I have a confession to make: I love Oprah. Seriously.
This love started in the 90s when Oprah had a talk show. It’s easy to be dismissive of television daytime talk shows from this era (“Am I the father, Maury??”) but Oprah broke major ground in her time. The first time I heard the word bisexual was on Oprah. She discussed her sexual abuse and its aftermath in an accessible way long before almost anyone else. Just that fact that she was a women – a Black woman – a plus-sized, intelligent, well-read, inspiring Black woman on TV – broke new ground. Sure she went in for fluff in the later years, but damn if she didn’t rebuild the landscape at a time when any one of her intersections would have presented a massive challenge to her.
Yep, I love Oprah. I love book club Oprah. I love major corporation Oprah. I love controversial Oprah. I love flawed Oprah.
I’m a bit miffed with her magazine, though.
I don’t usually buy magazines, but I found the January issue of O Magazine at the Value Village and it was still January! I thought that was pretty cool. Plus, as I mentioned before, I love Oprah. I generally dislike magazines aimed at women (the lipstick, weightloss, sexy-time ones, not the other kind.) But Oprah! She would balance it all out right? Um, no.
Take a look at these pics from covers of O Magazine, all from the last year:
- Can the Right Breakfast Make You Thin?
- Take Our Diet Quiz!
- Diet Or Exercise?
- The 6 Desserts You Meet In Heaven (And Not a Grain of Sugar in Sight!)
- The Guilt-Free Snack
- Decoding your food labels
and my favourite:
- Love + Kindness = Thinner Thighs
Love + Kindness = Thinner Thighs?? Really?
There is nowhere that article could go that would make me happy. Nowhere.
It’s pretty clear that O Magazine is obsessed with what I put in my mouth. Of 12 issues, 9 had diet or “healthy eating” articles (code for diet, trust me) right on the cover. The rest had at least one article inside. I get that this is a typical “women’s magazine” and will include a cooking feature and probably some make-up tips or whatever, but does every issue of this magazine have to have the word diet in it?
Here’s my challenge to O Magazine and Oprah Winfrey (who will never, ever see this, but I forbear):
Do an entire issue without talking about diet. One issue out of twelve that doesn’t tell me how to get thinner thighs through kindness or teach me (yet again) how to read food labels so I don’t accidently eat something tasty. If this seems impossible, maybe it’s time to re-examine the messages you are sending. After all, 20 years ago you were breaking ground for bisexuals. You were bringing Black history and current issues to a clueless audience. You were changing the way women work in your industry. That’s your legacy. Not advising women on what breakfast can make them thin (I’ll bet it’s quinoa. Is it quinoa?)
One issue. No fat-talk. No body shame. No “healthy” tricks. Nada.
I know you can do it. You’re Oprah (and affiliated corporations) and I have faith in you.