Oprah Part 2: Who am I kidding?


I've been pondering the discussion about Oprah outing herself on her weight gain. My intial reaction, was similar to the rest of you;

Why does Oprah feel she needs to beat herself up in front of the world?

Does she really look so bad at 200lbs?

Or as Tracey Z put it "When one of the most powerful women in America can't feel good about herself at a weight that is still considered fairly average by today's standards, how are the rest of us supposed to feel?"

If I am honest with myself, and with you, I would be freaking out if I weighed 200lbs. I would not be happy with my body, I would be working the weight of, and I, like Oprah would be apologizing for myself.

I have never been overweight.

I likely never will be overweight due to my height and metabolism.

I will never, ever know what it is like to be fat in a society of fat haters.

I would not feel like a "fat cow" standing between Cher and Tina Turner, as Oprah admitedly did.

The fact of the matter is this; I can talk all I want about fat acceptance. I can be compassionate towards obese individuals and try to influence all of you to think twice about your feelings about fat…but deep down I am glad I am not fat. And if I was, I would do everything I could to get rid of it.

Am I a total hypocrite or what?


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18 Responses to Oprah Part 2: Who am I kidding?

  1. Katie says:

    Not hypocritical. Speaking as someone who as weighed anyway between who went from 230lbs to 130lbs and then back again during the last 2 years (Admittedly eating disorder educed), I don’t begrudge you for saying that.
    I know what it’s like to be that fat cow standing between ‘Cher’ and ‘Tina’ (In my case it was Sally and Jess) and I can understand why you’d never want to be fat.
    It’s horrible but not because of the weight or the way you look, it’s still possible to be absolutely gorgeous.
    It’s society that makes you feel like crap, that are prejudice and hate you even and yet they don’t realise what they are doing to that person inside. They don’t realise the pain it can cause and the problems it can cause in response (The comments of someone was actually what triggered my distorted eating patterns and eventually bulimia)
    You can still be compassionate and caring towards overweight people even if you don’t ever want to be overweight.
    I hope that made some kinda sense.

  2. Liz says:

    I think it’s a natural feeling.
    Being horrified of being fat yourself doesn’t change the fact that you should still treat all people no matter size, shape, color, sexuality, etc. with the same amount of respect.
    And you’re a very thoughtful open-minded person. So don’t beat yourself up about it.
    I’m kind of the same really. Well I can very easily gain weight, which is why I practically starve myself to keep it off. My worst fear is being fat again. But that doesn’t make me treat fat people badly.
    I think, really, it’s all about human decency.

  3. Rachel says:

    I don’t think you’re a hypocrite; I think you’re honest. But there’s a difference between you, someone who is admittedly genetically thin, and someone who is genetically overweight: You have a choice in the matter; the genetically larger person doesn’t.
    I was morbidly obese when I began the diet that would later develop into my eating disorder. I, too, would have done anything to lose the weight, which, in my case, meant anorexia and bulimia. No price was too high to pay, I used to think. When I began recovery, I regained some of the weight I lost, but I’ve still maintained a significant weight loss (healthily) for five years now. Do I want to return to my former weight? Never. Can I still promote body and fat acceptance even so? Absolutely. Fat acceptance is about treating people with dignity and respect, regardless of their size or why they weigh what they do.
    (I think the name “fat acceptance” is somewhat misleading. Many who are unfamiliar with the movement thinks that fat acceptance activists are trying to force others to “accept” fat; they aren’t. I much prefer the identifier “fat rights” instead; it more aptly sums up my goals, which are to fight for equal rights for all people, regardless of size.)

  4. aj says:

    you are certainly no hypocrite!
    you merely state a point, one being, that if you have never been inclined to weight gain you never truly grasp the meaning of “fat” the projection from others about being “fat” and and and all the crap that comes with that territory. as an anorexic i have to say i USED to feel like a RETARD…..honestly, it was considered crazy in the 70’s to present with an emaciated body, not to mention the stigma attached to anything mental health….. NOW it’s bloody glorified!!!

