By now we’re all well-aware that Oprah Winfrey is an institution. She’s managed to cultivate an empire, spanning television, films, print, and a slew of other mediums. She’s a billionaire with a legion of loyalists who follow her every whim and has proven to be pretty groundbreaking in terms of colored women in daytime. For all the power and innovation, though, she’s also managed to propagate her fair share of drivel. There are seemingly countless instances to choose from, but for me, the following six stick out in my mind.
She brought “rainbow parties” to the mainstream.
Back in 2003, Oprah did an episode of her talk show called “Is Your Child Living a Double Life?”, where she featured various stories about teenage sex habits. The entire episode was saturated with fear-mongering tales of adolescent promiscuity, but by far the most talked-about moment came when the conversation switched to so-called “rainbow parties.” In essence, supposed rainbow parties were gatherings where teenage girls would each wear different shades of lipstick and take turns giving blowjobs, thus leaving a “rainbow” on boys’ penises. Given Oprah is the messiah to suburban moms everywhere, there was immediate moral panic from paranoid parents and conservative pundits. But, if it sounds like too hilarious a concept to be real, that’s because it isn’t, or at least wasn’t the pandemic it was presented as…though it did give me a good theme for my next party.
She treats celebrities and faux-gurus as legitimate medical professionals.
Whether it’s Jenny McCarthy hawking her anti-vaccination babble or Deepak Chopra peddling his misconstrued understanding of quantum theory, Oprah has played host to scores of people who pass themselves off as medical and/or scientific experts without actually having any legitimate certification to show for themselves. Oprah was also instrumental in the success of The Secret, which nonsensically champions the idea that if you positively think about an outcome hard enough, it’ll happen. Of course, Oprah chose to ignore the logic that, contrarily, negative thinking must evoke negative outcomes, so basically, pessimism is to blame for HIV/AIDS, poverty, etc. Her glib endorsement eventually led to her having to bring a breast cancer patient on her show to “clarify her thoughts,” as the woman had refused the advice of her doctors and medical treatments because she’d read The Secret after hearing about it on Oprah’s show.
She’s normalized the word “vajayjay.”
I’m not sure what Oprah’s objection to the word “vagina” is, given it’s the scientific term for a reproductive organ she possesses, but in any case, using nicknames to describe body parts is childish. Sure, I’ve been known to call a penis a dick, cock, wang, schlong, peen, etc., but I’m not afraid of the word penis and most certainly wouldn’t refer to a penis as anything along the lines of a “wee-wee,” which is essentially the male equivalent of “vajayjay.” What’s more, I don’t tout myself as a “serious” talk show host. Vaginas are already on the receiving end of enough stigmatization without it being branded with an infantile sobriquet.
She once touted that people should change out the bar of soap in their guest bathroom for each new guest.
First of all, the notion that everyone has a guest bathroom to speak of is quite presumptuous. Secondly, and perhaps most obviously, it’s soap. While, yes, some bars of soap may contain bacteria, studies done on the subject show that any bacteria or microorganisms you’d potentially come into contact with would wash off with the soap, and those studies were primarily done on bars of soap in public places. Unless your house is the residential equivalent of a bathroom gas station, switching out a bar of soap after one or two uses is not only wasteful, it’s just ridiculous (just remember to wash the pubes off before a guest comes).
She took her annual “Favorite Things” list to a whole new level.
The concept started out simply enough: give a little promotion to companies whose products she enjoys and bestow a shitload of free stuff upon her audience in the process. Fair enough. Then it started to get outrageous. The gifts continued to get more lavish and absurd over the years, to the point where it’s clear she’s in a complete wealth-induced state of delusion. Even as recently as 2013, her Favorite Things list included a set of Himalayan salt shot glasses (that are $45 for a presumably one-time-use-only set of six; also, I’d like to know how the taste of Himalayan salt significantly differs from that of a supermarket), a $122 holiday candle (Pier 1 is about as extravagant as I’m willing to get for a damn cylinder of wax), a truffle popcorn kit (because popcorn just isn’t luxurious enough), and something called an Urban Muumuu (she also made sure to peddle she and Deepak Chopra’s $100 “Meditation Master Trilogy” *eye roll*). Expect 2014’s list to include top-shelf Maltese carob liqueur and gift basket with an arrangement of heart of palm, foraged sorghum, and blackcurrants.
She introduced the world to Dr. Phil.
This one is self-explanatory.
All that being said, if I turn up dead, having been strangled with a $90 headband, you’ll know word of this post got back to her.