Janey

Excuse me while I punch the screen

Yep, I’m watching Oprah again. And yep, her show is the catalyst for another post. I’m watching an episode where Oprah talks to Geneen Roth, author of the book “Women, Food and God”. Oh man, this episode has some hardcore mixed messages. As a disclaimer, I have not read this book, I’ve only perused excerpts on the web.

Look, Geneen Roth’s book is probably pretty accurate as to how a lot of people feel when they eat. Our society has attached moral value to food that I find truly bizarre. That it’s bad to eat cake, it’s good to eat vegetables, that kind of thing. And then when we eat the “bad” foods, we shame ourselves. When they read excerpts from the book, I fully agreed with it. Fat people (any people, actually) need to stop equating their self-worth with how much they weigh, and/or what foods they eat. Everyone needs to stop judging themselves as ugly, bad, or not the ideal.

It was actually a comment by Oprah that make me want to punch the TV. “Any time you better yourself, whether it’s losing weight, or getting a job or improving yourself in any way, and the people around you are not happy for that. It is their self loathing, it is their insecurity, it is their dislike and disrespect of themselves that they are reflecting out to you. It has nothing to do with you.”

I say this to you, Oprah. Any time you equate being thinner with improving oneself, you are perpetuating that same culture of self loathing, shame, and hatred over your appearance. It belittles the hard work people put into improving their self esteem. My appearance is not an indicator of my health or wellbeing and especially not my worth as a human being. We  need to stop beating ourselves up. We need to stop the shaming. This is completely irrespective of weight.

I don’t understand this episode. First they say that you should love and respect yourself, and look past all your “flaws” and see the real you. And then it’s all brought back to losing weight. How are you loving yourself as you are if you’re still trying to change the way you look?

So conflicted. Have you seen this episode? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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  • Soo

    I love this post. You hit the nail right on the head. Oprah bases her self-worth on how she looks. If she is heavier, she is bad. If she is thinner, she is good. I don't understand how she can do all these amazing things (top rated talk show, school for girls, make billions of dollars) and not look at them and say, “I am awesome”. Oprah is sending the wrong message and the reason she is unhappy with herself is because she does not understand that weight and looks don't mean shit. It's the way you are that truly matters. Thanks for your post.

  • sassaphrazz

    Oprah has bought into the cultural lie that success equals self control “mastery” of self… it is the penultimate white-man western myth control over appetite, environment, climate, brown people, animals, God… What I am baffled by is how Oprah cannot make clear connections between how african american women were viewed as lesser beauties and how zaftig lovies are “clearly deficient in self control i.e. losers”. That she cannot see the correlations here which drive class, race, weight, success… even her… damn shame. That people cannot see the white man's myth crumbling around us… in every sense of the “dream” as I swelter in the hottest summer on record… yeah… mastery indeed… now…which diet actually works again?

  • Ksenija

    It’s not about changing your look and be thin, it’s about listen to your body: you eat, when you are hungry and so much, that you are satisfied. Geneen has good concept, but it’s a way of life, not a diet or something. Weight loss comes after that, when you even don’t pay attention to it! It comes spontaneously! I understand this ‘body love’ as living in balance, being moderate, eating real food not junk, being active (but not compulsive!) … So if you’re overweight (as I was), after time you reach your natural weight (but do not expect you’re gonna be a supermodel, ever!).
    Anyway, I think Oprah has some self-issues and she’ll have to work hard to be free and feel good in her own body. I hope she will succeed this time (not being skinny but being truly self).

    Sorry for English grammar mistakes. ;)

    Ksenija

  • Ksenija

    It's not about changing your look and be thin, it's about listen to your body: you eat, when you are hungry and so much, that you are satisfied. Geneen has good concept, but it's a way of life, not a diet or something. Weight loss comes after that, when you even don't pay attention to it! It comes spontaneously! I understand this 'body love' as living in balance, being moderate, eating real food not junk, being active (but not compulsive!) … So if you're overweight (as I was), after time you reach your natural weight (but do not expect you're gonna be a supermodel, ever!).
    Anyway, I think Oprah has some self-issues and she'll have to work hard to be free and feel good in her own body. I hope she will succeed this time (not being skinny but being truly self).

    Sorry for English grammar mistakes. ;)

    Ksenija

  • M-C

    I saw that episode!! At first I thought it was very interesting, but like you I ended up being very mad!! Especially when it turned into: oh look! She did it! She took notice of her actions and the lost weight!! great success stories…. bah! At the beginning of the show I really thought it was going to be about accepting yourself, period. Not accepting yourself so that you can then go on to lose weight…

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