  5. Melissa says:

    Def. not a hypocrite, MamaV. It’s nice to see someone who is thin who can still be compassionate. That’s why I didn’t berate Oprah; rather, I feel for her. I’d be doing the same thing — and I’m hung up on 10 lbs, not 40!! 10 lbs won’t make me look that much different, but I FEEL the weight on me, and it hurts because it’s a reminder of something I achieved … and then didn’t keep my promise to myself. (All my weight was lost on WW — no starving, no binging, no purging). But the bottom line is, maintaining weight loss is HARD. Much harder than losing.

  6. Rachel says:

    But the bottom line is, maintaining weight loss is HARD. Much harder than losing.
    You’re absolutely right, Melissa. And that’s the reason why dieting has such a high failure rate. Sure, you can lose weight by dieting… as long as you stay on the diet. Diets are usually too unreasonable to maintain for a lifetime.

  7. Katie says:

    I don’t think you’re a hypocrite. You’ve made it obvious that you care about fat acceptance, and I think that says a lot.
    I just looked up what my bmi would be at 200 lbs. I would still be considered normal weight. That’s so weird, as it still sounds really high. Oprah is quite a bit shorter than me, but I really don’t think she looks terribly fat at 200 lbs.

  8. Anne says:

    Hmm, I’m going to have to slightly disagree with all the other responders. You ARE being slightly hypocritical…
    …THAT BEING SAID… who isn’t today? It’s impossible not to be slightly hypocritical. Especially since you are a mother… I don’t know why but hypocrisy and motherhood seem to go hand in hand (do as i say not as i do etc.).
    I don’t think being hypocritical is so terrible. Just like I don’t think being pessimistic is so terrible. We assume these attitudes are negatives, when really any attitude to an extreme is a negative. I think it all comes back to that word: moderation.
    Anything in moderation can build a happy and healthy life. Moderate hypocrisy, moderate conservatism, moderate eating, moderate exercising, moderate liberalism…
    it’s when people veer to an extreme that trouble starts. Hence we have hypocrites, crazy right wingers, eating disorders, compulsive overexercisers, crazy left wingers etc.
    To be unhappy at 200 pounds does not seem like an extreme to me. To be completely miserable, self loathing, and publicly self deprecating DOES. If Oprah was moderate about this, and wanted to deal with it healthfully, she could have done so. Part of me wonders how much of this was motivated by her own feelings and how much was a press agent saying “lets get you on a magazine cover!”

  9. Newt says:

    I think your feelings are the norm. Every woman at one point or another questions their size regardless if they have an ed or not. To me Oprah’s comment just make her more real. Before becoming the mighty O she was no different then the rest of us and obviously has the same insecurities with weight gain as any other woman.

  10. Dissapointed says:

    “but deep down I am glad I am not fat. And if I was, I would do everything I could to get rid of it.”
    You just lost me as a reader.

  11. Jennii says:

    As someone who’s been overweight, slightly underweight (not in terms of BMI, but in relation to my own body structure), and then at a normal weight for an extended period of time, I completely understand how you feel. The idea of even getting CLOSE to the weight I used to be terrifies me to no end. And I think that even if I lacked the eating disorder “want to be skinny” thoughts, I would STILL not ever want to go back to my old highest weight.
    I’ll be honest, though… I have a lot of trouble with fat acceptance. But this is mostly because I always see all the fat people I know shovelling in junk all the time, so they’re clearly not fat and healthy, you know? And I (likely wrongly) imagine that most people aren’t fat and healthy… they’re fat because they eat a lot of crap and don’t exercise right. And, honestly, you can often tell just by looking whether someone is overweight but healthy, or overweight and probably not that healthy. They’ll look more toned, etc, if they’re actually healthy, and they also won’t eat fast food 24/7. You know?
    I don’t really think less of a person — as in their personality, intelligence, etc — if they’re fat. But I think it’s immature and irresponsible of them to feed their bodies crap all the time and summarily gain a lot of unhealthy weight… yes, I do. But this is probably stemming from my own belief that when I was fat, I was horrible and disgusting, and I’m probably just projecting my shit onto everybody else.

