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Taiwan marks International Women’s Day by telling women to lose weight

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Happy International Women’s Day! The beautiful diversity of our world is reflected by the diverse ways different nations celebrate this important holiday.

If you’re a woman in Italy, for instance, you may be given a yellow Mimosa (as in the flower, though I’d be partial to the drink, myself). In France, you could get some violets or lilies-of-the-valley. If you’re in Montevideo, Uruguay you might want to check out the all female drumming group La Melaza, which has been giving concerts on International Women’s Day since 2008.

And If you are lucky enough to be a woman in Taiwan, you will be reminded that you need to lose weight. Now, to be clear, I don’t mean that society, the media, hegemony, the patriarchy all conspire to tell women they need to lose weight. I mean that literally, Taiwan’s Department of Health (DOH) releases statistics on women’s waistlines on International Women’s Day. In 2011, for instance, the DOH chose the holiday to announce some interesting statistics that had been gathered by the Bureau of Health Promotion. The percentage of women with waistlines greater than the suggested maximum of 80cm (31.49 inches) had increased from 20.2% (1993-1996) to 33.6% (2005-2008). The DOH also organized events for women to get their waistlines measured so they could see how they fit into this national trend! Because government-sanctioned, public humiliation and fat-shaming is the best way to spend a holiday meant to celebrate yourself and your gender. Am I right, ladies? I mean…

And In 2013, the Bureau of Health Promotion celebrated International Women’s Day, once again, by releasing important waist-line related news. Their 2012 survey of 17,000 people showed that more that 33% of women in Taiwan (still) had a waistline of over 80cm. What’s more, 58% of the women surveyed didn’t know they were over the suggested maximum. The suggestions from the bureau included limiting sugary drinks like bubble tea (so good) to one cup a day, using public transportation, walking at least 15 minutes per day, eating more vegetables, eating less fried and processed foods, and eliminating late night snacks.

In all fairness, these suggestions are healthy ones. But framing women’s health as an issue of waistline size makes it all about looks, not about nutrition and fitness. And choosing to link waistlines to International Women’s Day holidays is probably not the best way to do it. And fat-shaming, or telling women their waistlines are too big doesn’t actually work. Forget the moral, ethical, psychological issues. The tough love approach to getting people to lose weight is counterproductive and linked to an increase, not to a decrease, in obesity.

Of course, as a world citizen, I have no interested in nation-shaming, if you will, Taiwan, and praising the United States. After all, today, the United States is celebrating International Women’s Day on Daylight Saving, or the shortest day of the entire year. That’s a pretty great metaphor for shortchanging women. But at least this doesn’t happen on every International Women’s Day, since Daylight Saving is always on the second Sunday in March, while IWD is always on March 8. Black History Month, which is always celebrated during the always shortest month of the year of, however, isn’t so lucky.

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Chelsea Handler comes to Joe Biden’s defense during Real Time appearance with Bill Maher

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Comedian Chelsey Handler defended former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday, during an appearance on HBO's "Real Time" with Bill Maher.

"I have to know what you think of Joe Biden and that whole thing," Maher said.

"I think Joe Biden is just a grandfather, you know what I mean? And he's old," Handler replied.

"I don't like comparing -- I don't like these stories of these women coming out and talking about a man smelling their hair or kissing the back of their head," she continued.

"I think it diminishes people who have actually experienced bullsh*t," Hander said.

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Whether a sitting president can be indicted should be reexamined: former federal prosecutor

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Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner has reached a point that he thinks the policy of not indicting a sitting president should be readjusted for modern times.

In a PoliticsNation panel discussion, focused on Rep. Jerry Nadler's (D-NY) suggestion that he would be requesting documents from at least 60 people connected to President Donald Trump as part of broadening the investigation into possible crimes committed while running for office or while president.

"He has got legal exposure on so many fronts," said Kirschner. "Whether it is his fake charitable organization, his continuing criminal enterprise of the Trump Organization, whether it is an inauguration run amok, it looks like, taking illegal, foreign donations and doling out or promising goodness knows what to those people who donated. And it's his presidency."

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‘Only a wimp does this’: Ex-Pentagon chief of staff rips Trump’s ‘weak’ and cowardly dismissal of Tillerson

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A former top official at the Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency explained how President Donald Trump displayed weakness to the world by the manner in which former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired.

"The more waves the president makes, the more we wonder if at least in part he's hoping to take back the news cycle from, for example, his sex scandal involving porn star Stormy Daniels," MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace noted. "I don't know what you call it when the lawyer for the porn star sounds more reasonable than the President of the United States."

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