Dear Oprah, Shut Up About This Being the Year of Our Best Bodies Ever

Personal Health

Dear Oprah,

Stop hurting women. 

I've always been a (reluctant) fan. But here's the deal: You introduced the entire notion of self-care to women everywhere when taking time to care for yourself was considered selfish and was perceived to cause more harm to the people around you than any possible personal benefit you might experience.

Oprah, you helped shift the martyred mother syndrome. You helped remove the stigma associated with sexual abuse and mental illness. You were flogged for it by the media, but you stuck with it. You made therapy OK. You played angel to countless families and gave a voice to people who would never have a voice otherwise.

You became a powerful, wealthy, one-woman empire and you killed it.

As a teen, I admired you for changing the culture and kicking patriarchy's ass even though you were caught in a cycle of constantly trying to reduce the size of your own. Because that's what we did in the 80s, 90s, and early 00s.

We obsessed about our fatness because that's what we thought we needed to fix in order to finally break through the glass ceiling of sexism. 

I understand you are a partial owner of WW now. It's a smart business move because the world wants to be thin. The world wants to be beautiful and acceptable, and our culture still equates beauty and acceptability with a number on the scale or a particular pants size. You have conquered the world.

But you have not conquered this one last hill, and now that your weight loss success is quite literally the bottom line, you will be victorious. 

I have so many points of respect for you. But the Weight Watchers thing? Yeah, that. Stop it.Sell your shares back. Make another billion dollars. But please, ditch this diet thing once and for all.

You told me in January that 2016 would be the year of Our Best Bodies. You gave your most inspired Oprah gaze that punched right through to my soul, and you told me my body is no good. It doesn't just need to be better, it needs to be The Best. It's OK, though, because you're going to be the best with me, so no worries — as long as I join your weight loss club. 

HELL. NO. This is my best body, Oprah. Right now. Full of stretch marks and cellulite, a perfectly-rounded belly and deflated breasts.

It does a fucking amazing job doing what it's meant to do: SUSTAIN LIFE. It has sustained my life, my son's life, traveled all over the world, climbed a volcano, played hard, planted gardens, given safe medical care to countless people, and created delightful edible art that is damn delicious.

If I'm grading on a curve — and trust me, I have plenty of those — I would say I have the Best Body I could ever hope for. And it has exactly zero to do with my actual size. 

In February, you gave me that soul-punching gaze again and told me it's OK to eat bread while we obtain Our Best Bodies. You lost 26(!) pounds and you eat bread every damn day!

I feel how miraculous this is for you because you've probably made bread evil, along with All The Carbs and fat on your body. Bread is the holy grail and source of profound dieting depravation. You have shared your yeasty gospel with the world, and now we all KNOW we can get skinny with you as long as bread is involved. 

Seriously, though. Please SHUT UP. Bread is not the enemy. Neither is fat. This industry that you have quite literally bought into is.

And now you are, too. In a time when women are fighting for a shift toward body acceptance, you could be a strong voice of change. You could be an advocate. You could lead this charge of self-love that is gaining momentum and will certainly shift the conversation around fat and our bodies for the better. Instead, you're diving deeper into the dysfunction and reinforcing the cultural perceptions that still hold women down. 

You have overcome so much in your life, and became a voice of change and empowerment for all women in the process. I sincerely hope you, the most powerful woman in the world, can come to accept that you, your body, your life, and your voice are enough. You are enough, Oprah. 

So, I want to share a message of body positivity you can really sink our teeth into: Your magnificent body has carried you this far. It is entirely lovable and acceptable. It already is The Best.

I understand if you can't accept that (yet), but we are all ready to welcome you when you do.

Ditch the diet, my friend.  

This story by Carrie Saum originally appeared on Ravishly, a feminist news+culture website.

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