What Oprah’s Golden Globe Speech Tells Us About Shame


Oprah Winfrey
Photo by Jordan Strauss/ Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Oprah Winfrey received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment” at the 75th Golden Globe Awards on January 7, 2018.  In her acceptance speech Oprah uses her platform to bring awareness to the #MeToo movement and to speak hope into the minds of any woman, any man, and any person who has been affected by sexual assault or harassment.  One quote from Oprah’s passionate speech stood out to me.


“In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave: to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome.”

Her entire speech was a powerful acknowledgement of where we are and a call to action to continue making progress, but her acknowledgement of shame rings loudly because of the work of Dr. Brené BrownBrené self-describes herself as a Researcher…Storyteller…Texan, who has written four books:  The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and Braving the Wilderness.

It was Brené’s 2010 TEDxHouston Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, that began a global attention towards being vulnerable.  That TEDx Talk is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks in the world.  Brené follows up in 2012 with another TED Talk, Listening to Shame, and defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”

Brené Brown & OprahBrené has been interviewed multiple times by Oprah via Super Soul Sunday on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).  When Oprah mentioned “shame” in her speech I couldn’t help but think about Brené and her work on shame and how pertinent it is today to have this discussion about shame related to the continual suffrage of women, spotlighted by Oprah Winfrey on a global perspective.

If you watched the red carpet from the Golden Globes or any scene with any of the attendees you could not help but notice many of the women and men dressed in black in solidarity of standing against sexual harassment and abuse, donning the hashtag:  #TimesUp.

By standing and speaking about shame and sexual abuse and the inequality of women, Oprah empowered and gave hope to any girl or women who may be presently experiencing this or who has experienced this in the past.  Oprah’s words say it best…

“So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault, because they — like my mother — had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue.”

Oprah ended her speech with a call-to-action that begins with all of us.

Photo Credit: Oprah.com

“So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again.”

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