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Women in Saudi Arabia Turn to Oprah For Inspiration

Oprah Winfrey acts a role model to those living much different lives than hers — the women of Saudi Arabia. The New York Times just wrote about Oprah's fans in the strict Islamic country, where her show plays with Arabic subtitles two times a day, five days a week. Content that violates Saudi law, like homosexuality, does get censored, but episodes about Arab-Western relations and the threat of Islamic terrorism make the air.

Saudi women crave Oprah's message that even if they face restricted or abusive situations, women can create lives of value. The message of change from within gives some energy and hope, making them feel self-empowered perhaps for the first time.

Saudi Arabia's largest women's magazine even devotes an entire page to Oprah. To see how the Saudi women explain the interest,


One young woman told the New York Times that Oprah discusses taboo subjects, saying:

She talks about racism, for example. This is something that Saudis are very concerned about, because many of us feel that we’re judged for the way we veil or for our skin color. I have a friend whose driver touched her in an inappropriate way. She was very young at the time, but she felt very guilty about it — and Oprah helped her to speak about this abuse with her mother.

While it's less than ideal that some women must turn to a TV personality as their glimmer of hope, Oprah's success in penetrating this Middle Eastern society shows that the American message of self-improvement and human rights could be more powerful than weapons and armies.


NouraBee NouraBee 8 years
who ever hates oprah has some personality issues i never meet some one who hates her unless there jealous of her success
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 9 years
I wonder how many successful billionaire's would give away to charity if they didn't need the tax writeoff, but it is great if Oprah can help those women in any capacity.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
well i think that there is some value with some of the stuff that oprah discusses on her show and in her magazine. she's a good role model to people and if that's something that saudi women can relate to then i'm all for it. i think that there are others that they could turn to, but at least they have something that can give them a sense of things being reality and reasonable in their lives even if they aren't able to really implement them in their lives. i think that it's interesting that oprah has a page devoted to her in the largest magazine there -but at least she's consistently been a good role model and hasn't been involved in scandal - so i can see it through others eyes.
sw33tlovin sw33tlovin 9 years
wow, i'm shocked they even play her show at all. & i agree with the people who say that when a woman feels empowered, it's always a good thing.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
I'm just glad she's not allowing her show to be a platform for politicians. Anymore, that is.
girlA girlA 9 years
She does amazing things for children and donates millions every year--you don't see too many celebs shelling out dough like that. Her show, The Biggest Give was pretty amazing.
girlA girlA 9 years
Yeah I think it's pretty nasty to be calling her Orca.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
Mich, and save face. Her pride was hurt and she had to, in her mind fix it. I have heard from tons of people who left O after that.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
lol, the pr machine is working double time on the big O right now. :rotfl:
liliblu liliblu 9 years
That should have been, Why do you keep calling Oprah, Orca? Are you refering to Orca as in the whale?
liliblu liliblu 9 years
Why do you calling Oprah Orca, Mykie?
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
Drives me nuts Mykie! Especially when people do it to me!
Mykie7 Mykie7 9 years
blues, I KNOW that's where Tyra learned it from, she said that Orca is her idol and that she hopes to one day be just like her. Won't happen, because Tyra has even LESS talent than Orca.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
My only issue with Oprah is that she seems to talk over her guests a lot. Like she'll ask a question and then talk over the person's answer or interrupt them. I also think that's who Tyra learned it from.
Michelann Michelann 9 years
Piper, it's just one story within a book of short stories. I agree with the most part about Oprah. I watch her show when I can catch it, and it's usually a pretty well done operation.
piper23 piper23 9 years
I do agree that all writers take liberties with the truth. I'm going to check out that book. I like Oprah though. I don't like her politics and wish I didn't know who she was voting for. But I do like her show.
Michelann Michelann 9 years
I'm pretty sure all writers take liberties with the truth when writing memoirs. There's a cool story called 'Trying to Save Piggy Sneed' that illustrates it pretty well. I just excepted a little more understanding and less venom from Oprah. It seems like she did it (and lots of other things) just to please her viewers.
piper23 piper23 9 years
I've got to defend Oprah on the Million little... She gave that guy a platform and made his book her bookclub choice, which guarantees that he's going to be a bestseller. Then she had to eat crow because it came out that his life story was actually a fabrication. And if you saw the first show, he came out and totally presented that book as his life story. When she lit into him, it was painful to watch. I actually felt a little sorry for the guy. But I did read that his latest book is his best work yet. No make believe story to sell it either.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
Michelin, I thought Oprah was upset that he came on her show and lied about his story. The story was supposed to have been factual. But, I understand how the confrontation could turn someone off.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
There are role models that could be a lot worse than Oprah. So I think this is great. At least they have someone to inspire them.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
I don't get the Oprah dislike either. She has a very positive and inspiring story. I think she's a fabulous role model.
Michelann Michelann 9 years
Liliblu, I really respect Oprah, and I like some of the things she does, but sometimes she makes me mad. The first time I really got annoyed with her was with that guy who wrote 'A Million Little Pieces'. It came out that some of his 'memoir' was made up, and she just crucified somebody she had once praised. I thought it was completely uncalled for, and showed a complete lack of understand of how writing works.
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