Support Women: Say No to the Bo-Tax!

BlogHer Original Post

I am an idiot. For almost five months now, I have been worrying that any national health plan that was passed by Congress would not cover abortion services. It turns out that I have been wringing my hands over the exact wrong thing. What really, really, really scares American women - including the president of NOW, Terry O'Neil - are proposals levy an "almost 5%" tax on critical women's health services: breast augmentations, facelifts, tummy tucks and other procedures. Gasp!!!!

This burning issue of horrific discrimination against women who want to look "good" came to my attention through Jessica Pressler's post in New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer blog. She noted:

A lot of people think this tax — the so-called "Bo-tax," as it has been disparagingly referred to in the media — won't affect them. That it's a rich-people's problem. This, plastic surgeons say, is erroneous... [According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons] just a little over half of people getting nonessential plastic surgery in the United States make under triple the median wage. But never mind getting your head around that. The point is that the sagging boobs whose lifting may become more costly through this piece of legislation belong not just to the anonymous wealthy.

Yes, it is true - 60 percent of cosmetic surgery patients earn less than $90,000 a year! Seriously! How could I not have known this earlier!?!?! As if this was not bad enough, Pressler points out that illustrious feminists like the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is protesting the tax for discriminating against women, particularly older women who cannot get jobs unless they have Botox or eye work because people hate hiring hags.

Thealogian at Fat Feminist Fitness Blog questions O'Neill's logic on the so-called "Bo-tax:"

The problem isn't the tax, its the unhealthy expectations of the unaging woman and that a woman's worth is bound up in her appearance, that's the primary problem with plastic surgery in general. I'm much more concerned with the lack of maternity care and the ability of insurance companies to charge women carte blanche more for health insurance than men--which a quality healthcare reform bill will stop and a reform bill that includes some additional levies is crucial to get there.

Well, I don't know about all that. I mean, how on earth can we expect to change society's horrible expectations that women are only valuable if youthful? It's just way more efficient for those of us who have the unfortunate lesser genes that cause us to age to pay someone to hide our inferiority. Right?

O'Neill and I are not alone worrying our pretty little heads over this. Today, right in my home city, a protest against this vile, unfair proposal was sponsored by the Committee Against Cosmetic Tax (aka a Park Avenue plastic surgeon). The press release indicated that expect "dozens of angry protesters" were expected. Skeptical BlogHer CE Deb cracked:

Their argument would have had more weight if they hadn't had so many pounds lipoed out of themselves. I wonder if it was hard to tell if they were upset as their facial expressions are all frozen by Botox?

I could not find any news coverage as of this writing, so I am not sure what the protest looked like or how many dozens of protesters braved the rain, although this is almost as many protesters as the million plus women who converged from all over the nation on the National Mall on April 25, 2004 for the March for Women's Lives to support a full spectrum of reproductive health options. The sight of all those people in DC (not to mention in line for the bathroom at rest stops along I-95) was incredibly inspiring to me. I really admire these plastic surgery industry shills - I mean, discriminated against women - who roused themselves from bed to show up at the ungodly hour of 10:30 AM to fight for their right to have tax-free unnecessary medical procedures.

Thank goodness someone is brave enough to stand up for my right to "affordable" eyelid surgery and maybe even my favorites, "vaginal rejuvenations" (WARNING: graphic before and after pictures) and "labia reduction. I hope O'Neill and the others who are stading up for perky breasts, wrinkless faces, a flat tummies remember that nothing offends people more than ugly labias and vulvas!

The real consequence of this proposal, as Merlys Harris pointed out at Moneywatch, is that "if you can’t look younger, you may as well let the government put you to sleep." Like, totally!

Suzanne also blogs at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants and is the author of Off the Beaten (Subway) Track.

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