Oprah, Weight Watchers and Loving Our Bodies
I assumed she had learned to love her curvy figure. She always looks happy and confident on the cover of her magazine when I’m in the line at the grocery store. I was so glad that my daughter wouldn’t grow up with the fat wagon episode I had. Emmeline would grow up with all the best things about Oprah (and there are so many).
However, at the beginning of the new year, I noticed an Oprah commercial about Weigh Watchers. I later learned that in October, Oprah took a 10% stake in Weight Watchers. On Tuesday, she tweeted a video ad about how she lost 26 pounds using the program, and the company’s share price surged by almost 20 %. Oprah is also a savvy business woman, and I love to watch her break glass ceilings, particularly as a woman of color.
I don’t want to belittle Oprah’s choice to join Weight Watchers. But, this endorsement makes me sad. If Oprah, a brilliant woman with billions of dollars and directing teams of people, feels unsatisfied with her body and chooses to publicly participate in a weight loss program, the message is clear…our accomplishments do not matter unless we are also thin. And, I feel a little more deflated as I continue my quest to love my body as it is because if I can’t love my body, how can I hope that my beautiful 5-year-old daughter who loves her “cute round booty” and her “tall strong legs” will continue to feel confident in her skin?
How pernicious is our weigh-obsessed culture?
I watch Young Women I love pin inspirational memes about thinness and eating plans that they should not worry about, and I wonder how to stem this tide.
What do you do to change this culture when even our most savvy celebrities are not immune? What role models have you found who have embraced body acceptance? How do you help the next generation do better than we have?
*Also, don’t miss Alysa Auriemma’s excellent post on The Mary Sue, “What Oprah is Getting (Dangerously) Wrong About the Fat Experience in Weight Watchers Messaging.”