Weighing in on Oprah

I feel sorry for Oprah Winfrey.

The queen of the talk show circuit and one of the most influential woman in the world has felt it necessary to reveal she weighs 200 pounds again.

Her weight fluctuations have been the topics of tabloids and her own show for decades. The picture of her with a wagonload of lard after a liquid diet allowed her to lose 60 plus pounds and don a pair of size 10 Calvin Klein jeans is iconic after 20 years.

I not only am sorry she feels so disappointed with herself that she has to write about it in her magazine and focus on it in upcoming shows, but I am sorry we still live in a world with double standards.

I just don’t see Jay Leno thinking the world needs to know how much he weighs. Of course, he likely does not take himself as seriously as Oprah does (and maybe he doesn’t weigh as much), but I feel fairly certain that if he did tell us his weight, he would not be ashamed of it. And if it was more than he felt it should be, well, golly gee, isn’t that the way it goes?

We all enjoy a hearty belly laugh with a plump fellow, but put those pounds on a woman and we lose our appetite (which could be a good thing if we already weigh too much) and cluck-cluck about her lack of control and how sad it is she has let herself go, what with that pretty face and all. If only she weren’t so big, we think. Does that reduce her accomplishments or her influence or her net worth or that of any person whose weight does not fall within someone’s optimum weight chart?

Do we need to know what Oprah (or anyone else for that matter) weighs and what size shoe they wear? Does she color her hair, bleach her teeth, wear contacts or unroll the toilet paper from the top or the bottom?

Women’s weight (both too much and too little) is a tabloid obsession because the world has ordered a steady diet of that information.

Like Oprah or not, she is successful beyond what most of us are ever going to experience and she is smiling all the way to the bank while naysayers are yapping. Still, she continues to focus on her hips, as does the world.

Certainly, obesity is not a condition one should strive to obtain. Excess weight is dangerous and makes comfortable living difficult. Maybe her talking about it will help someone else and that could be a good thing.

But in the meantime, I wonder when will a male icon come out and announce what he weighs and how disappointed he is with what the scale reveals?

Miriam Baier is the Assistant Managing Editor of the Examiner and can be reached at 592-3060, ext. 124, or via e-mail at mbaier@examiner.org