Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oprah Got it Wrong

I love me some Oprah, I do. She struggles with her weight. I struggle with my weight. She motivates people. I motivate people. She has a passion for sharing information that can help us improve our lives. I have a passion for sharing such information (though I’ve done it on a much smaller scale). When Oprah ran a marathon, I wanted to run a marathon. And I did run a marathon. Because Oprah inspired me. Because Oprah made me think it was possible.

Oprah usually gets it right. But yesterday, Oprah got it wrong. Okay, the breast cancer stuff was great. And “Breast Cancer Battles” was the topic. She got that right. Of course she did.

But then she made an off-hand comment that made my heart sink. I’ve searched all over the Internet for the exact verbiage but can’t find it. (Note: Oprah really needs to get her show online. Seriously.) So I’m forced to paraphrase.

I think it was during the Maimah segment. God, I hope I’m getting this right. Maimah is this beautiful, thirty-something, African American breast cancer survivor. She is talking about a moment when she’s in the bathroom, crying softly, the water running in the shower so her Mom won’t hear. She’s naked, and bald from the chemo, and she’s thinking that nobody will ever want her again, nobody will ever love her again, not without breasts, not without hair.

Oprah is being compassionate and supportive. She is nodding. But the hair grows back, she says, the hair always grows back.

I cringe.

Yes, the hair grows back after chemotherapy. But with that one comment, Oprah has just perpetuated the belief that you’re only okay with hair.

She gets that you can be okay after a double mastectomy. She gets that you can be strong and courageous and beautiful without breasts, and with scars, but she doesn’t get that you can be strong and courageous and beautiful without hair.

I want to grab her shoulders and shake her.

Maimah gets it.

"I had this whole facade of being superwoman, always being perfect. Breast cancer strips you of that because you realize that's not important," she says. "All that matters is what's inside.”

And she specifically mentioned the hair.

Check out the slideshow of all the brave breast cancer survivors, including Christina Applegate

© 2009 Christy Bailey



From a facebook friend: You never know. If you sent her the link to your blog, she may look to have you on.


And from another fb friend: I have Oprah connections. Maybe I should hook you up? :)


I say: Bring it on! I think Oprah could learn something from me.

Katie said...

You need to e-mail Oprah or twitter Oprah with your comments.