Don't get me wrong. Oprah Winfrey is a very remarkable woman. She's the perfect role model for millions of women – and men – around the world. And why shouldn't she be? She rose from obscurity — a painful childhood characterized by rape, physical abuse, and drugs — to become one of the most powerful women of all time. Her achievements are too numerous to mention. My favorite is that she is the world's richest woman, an entrepreneur par excellence, a philanthropist with a heart of gold (well, that's if all her public giving and charity are not just PR stunts), and a sage.
I actually think she's wise. I admire Oprah Winfrey. You should too. It has taken a lot of determination, guts, and will to be where she is today. We all can emulate that. And for that reason, I doff my hat in respect for Oprah Winfrey. That's right, Oprah — I actually respect and admire you.
I've watched The Oprah Winfrey Show for many years. I really didn't have a choice. Growing up, we only had one television in the house, and my mum was always on Oprah. If we wanted to watch television, there was only Oprah. And so, growing up, I've had an opportunity to follow her life closely. I've also grown to love the show. At first, it was resentment, because my mother would never allow me to watch the show, but as time went on, I actually began to enjoy the show. I love the money-saving tips, investment tips, and her whole "Live Your Best Life Now" campaign.
To be frank, some of her shows have actually changed my life. I guess they've changed yours, too. But I get upset, sometimes disgusted, by the enormous influence and control she wields in our lives. I hate "the Oprah effect." A lady comes up on television and tells us about a book she read, and how much she loved it. She tells us to buy the book and suddenly, we all rush to the nearest bookstores and give away our credit card numbers in online bookstores to purchase the book. She endorses a candidate, and the next thing, we all want to vote the candidate in. She gets on television and tells us how to lose weight, how to eat, how to live our lives, when to divorce and all that.
Why have we decided to give her too much power? Why is it that we allow our buying decisions, our eating habits, our media consumption and everything else we do to be influenced by the one-sided opinion of some billionaire celebrity? We need to think for ourselves. The fact that Oprah Winfrey endorses a book as one she personally liked does not mean that we need to like it. We do not need to go out there buying everything Oprah likes. We do not need to take all advice she throws our way. We should not let Oprah, or any other celebrity for that matter, run our lives. The fact that she is successful does not mean a thing. It does not mean she is in anyway smarter than you. We are equally as smart as she is, and we should not let her make decisions about our lives from some studio. We should not all join Twitter just because Oprah did. I actually know of a friend who joined Twitter not because he is interested in the site's features, but because "Oprah joined Twitter." Absurd.
Personally, I hate Oprah's favorite things. This lady comes up with a list of things she loves, and because she loves those things, we feel we need to love them too. And so we go out and buy them — even when we don't need them. Are we this gullible? America's obsession with celebrity idol worship is heartbreaking and, to an extent, stupid. Fine, heroes should be celebrated and appreciated. But when we let them run our private affairs – deciding on everything from which book to read, to what clothes to buy, what to feed our families, how we should dress and conduct our relationships – then we are losing our sense of judgment and losing faith in our own ability to think rationally.
At the end of the day, we are all used. Companies get their products onto Oprah's show so that they can be a huge success. She praises a product, and then we go out to buy it, even when we don't need it. Start thinking for yourselves. Don't be a victim of Oprah hypnosis or any other celebrity's hypnosis ever again.