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What we can learn from Theresa May and Oprah’s ‘me time’ confessions

Posted by
Susan Devaney
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Theresa May and Oprah have both described how they de-stress. And the reactions online have exposed our ridiculous double standards.  

It’s hard being in the public eye. On the one hand you need to protect your privacy, but on the other you need to come across as still being relevant one day after the next.

If there’s one person on this planet who has nailed this, it’s Oprah Winfrey. Her nuggets of wisdom and her rants about the current political climate in the States have helped her to reach such God-like status that we no longer need to use her surname. Heck, we’ve even propelled her into ‘Oprah for President 2020’ realm (only to be politely knocked back) – so, when Oprah does decide to share a few details about her life off-camera, our ears perk up and our attention is undivided.

The most recent example of this, of course, is when the TV mogul decided to reveal her recipe for a perfect day (and, as such, true happiness).

“I don’t know anyone happier [than me],” she said, adding that her “guilty pleasure is, I do nothing.” 

Oprah continued: “I live in a very beautiful space that I created, and every time I leave home and I’m driving out the back with the pond and the ducks, and I’m looking at the grass and I see the house on the hill, I have this moment where I think about when Dorothy says in The Wizard of Oz, ‘I learnt I didn’t have to look further than my own back yard.’”

That’s right, Oprah’s guilty pleasure is doing nothing

Immediately, everyone began to celebrate Oprah’s life philosophy – and even found the scientific research to back up her comments as the path to unadulterated bliss.

However, when Theresa May decided to follow suit and share her own method for de-stressing, the response was very different. 

Earlier this week, while visiting an engineering firm in Newcastle, workers asked May questions as she took to the floor. And the stand-out question was: how does she cope with what is probably “the world’s most stressful job at the moment?”

Like you or I (and Oprah), she said she prefers to find pleasure in the simpler things: a spot of telly (NCIS is her favourite), a walk with a loved one, and a spot of cooking. Pretty relatable answers, right?

Hmm. Well, if Twitter’s reactions are anything to go by, then May is the Cassandra of the friendship group: side-lined, ridiculed and disrespected.

“Is there anything more awkward than our PM trying to be normal?” one user wrote. 

“Since when has she been coping?” another user tweeted. 

“She’ll be talking about Love Island next to connect with the common youth,” another posted. 

Maybe it was the way she addressed the crowd. Or, maybe, it’s because May is always put into the category of ‘damned if she does; damned if she doesn’t’ (remember the ridicule she received after wearing a red dress?).

In comparison, Oprah’s honest answer was met with high praise across social media.

“Oprah’s interview has me SHOOK,” one user posted.  

“I swear this woman will always have my [heart],” another wrote. 

And another: “You are an empress. A goddess. Thank you for existing and sharing your light in this world. You make me happy.”

Right. Am I the only person who has identified this as yet another glaring example of the ridiculous double standards we place upon women in the public eye?

Let me be clear: I’m no fan of Prime Minister May. But, then again, I can only count on one hand today’s politicians that have made it into my ‘excellent person, great policies’ box. And May does have that messy matter of Brexit hanging over head, doesn’t she?

However, in fairness to May, like her or loathe her, she was the ONLY person willing to take the mammoth task on for the Conservative Party (even though she opposed the idea from the get-go). 

Oprah will always be loved and admired, but the next time another woman in the public eye shares a personal detail about their lives, why don’t we show her some respect, too? 

Images: Getty