• Sun, Mar 13 2011

Poll: Do You Worship at the Altar of Oprah?

Just from typing that headline, I half expect men carrying semi-automatic weapons to descend upon my home and steal me away to some prison in Guam, where they secretly hold women who question the authority of Oprah Winfrey.

But I seem to be fine so far, so let’s proceed…

Over at Salon, Genevieve Walker interviews Kathryn Lofton, author of the book “Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon.” Among the themes Lofton explores, writes Walker, is the idea that Oprah is “a religious leader for an America increasingly skeptical about organized religion.”

And I find that all  fascinating. But before we go into that, I’ll fully disclose and tell you when I first realized that I would never be an Oprah-file.

It was back in college, when my roommate showed me her Oprah 365-day calendar, which had nuggets of wisdom from Winfrey for every day of the year. Almost every single message, I soon found out, was about how to manage your weight and love your body.

Anyone that obsessed with their body, I thought, doesn’t have a very good grasp on how to love said body. Besides, I would argue that thinking about your perceived fatness every single morning is counterproductive to those who want to loose themselves from the grip of body hatred.

To be fair, it didn’t help that I was recovering from anorexia and my roommate was in the throes of bulimia. Maybe I was extra-sensitive. But whatever the case, watching my roommate be told that cake doesn’t equal love and to eat in moderation every single day by a woman who had repeatedly gained and lost the same 75 pounds just didn’t sit well with me.

I could never take Oprah seriously from that point on, and in fact I would go so far as to say that for a while there, I outright disliked her.

I’ve come around a bit, and I respect her work immensely and you can’t deny that she’s a brilliant businesswoman. But I’ll never lose the bad taste in my mouth over the millions she made selling empty promises of happiness to desperate women.

So, yeah. I’m not surprised that her word is being compared to a religion, since people behind religious pulpits are so often the ones who can’t practice what they preach. But what about you? Do you heart Oprah?

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

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  • Laura

    I respect her in the same way that I respect Kim Kardashian. No person without a particularly showy talent can build themselves as a part of pop culture without serious business savvy.

  • Whitney

    Choosing which box to click was challenging, given that it is undeniable that she is an incredible business woman. It’s not just her hypocrisy that is so repugnant but that she is so obviously a charlatan. She flaunts her wealth and extravagance, and then pretends to be EVERY woman. We know, we know, you came from a poor black family and were abused and blah blah blah, but the good news (for Oprah) is she made it out and no longer stinks of poverty… you can’t arbitrarily put on your ‘every woman voice’ and feign street cred, when your Louboutins haven’t touched a sidewalk in 20 years.
    ps: the definition of Charlatan: A charlatan (also called swindler or mountebank) is a person practicing quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception. (Wikipedia) Yup, I’d say that rightly sums up the Big ‘O’

  • macalny

    Where’s the “I don’t care” option? I’ve never seen her show, read her magazine, nor devoted more than the time it’s taking me to type this to thinking about her. Her existence means nothing to me. YAWN.

  • Michele

    i dont get why everyone loves oprah so much. why is she so amazing? what has she done? did she discover the cure to cancer and i just dont know it yet?

  • http://twitter.com/waynesm97625859 wayne smith

    oprah is a queen and a goddess.