Oprah – A More Liberal Version Of Self-Help?
There’s been a lot of talk recently about whether or not Oprah has too much of an influence on American life. People argue that Oprah has too much influence on our culture, by using her show to promote her own products and endorse various ventures, that the goodwill she creates doesn’t necessarily benefit the people who watch her show, and that she profits unfairly off of her influence.
Critics have also expressed some concern that Oprah’s brand of self-help is nothing more than a watered down version of self-help which is, in fact, promoted by experts to help people overcome their own obstacles and find personal success. They also argue that Oprah has not gone far enough to actually advocate for healthy living and healthy choices. Still others contend that, to a certain extent, Oprah’s ratings reflect the lack of in-depth information available about different ways to become successful, and that without the value of a professionally trained, lifestyle-focused coach, Oprah herself is not truly successful.
Critics have also called her into question for failing to adequately respond to the devastation in Haiti following the earthquake. It is understandable that Oprah did not want to involve herself in what turned out to be a problematic issue. But what critics fail to acknowledge is that because of her international fame, there was a whole bunch of attention on the situation in Haiti at the time, and that brought her much needed attention to the situation. Without her popularity, and with little to no follow up from the media, there is no question that the response in Haiti would have been much less than what it ultimately became.
Critics also point out that Oprah never did any actual research on what is really possible to achieve by changing the way one lives their life. The folks who were able to work the hardest in Haiti, apparently because of the sheer power of Oprah’s personality, are the ones who are most often profiled. That doesn’t sit well with critics, who say that Oprah, being the public figure she is, should be doing more to promote the role models in her life who actually lived and achieved the things they said they could achieve. While many of the countless critiques are valid, some say that the criticisms are overblown, and that some of them are simply whining for attention. I disagree. If anything, Oprah’s image is too good right now. In particular, she deserves the admiration of the many celebrities who have come forward with the courage to openly discuss their struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, with Oprah becoming the rock star spokesperson for those who had long resisted coming forward with their struggles.
Others are in fact the reason why Oprah’s image is in such a bad reputation right now. With so many things going on in the world today, it’s hard to get everyone in the spotlight when it comes to raising awareness, or for that matter, coming forward and talking about what they have been through in order to get help.
Oprah’s upcoming book, “Saving Yourself for a Problem-Solving Life,” is, I am told, a key part of the problem. Some of the topics that will be discussed include some very controversial topics such as the pre-emptive suicide of kids. This is a topic that many people would have preferred to keep out of the spotlight.
One of the reasons that many people like Oprah is that she has a vast majority of people who are willing to be bold and speak out against issues that they may be ashamed of. So, if you are someone who is upset about some of the things she has said and done, you have every right to be upset.
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