Feature

How face-lifts could also lift the economy

Plastic surgery is no longer a simple matter of vanity, said Rosa Brooks in the <em>Los Angeles Times.</em>

Rosa BrooksLos Angeles Times

“Call them the forgotten victims of the economic slump,” said Rosa Brooks. The nation’s plastic surgeons are having a rough time, with more than half reporting that business is way down because so many of their would-be customers have been “forced by economic necessity to soldier on without liposuction, breast augmentation, or face-lifts.” It’s easy to belittle the surgeons and their “too-broke-for-Botox patients.” But if you look at their predicament in context, you’ll see that the inability to afford cosmetic surgery is a genuine economic hardship. Now, no one can deny “we live in a society that rewards beauty and penalizes ugliness.” Studies have shown that attractive job applicants are more likely to be hired than homely ones, and attractive people get a “beauty premium’’ at the workplace, earning 5 percent more than the average-looking. The “truly unattractive” earn 9 percent less than everyone else. In short, plastic surgery is no longer a simple matter of vanity. “So let’s rejuvenate our sluggish economy with a new economic stimulus package: Tax breaks on cosmetic surgery for low-income Americans!”

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