Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC TV reporter on her show January 2nd, wrote an open letter to Oprah Winfrey. Oprah has recently taken a share in the Weight Watchers stock, and to show her support for the company, did a commercial capturing her experience with her weight. Oprah’s summed- up message was “inside every overweight woman, is a woman she knows she can be.” Click here to watch the segment.
Melissa Harris-Perry had a problem with the statement. Her comment in response was:
But O, you are precisely already the woman so many are striving to be! Who you are, what you have accomplished, how you have influenced and altered the world is all so much more important than your dress size. There is not one thing that you have done that would have been more extraordinary if you had done it with a 25” waist.
Well said, Melissa.
As the news segment goes on, Melissa Harris-Perry relates Oprah’s statement to a more personal matter. Melissa says:
My teen daughter happens to share your birth date [Oprah], and I regularly remind her that sharing a birth date with you means she is especially obligated to strive toward greatness. And I worry as a mom, and as a woman, about the messages our daughters receive if they think a woman as phenomenal as you [Oprah], is still not enough, unless she is thin.
How is it that a woman that seems to have all in life, is still not happy with herself, with her weight? It seems Oprah does not feel good enough about who she is, as a person. Since we idolize people in the media, in the spotlight, this notion only reflects back at the rest of us, and on our society in general. No matter how much we succeed in life— financially, personal goals, overcoming adversity, achieving our dreams- we still will not be good enough until we do all of that, and have the perfect body.
The reality is that we are enough, just as we are. No matter if we achieve or do not achieve our goals, lose weight, gain weight- we are amazing, incredible, fascinating human beings right now.
Harris Perry ends the segment with a noteworthy message to Oprah:
Oprah, may 2016 be a definitive year for you […] but let me just emphasize that you are a remarkable woman, and I for one don’t care if you ever reach your goal weight— because you have already achieved such weighty goals.