If you are reading this you clearly have access to the internet, and therefore you have most likely read something about Oprah Winfrey’s weight gain confession. The jist is this: Oprah weighed 160 pounds two years ago, and now she weighs 200. She “confessed” to the weight gain for the January issue of O Magazine, and now the world wide web is buzzing. The real issue here though is not the weight gain, but the crazy amount of attention it has received.
I think we can all get behind the idea that our media culture is a tad weight-obsessed, so there is no real reason to open that can of anorexic worms. The coverage of Oprah’s weight gain is sexist and sizeist, straight up. Of course Oprah feels like her weight is scrutinized and that she has to apologize for her appearance, because it’s true. Media critics are falling all over themselves to “weigh in” on the weight confession and while many of them are saying things like, “It’s ok Oprah, it’s your health that is important, not your size,” they are still contributing to the weight-crazy culture that made Oprah feel like she had to apologize in the first place.
So what’s the solution? If Oprah gets so much attention for “confessing” to her weight gain (which in itself implies that she should feel guilty about it), doesn’t that reinforce the notion that weight is something we should focus on? And look at the cover of O magazine. While Oprah may be saying that she is happy with her size and is not ashamed, she is pictured above a headline that reads, “Making Weight Loss Stick.” Is it even realistic to hope that we can get to a point where a 55-year old woman’s 40-pound weight gain isn’t front page news?
Here is hoping that we can get beyond this weight gain and focus on more important things, like how hilarious Oprah’s appearance on 30 Rock was a few weeks ago: