So, you all know Oprah?
Massively famous American woman who had a talk show for a few years and then bought a network which she filled with reality shows about dysfunctional semi-famous people and briefly a talk show with Rosie O’Donnell. Remember Rosie’s show from 20 years ago? She never could quite re-capture that.
Anyway, so there’s been a lot of yada yada about Oprah’s latest weight loss – 30 pounds on Weight Watchers. Oprah has also basically bought Watch Watchers so all weight loss is good for the company. I saw a piece that Good Morning America did on this and commented that for god’s sake couldn’t Oprah talk about something else. For all Oprah’s talk of women being empowered and own your power and quack your own duck and you can do it, women of America, she has never ever stopped talking about weight loss. Oprah, who is a brilliant woman and a woman who clawed her way out of poverty and violence, refuses to stop adding to the obsession women have with their weight. Such is her brand. Her brand has always seemed to say ‘women, you can go this deep but no deeper.’ Her magazine has the odd article about women temporarily removing themselves from their (my, our) self-obsession and middle class lives to help other people. But it quickly scurries back to women advising women on how to get over petty jealousies, succeed at work (get that promotion!), put on that makeup properly dammit, look years (decades? centuries?) younger, walk across (or maybe up and down if you don’ t have enough time) the country and heal yourself from emotional trauma, and where to get a really, really cool bag and thing a ma jig.
Hey, now, there is often something very comforting about reading O Magazine on the beach. About checking out Gail’s page to see what/who she is promoting, er writing about. And sometimes the book suggestions are not terrible at all, although they tend toward being books about women who either walk across the country to recover from some emotional trauma or who have tried to walk across the country to heal some emotional trauma but couldn’t quite finish because they got a fungal infection and had to stay home for six months following the attempt but that is when they really really learned about themselves.
Now, now, some of her fiction suggestions I have enjoyed. Also, as a bit of a side note, if ever I met Oprah (why on earth this would happen I have no idea), I would certainly pass out. Oprah is brilliant brilliant. I must emphasize that I fully realize that Oprah is far more brilliant than almost everyone I have ever known, except my psychiatrist who seems to be so smart that I don’t know how she keeps all of that smart in her brain and have children and many patients. Amazing. So please, I do think that Oprah is amazing.
Sorry back to the point – the point! First though, Oprah does, I realize, give away countless millions of dollars to charity, starting schools, etc. Amazing. Although she has so so much money (all of the money) I am not sure if this even makes a dent in her wallet(s).
The point! The point! Women (me me me too) will obsess about their/our weight forever and ever amen because we of course have been conditioned to do so. We will continue to see rail thin 30 year old women playing mothers of teenagers (I am looking at you, Bloodline Netflix series. No way was that woman old enough to be Danny’s kid’s mother. Otherwise though it was an excellent series) and diet and weight loss programs, forever and ever. The weight loss industrial complex is worth billions. Weight Watchers knows this. Oprah knows this. All of the conversation she creates about women walking across the country to heal their emotional trauma and women who make cupcakes to help grandmothers in Burma, are nothing compared to her constant uplifting and worship of weight loss. Obviously, being heavy can definitely be the result of emotional trauma and that should always be looked at. But none of that is what Oprah is even trying to do anymore – it’s all weight loss (join Weigh Watchers! I bought the company) all of the time.
I realize that Oprah will never really deepen the conversation – that is not her brand. But it seems she is shallowing the waters even more.