Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oprah

Oprah.
Most people either love her or hate her.
Everyone knows her name.

Whether you love her or hate her, one has to agree that Oprah Winfrey is a remarkable woman. She seems to have everything anyone could want - wealth, prestige, influence. And yet, she beats herself up because she doesn't fit some romanticized ideal of a woman's shape and size.

I read "We Share Your Loss, And Your Gain" in the Washington Post today. The before picture which the author chose was one from twenty years ago, when Oprah was a smaller size (and twenty years younger.) When I saw this picture, I thought "Gosh, that looks so unnatural. It doesn't even look like Oprah." I clicked to the After picture, a more recent snapshot of Oprah at a gala. To my eye, she looked healthy, resplendent in a bronzy gown.

So why did the author insist on implying that Oprah's steady weight gain in recent years was unhealthy? Why did the author insist on implying that Oprah *should* be a size 8?

Why are we all so fixated on numbers?

I'll have to pick up the January issue of Oprah at the library and read what Oprah has to say on the matter. My hope is that she embraces herself and sends the message that none of us have to be thin to be successful. That success is measured who we are and what we do rather than what we look like.

I respect Oprah. I respect her because of all the people she has helped with the wealth she has earned by being a savvy businesswoman; not because she wears a particular size or weighs a certain amount.

This world needs role models. Women in particular need other women to light the way, to shout that health and beauty come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

Who'll shout with me?