by Ellie Centeno
As if we weren’t already extremely disgusted at the chronic misogyny that’s plaguing our current government (among other things), Rep. Rodel Batocabe of the Ako Bicol Party-list went ahead and disgusted us even more. Batocabe proposed a so-called “vanity tax” that will impose an additional 10% to 30% tax on beauty products and services. Okay, I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.
Game. Ready for even more BS? He said that this would be pro-poor, since according to him, only the rich would have the capacity to spend on beauty anyway and wouldn’t feel much of an impact. At some point I believe his brain short circuited and he ended up spewing word vomit as he said, “kung talagang mabigat na, ‘wag ka na mag-makeup, mabubuhay ka naman.”
I’m not going to go too deep into the societal pressures that women have had to conform to for centuries now to reach beauty standards, nor am I going to go too deep into the multitudes of ways women have been shamed for the things that empower them, as these are issues that all of us are aware of, but I will tell you this.
I keep my mouth shut about the tax the government takes away from my salary, about the tax I get charged for everything I purchase, and even the tax the government takes when I travel–even when these taxes have recently been fuelling an administration that fears a powerful woman, an administration that thirsts for innocent blood, and an administration that flat out refuses to take responsibility for everything it does wrong.
If Rep. Batocabe wants to impose taxes on things that make me feel beautiful, guarantee that this will go to women’s healthcare. Guarantee that this will go to public education. Guarantee that this will go to social development, then I’ll reconsider. Maybe I should show him how many MAC Viva Glam* lipstick tubes I own, and if he can build a similar beauty movement, I’m all for it. But if the government wants my makeup to fund its misplaced ideals for my country, count me out.
In the meantime, girls, let’s keep dismantling the patriarchy. One eyebrow-on-fleek at a time.
(*100% of sales of MAC Viva Glam lipstick and lipglasses are donated to the MAC AIDS fund.)