You may have noticed if you have ever had to sit through advertisements or read the Wall Street Journal, that Oprah Winfrey is now a 10% owner of Weight Watchers and that she is selling it in advertisements on a regular basis. Oprah is making millions off of this as a shrewd businesswoman with a history that is synonymous with weight struggles. Carting around her wagon of fat in the ’80s.
It’s not unusual to see celebrities, particularly women, selling diet plans on television. Marie Osmond lost a ton of weight during Dancing With the Stars and has been Nutrisystem to me for what feels like years now. She’s had other celebrities join her to tell their stories. Kristy Alley famously fell off the Jenny Craig wagon after doing ads for them.
But Oprah really bothers me on a level that is different from Marie Osmond. Marie is a C list celebrity at best that no one outside the state of Utah really gives a shit about anymore. To say the Osmonds have amounted to much is like equating Liberace with Bach and I’d say Liberace probably really outranks the Osmonds. Oprah by contrast is a self-made woman, she’s a shrewd businesswoman with a history. She’s an outspoken woman of color with power and influence and for that reason even if I was never an Oprah Fan, I had some respect for her and her struggle with weight made her human in a way her bank account balance never would.
I say this because with all the work she’s done, with all the money that she has, to choose to use it to invest in weight watchers and to schill a diet that doesn’t work (because no, statistically speaking weight watchers does not work) is astounding. I find it disheartening and quite infuriating. Sure, Marie Osmond probably needs the money and the exposure she can get from a Nutrisystem commercial and I think we can all agree Kristy Alley falls in the same camp, but what the fuck is Oprah’s excuse? Everyone knows who Oprah Winfrey is. Everyone knows she’s got a shit ton of money. Maybe instead of investing in Weight Watchers, I don’t know, Oprah could just invest in other things for more altruistic reasons at this point in her life. Perhaps in institutions and businesses that benefit the black community, especially those owned and operated by people of color.
Even moreso, I wish she would defend women. After experiencing decades of yo-yo dieting, weight loss, weight gain, and public criticism of her appearance, I wish she was a little more like Carrie Fischer is now. Raising the middle finger to all the haters who insist that a woman must never “let herself go.”
Of course, Oprah can do whatever she wants with her money. Deep down I console myself with the thought that it’s purely her capitalist greed that is driving this decision; that she cares about nothing, only milking Weight Watchers to make a sizable profit off the shame and self-loathing of fat (and not fat) people everywhere. I also hope that she fails miserably because karma is a bitch that will come back to bite her.
Did anyone else have a reaction to Oprah selling Weight Watchers or am I just nuts?