There’s No Need to Apologize, Oprah!
Why do women – celebrity or not – still feel the need to apologize for our bodies?
It’s not easy to feel bad for Oprah Winfrey. Mostly because she’s, um, Oprah. But after reading her candid confessional in the January issue of “O” magazine, in which she discusses her struggle with food addiction, I want to give Lady O a hug.
In the article, released in advance to the Associated Press, Oprah opens up about her yo-yo weight problems, admitting she currently tips the scales at 200 pounds.
“I’m mad at myself,” she writes. “I’m embarrassed…I can’t believe that after all these years, all the things I know how to do, I’m still talking about my weight. I look at my thinner self and think, ‘How did I let this happen again?'”
Excuse me, Oprah? Let me stop you right there. You don’t have to apologize to us. We love you – perhaps inexplicably – but we love you. We would love you if you weighed 400 pounds, wore a paper bag on your head and recommended really crappy books.
In the article Oprah stresses this is a health issue for her, not a vanity issue. (She’s gained 40 pounds since her 2006 weight of 160 pounds.) Agreed. Getting to a healthy body weight is a good thing. What concerns me is her contrite tone.
“I was talking the talk, but I wasn’t walking the walk,” she writes. “And that was very disappointing to me.”
Why is it that women – no matter how high the glass ceilings we shatter, no matter how vast the empires we create, no matter how deep the love we pour into the world – still feel the need to apologize for our bodies?
Compounding the problem? Oprah’s psychological addiction to food is played out before a cruel world media, which likely adds to the stress that triggers her unhealthy eating habits. What a nasty Catch-22. Or Catch-40 pounds in this case.
Other celebrities have faced similar yo-yo weight woes. Janet Jackson has struggled with her weight for years. And Kirstie Alley, after famously losing 75 pounds as a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig, threatened to sue the National Enquirer, claiming they altered photos to make it appear she’d regained the weight. The list of celebrities mocked in the media for their weight troubles goes on: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Valerie Bertinelli, Sandra Bullock, even Alec Baldwin. And poor Britney Spears! As Salon.com reports, first Brit was derided for being too fat at the VMAs (and okay, too strung out?). Now rumors persist that she’s abusing diet pills and purging in order to snag a svelte new figure.
So the next time you have a little debate with yourself over eating that second gingerbread man, just be grateful you don’t have to pen an apology letter about it in the morning. In your own g.d. magazine.
What do you think about celeb yo-yo dieting? Do you feel sorry for Oprah’s weight struggles? Are your weight woes worse during the holidays?