Whether you love her or hate her, Oprah proved that a woman can be a success by every measure without a husband or children.
Oprah Winfrey’s Story
Oprah was born into poverty in rural Mississippi in 1954. Her mother was still a teenager, unmarried and under-educated. For the early portion of her life, it appeared Oprah would be forced to follow in her mother’s footsteps. She was molested repeatedly as a child, leading to a pregnancy at age 14.
It was when she avoided being sent away to a facility for troubled girls, and when her child died in infancy, that the young Oprah felt she had been given a second chance. She resolved to rise above the circumstances in which she had been born. Never again would anyone else be in charge of her life.
Her hard work, tenacity, and opportunism would eventually pay off when she landed her own daytime talk show. The rest is history.
Why Oprah makes the list
As mentioned earlier, Oprah has gotten a lot of hate over the years. Critics claim she’s only in it for the ratings, she has more money than she ought to, she’s ego-centric, etc. While much of this is rooted in sexism and racism*, there’s something else about Oprah that grates on people’s nerves. I think some of the reasons people dislike Oprah are the same reasons people dislike the happily single and childfree in general.
*When a white man like Steve Jobs earns a fortune and publicly praises himself for it, why do we join in the applause instead of berating him?
- We’re perceived to have more money.
- Choosing self-love over self-martyrdom is seen as “selfish” or “ego-centric.”
- Mothers who regret having children resent our decision to avoid them in the first place.
- Women who are that happy without the ‘traditional’ life are seen as uppity or immoral.
Here’s the reason Oprah ranks so highly on this list: She’s a happy, self-fulfilled, successful woman who is fully satisfied without husband or children. She is the spinster success story, and her visibility is vital to the rest of us.
Try as her detractors might, they cannot seem to catch Oprah Winfrey feeling sad and unfulfilled. Her lack of children and missing wedding band don’t seem to keep her up at night. And worst of all, she doesn’t seem to feel the need to apologize for her happiness and her wise decisions.
If anyone had an excuse to give up, marry young, and start having babies, it was Oprah. But she turned her back on all that she knew and aspired to happiness. Whatever you think about her talk show or beliefs, her success as a spinster she should be an inspiration to us all.
If you’d like to see more inspiring, real-life Spinsters, subscribe to the American Spinster email list: