There’s been a bit of hubbub about an article in the New York Times in which Oprah – feel-good queen of all women, leader of the free world’s “aha” moments- declared that she isn’t interested in attracting women -of a certain age- (and you know who I mean, right?) to her magazine.
From the New York Times article:
Ms. Winfrey said she would like to attract women “in their 30s or perhaps their 20s, to be able to reach people when they are looking to fulfill their destiny.” She added, “By the time you’re 40, 42, you should have kind of figured it out already.”
Well, ok, Oprah! I guess women have it all figured out by the time we’re, oh, I don’t know, 45? You sure did. I guess. Me? I’m still working on it. If you don’t want to help me, that’s ok. I’ll survive.
I loved the Oprah magazine when it was first published 12 years ago because guess what? I was 38 at the time and I was her TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found her magazine, complete with a (very) airbrushed photo of her each month on the cover, to be a teensy bit boring, repetitive, and filled with a lot of pap from the likes of Martha Beck (Take this quiz to find your TRUE INNER SELF!), Dr. Phil* (dump that CAD who’s not nice to your mother!) and even Suze Orman – who I kind of like (True happiness is about having LOTS OF MONEY in the bank!).
I’m so not her target market anymore because, among other things, I’m not interested in a lot of what I read in her (and, to be fair, many other) magazines. Have you seen her favorite things for the holidays this year? Some of that stuff is pretty spendy, I must say. Not many 20 or 30 year olds can afford a set of 14 bars of soap for $238. Hell, I just bought two 8 packs of Dial at Target for my husband for $6.29 a piece, less my $1.00 coupon. Talk about a bargain.
Really, fellow midlife women, do you honestly care whether Oprah wants you to read her stuff? Haven’t we all watched, listened, read and inhaled enough of Oprah and her constant reinvention to last us a lifetime? Aren’t there lots of moments when you think – “what would Oprah say?”
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Oprah since she started her show – and until now, I wasn’t sure what she felt about me, or whether she thought about me at all. I mean, I haven’t gotten a car, or a pile of gifts, or any other life-changing stuff from her. Still, I always enjoy her interviews with celebs. Especially when she’s all buddy-buddy with them, talking about the rockin’ Hollywood parties they’ve been to and it feels like we’re just hanging at the mansion up in Montecito, playing with the dogs…
I don’t resent her wanting younger readers – after all, she needs to keep those billions growing for…well, I don’t really know why. But she just has to.
At 58, she is still reinventing herself, her brand, her image, her place in the world. It’s not enough that she’s built schools, given away millions to scholarships, charities, individuals, political candidates, and lord knows who else. She could probably keep an entire state employed if she wanted to.
At the core of all of this more, more, more is Oprah – and it appears that she will never, ever be satisfied with having reached the top of nearly every mountain she’s climbed, metaphorically speaking. If she needs to attract younger readers to her magazine, then so be it – and good for her for being honest about it. Just like she is about the rest of her life…
Except that airbrush business. And, well, who knows what else.
Oprah was my girl for a while. Then she wasn’t. Then she was. Now I get the message. I’m old. And if I’m old, she’s really old, but that’s besides the point.
Good luck to you, Oprah. Not that you need it- but I’ve had my “aha” moment, and I’m moving on.