The title of O, The Oprah Magazine, is straight-forward, nothing too ambiguous like Harpo, her entertainment company, and like many of us who refer to ourselves by the first letter of our names via email signature (which is another annoyance to be tackled), O is dabbling in our layman habits by placing a massive “O” on the cover so we’re able to deduce the point that O, The Oprah Magazine is Oprah’s magazine. The dominant “O” framing yet another glam shot of O, the words “the Oprah Magazine” that follow said “O”, join together to inform us that yes, just in case we forgot, this is in fact Oprah’s magazine. Yes ma’am.
So why then, after she thought to start a magazine and to call it O, did she then decide to place herself on the cover of every single issue? Was it to remind us that O stands for Oprah? Or to begin a never-ending game of dress up and supermodel? Maybe she loves photo shoots? O, if I could only ask her. But I am just me, speaking through my laptop with enough time to observe and criticize O and her life choices, which my aimless brain cannot help by analyze and my fingers publicize, and after much analysis I can only assume that there’s narcissism at play. And yes, I’m a writer and want you to read my words so I should stay light on the narcissistic criticism, but I still struggle with why O, The Oprah Magazine needs to repurpose Oprah on the cover of each issue, in a new outfit, new jewels, slightly different hair, but always with the same exact Oprah smile?
I came across a list of “Oprah’s favorite magazine covers” on Oprah.com, the post written in the voice of O herself. It’s so much — so much Oprah, so much O, so much Harpo, all reiterated on Oprah.com.
I know we, we being women, should support one another, but we are not all saints and not all powerful women have it all right, so we still shouldn’t be afraid to call each other out. Be real. Just because Oprah is a successful woman and I am a woman trying to gain the smallest fraction of her success, doesn’t mean I have to bow down and show love.
Oprah has provided a platform for millions of people to share their stories and has gifted tons of gadgets and getaways. She is, according to the public version of herself, a good person. But seeing her on the cover of every issue each time I check out of Trader Joe’s, week after week, month after month, is exhausting and I can’t help but wonder about the required level of narcissism it takes to gather herself each month to smile, pose, and pay for yet another photo shoot of herself, for her magazine. Oprah is supposedly here to, as I said before, provide a platform for us mere mortals to tell our little mortal tales and win a free iPad for it. So why not feature the stories and interactions that make her Oprah, and Harpo’s Oprah, everything that it is?
We know what’s up with you, O. We get it. We really, really get it. You trumped the American Dream by becoming one of the richest black women in the world and you appeared to do it solo. But no matter how beautiful, successful, or rich you are, I can still get enough of you.