  12. mamaV says:

    Hi Dissapointed: Why have I lost you as a reader?
    I can only assume it is because part of fat acceptance is not judging it as bad and something to be rid of? That’s the point of this whole post!
    I know by stating honestly what I feel is contrary to how I feel about fat acceptance- but bottomline it says to the world “Fat is ok for you and but not for me.” As if somehow I am too good for fat.
    Offensive I know- but blogging is about disussion and taking a look at why you think how you think.
    So help me understand why this is offensive to you personally.

  13. jody says:

    In a small way i do feel that you are being hypocritical-
    “but deep down I am glad I am not fat. And if I was, I would do everything I could to get rid of it.”
    The latter being the part i feel is slightly hypocritical. That exact thought process is what led me onto this ten plus year journey into disordered eating. The Everything i could for me was restricting and purging and falling into this cycle of self loathing and unhealthiness.
    I do not want to be fat again- however to today’s society after losing nearly half of my body weight i am still not considered thin or even close. However if you know me and what i used to look like it is a shock i am a skeleton comparatively. My biggest fear is that now that i am pregnant that i will have a hard time losing the baby weight (and i wonder if the ed is why i am in my second trimester without having gained any weight) and an even bigger fear that i will pass this twisted thought process and body loathing onto my son or daughter…

  14. Sarah says:

    “but deep down I am glad I am not fat. And if I was, I would do everything I could to get rid of it.
    Am I a total hypocrite or what?”
    No, it’s just obvious that you have never completely recovered from your eating disorder. Making a comment like that in such a public forum is no doubt going to have a negative effect on your readers.
    “See, even MamaVision couldn’t stand being 200 pounds! So, why should I seek help from her blog?”
    The FEAR of fat DRIVES eating disorders. The loathing created about fat people based on stereotype (which the poster by the name of Jennii has down to a tee) is the fuel needed to keep anorexia and bulimia present in society.

  15. Hi Sarah: This blog is about being real. Not about being right, or politically correct. I can not be real if I am going to curb my comments to please my readers, nothing would be more fake.
    This post is about working through these thoughts and feelings, analyzing why I feel as I do. Reading reactions from individuals such as yourself is what fuels this blog – and in effect drives change.
    Thank you for your opinion, you are correct on every point.

  16. Forestroad says:

    Hi mamaV,
    6 months later, have you worked through your feelings any further?
    You didn’t really specify why you thought you’d feel that way. Is it because shopping would be so much more difficult? Because you would be subject to discrimination and disapprobation everywhere you went? Because you wouldn’t be able to participate in activities that you love? Because you’ve built part of your identity around the way you look/being thin?
    I have never been 200lbs. If it prevented me from being active, I would try and lose weight too. If it didn’t, and knowing the odds against me of ever keeping it off, I think I would try and accept myself at that weight.
    I think that is one of the key points of fat acceptance–coming to terms with the fact that Diets Don’t Work. Do you believe you would be one of the handfull of successful dieters out there, if you ever were to reach 200lbs, and if you weren’t, would you keep putting your body through the torment of dieting over and over again, even knowing that it might be more unhealthy than just accepting your weight? If you weren’t able to return to your current weight and stay there, you might be more accepting of your 200lbs self than you give yourself credit for.

  17. Blimp says:

    Oprah is not beating herself up about her weight. She’s being a drama queen. This is how she makes money! This is how most stars make money: by going on and off of diets, and using PhotoShop to exaggerate the effects.

    You can’t blame Oprah for doing that. The paparazzi will make money off of her by spreading rumors about weight loss/gain and dieting and using PhotoShop to lie. Only a person of extraordinary virtue would, while being a star as well-known as Oprah, publicly repudiate the rumors and denounce the entire weight-loss industry as quackery, i.e., denounce as unscientific, the idea that losing weight or being thin is in any way beneficial to one’s health, or that obesity is in any way harmful to one’s health.

    That’s right. There’s no such thing as being too fat to move. Elephants can not only move, but can outrun the fastest humans and kick our weak, skinny asses across the Grand Canyon. If you can’t move, it’s because you can’t move (many causes), not because you’re fat.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Deep down I know that no matter what I do I would never be thin enough

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