“O” is for Oprah, for Opportunity

An interesting article in the paper this morning tells about how Saudi women look up to Oprah and closely follow her show because she tackles issues relevant to their lives. She talks about race, about sex, about marital strife and even about childhood sexual abuse, all issues which are taboo and difficult to talk about in Saudi culture. One woman says about Oprah: “She struggles with her weight. She overcame depression. She rose from poverty and from abuse. On all these levels she appeals to a Saudi woman. People really idolize her here."

This article made me smile because here is Oprah, one of the richest women in America, who can connect with the issues that women, so different from her, struggle with half way across the world. But maybe the very reason she can connect with them and that her message resonates with them is because she represents someone who made her way up the ladder. She successfully challenged the status quo and is talking about her struggles and challenges openly, albeit in a very different culture and society.

I guess the reason I smiled is because I had not realized how deeply someone like Oprah was impacting women beyond the US. To them, she must represent hope and opportunity.