accept and love yourself as you are! You could be a role model for your millions of fans!
As for the idea that her weight issues are the only thing that keep her connected to the rest of us, I have to disagree. Yes, she's subject to the same foibles as the rest of us are, but she's also in a unique position to change attitudes: She would be a better influence if she stopped perpetuating the idea that we are what we weigh, and took a good, long look at herself and her accomplishments.

Maya said...

Oprah, who looks younger than her years, is a classic beauty!

Symmetrical face.
Large sparkly,almond-shaped eyes.
Glowing skin.
Full sensuous lips.
Thick, healthy hair.
Her breasts are proportionate to her hips.
CLASSIC beauty!

People who know her cannot physically keep up with her. She runs circles around them!

Oh, wait, she is larger than a size 6.
Forget what I said ;)

TrixieBelden said...

Speaking of cleanses - Gwenyth Paltrow made the following comment in her GOOP newsletter, and it has been picked up by tons of blogs, but now it seems she's pulled it off the website:

"I need to lose a few pounds of holiday excess," Gwyneth wrote to subscribers. "Anyone else? I like to do fasts and detoxes a couple of times during the year, the most hardcore one being the Master Cleanse I did last spring. It was not what you would characterize as pretty. Or easy. It did work, however."

It is so frightening that this woman is (a) claiming she needs to lose weight when she is basically skeletal and (b) that she is advocating cleanses. Shouldn't we all try to eat healthy on a regular basis? Don't cleanses just work temporarily and then you end up gaining the weight back when you go back to actual food? It really scares me when someone with influence and an audience advocates these things - as you mentioned Oprah did.

My issue with Oprah is that she didn't start talking about her weight in the June issue or maybe even the November issue of her magazine - no she waited until prime "weight loss season" - the penultimate January issue of every magazine on the newsstand - to start talking about how she's unhappy with her weight. Is she really unhappy, or is this just good business sense to time your story when it will get maximum attention (and newsstand sales)? Mind you, from a business persective, I think she did the smart thing. It's just from a personal perspective it just seems forced.

JJ said...

I don't feel sorry for Oprah either. Whatever issues she's got with food, she can hire a million dollar an hour therapist to help her sort it out. There's no reason for it to have gone on THIS long.

Though it helps her sell magazines. A lot of women relate to her "Oh no, I'm a failure, I've ruined my life by getting fat" thing that she's always talking about, and if she suddenly said "I'm so sexy the way I am!", well... that doesn't sell magazines.

Every time I see an article about her weight I go "UGH!" and I can feel my blood pressure raising.

drstaceyny said...

Anyone see the clip of her on Larry King last night? She said that SHE'S sick and tired of talking about her weight. Of course, my first thought was, "Ok, then, stop!" Maybe it's like Leigh, Trixie, and JJ say--it connects her to other women and therefore increases readership. She also commented on all her success, but how she's so disappointed that she can't control her herself. I disagree. I think she can control herself (can you accomplish all that w/out self-control) The only lack of self-control I see is continued participation in yo-yo dieting.

Maya--I think she's beautiful, too (inside and out). It's funny though b/c I recently saw a special on her (on E, maybe?) and she talked abt how tv execs were hesitant to put her on camera early on b/c of her looks--not necessarily her weight at that point, but b/c of things like her eyes "being too wide apart."

Thanks for the other commments--I echo what all of you had to say.

Dori said...

As irritating as it is to hear Oprah go on and on about her weight gain, it was also comforting to hear her voice the exact same words I say to myself ALL the time: How did I let this happen?

I lost a good amount of weight after college, and it was so easy to keep it off for a few years. Then last year, I gained a little and my most frequent thought is just what Oprah said. How did I let this happen? Knowing everything I know about losing weight and eating healthy, how did I let it get this far?

It was good tohave my thoughts put out there like that so I know others think the same way.

Of course, now Oprah has said it and can move on to another topic, for all our benefits. :)

TomG said...

If someone paid me half the money Opera earns by putting her name on these products I would have no issues with suffering for 21 days. If I did that, I highly doubt those three weeks would turn me so bonkers as to be the driving force behind a 40 pound weight gain

Talking about her weight certainly is tedious, but what else can you expect when that is a big reason why she is such a powerful, influencial woman?

What is the second most newsworthy thing she has done in the past few months?

R Harlow B said...

O talking about her weight struggles makes her human. people can relate to her.