Being Oprah didn’t save her from weight discrimination: ‘There is a condescension’
Oprah Winfrey has been through a lot, including weight stigma.
Last month, Winfrey hosted Oprah Daily’s “The Life You Want Class: The State of Weight,” where she discussed the obesity crisis, the pressure from society to go on drugs like Ozempic, and, according to Today, times she’s experienced weight discrimination. Her guests were obesity specialists Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford and Dr. Melanie Jay, psychologist Dr. Rachel Goldman and Sima Sistani, the CEO of WeightWatchers.
During the panel, Winfrey said, “You all know I’ve been on this journey for most of my life. My highest weight was 237 pounds. I don’t know if there is another public person whose weight struggle has been exploited as much as mine over the years.”
The 69-year-old noticed how others would treat her differently when she weighed over 200 pounds, saying she experienced this type of stigma and weight discrimination mostly while out shopping.
“I get treated differently if I’m 200-plus pounds versus under 200 pounds. I had to deal with that when I walk into a store. It’s that thing where people are like, ‘Let me show you the gloves. Would you like to look at the handbags? Because we know that there’s nothing in here for you,’ ” she said, adding, “There is a condescension. There is stigma.”
Winfrey, a spokesperson and shareholder for WeightWatchers, recalled how her weight has fluctuated over the years, and noted that the difference in treatment for overweight people has gone on “forever.”
“This is a world that has shamed people for being overweight forever,” the media mogul said. “And all of us who’ve lived it know that people treat you differently, they just do.”
Winfrey didn’t hold back in discussing other ways weight shame has crept into herself. Speaking about the pressure to start taking Ozempic, Winfrey was honest in stating how she viewed such drugs.
“There’s a part of me that feels [how] I think a lot of people felt with or feel with bariatric surgery — that I’ve got to do it the hard way. I’ve got to keep climbing the mountains. I got to keep suffering. I’ve got to do that because otherwise, I somehow cheated myself,” she said.
As previously reported by theGrio, Cody Stanford shared how obesity has nothing to do with willpower.
“This isn’t me just making people feel good about it not being a willpower issue,” she said. “It literally is not part of that regulation, those pathways. It’s how our bodies regulate weight. And each of us is different. Each of us is unique, not one is to superior to another.”
Regardless, Winfrey said she’s over people being body-shamed.
“Your choices for your body and your … health, it should be yours to own and not to be shamed about it,” she said. “As a person who’s been shamed for so many years, I’m just sick of it.”
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