The Week in Women: A prescription scandal, a lesbian biker gang, and the world’s oldest woman

The holiday months are officially here! Think of all the merriment! The generosity! The … flu season. In memory of more salubrious times, and while chugging NyQuil, we have curated a selection of recent headlines that pertain to health and wellness. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

South Korea’s beleaguered female president, who is mired in a corruption scandal and faces an impeachment vote next week, is entrenched in yet another PR nightmare. The office of Park Geun-hye has confirmed allegations that the president once made a mass purchase of … Viagra? According to a government spokesperson, the pills were bought for use as a remedy for altitude sickness, should any of Park’s staff become ill during an official visit to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, which all boast capitals that are elevated high above sea level. Doctors in South Korea sometimes prescribe Viagra to mountain climbers as a way of staving off lightheadedness, due to the drug’s effect on blood flow. There is no conclusive medical evidence, however, indicating that Viagra works for anything other than correcting erectile dysfunction. Call us crazy, but an official state visit seems like a really bad time to test the theory.

Michelle Herren, a doctor at Denver Health Medical Center, has come under fire for making racist remarks about Michelle Obama on Facebook. She posted an unflattering photo of the first lady to her Facebook page with the caption, “Monkey face and poor ebonic English!!! There! I feel better and am still not racist!!! Just calling it like it is!” The comment was reported to the University of Colorado Board of Regents, and Herren lost her non-paid faculty appointment at the university. She has also been suspended from her job as a pediatric anesthesiologist. In an interview with a local TV station, Herren said that she did not realize “monkey face” was a pejorative term. So here’s a good rule of thumb: If you ever feel the need to clarify in an Internet comment that you are not being racist, you are almost definitely being racist.

And now for one of the wackier sentences you will read today: A New York breast milk bank has employed a lesbian biker gang to quickly deliver milk to babies in need. Members of the Sirens Women’s Motorcycle Club are able to maneuver through Manhattan’s ever-stagnant traffic, making them uniquely poised to serve hospitals with an urgent need for breast milk. “Little girls, when they see us on the road, they light up, like, ‘Wow, we can ride motorcycles like that?’” said one Siren. “So I think when we deliver breast milk it’s gonna be even that much cooler.”

Emma Morano, who is thought to be the oldest person in the world and the last living person born in the 19th century, celebrated her 117th birthday in Italy on Tuesday. She was born in 1899, and has credited her longevity to persistent singledom—Moran refused to remarry after divorcing an abusive husband in 1938—and to a rather strange diet. “I eat two eggs a day and that’s it,” she said. “I eat cookies.” See? We’ve been consuming mass quantities of Birthday Cake Oreos, for our health.


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