Alfalfa Club: When Women Decided to Work like Men…

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(  Saturday night at the Capital Hilton, McPherson Square’s angry and frustrated young women of Occupy D.C. took to the streets alongside their angry and frustrated young men to bare their breasts and bleat in protest against the nation’s elite politicians and businessmen partying at the Alfalfa Club’s posh annual soiree. 

While President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama topped the Alfalfa Club’s guest list, young men and women went top-free in a massive street party, carnival-style protest of approximately 200 demonstrators. Breasts and nipples of all shapes and sizes stood erect and swayed like pendulums to the beat of tribal drums and to the sounds of NWA and Twisted Sister.  Just days before an eviction was to be served on Occupy D.C. by the National Park Service, the Occupiers protested what they consider the nation’s growing and shameful economic divide.

While expressing righteous indignation about perceived collusion by the government and corporations against the 99%, the D.C. Occupiers were simultaneously joyously jubilant in their colorful protest approach which  included sprinkling Senator Joe Lieberman with handfuls of glitter. So what forces sowed the seeds of the Occupiers boisterous discontent as accented by glitter bombs? 

Outsourcing, automation, corporate greed, and even illegal immigration have been blamed for depressing real wages and for American job loss over the last few decades.  However, could the seemingly progressive feminist movement and laissez faire capitalism have colluded decades ago to transform women into the same hapless “wage slaves” as their male counterparts? 

So says one of the feminist movements pioneers, Fay Weldon, author of the 2009 dystopian novel Chalcot Crescent, who contends that, “Once it was only the men who were ‘wage-slaves,’ and now it’s the men and the women too….I’d really rather blame capitalism.”  Weldon professes only what more and more of us have come to realize, that it’s the well-off who are able to cope with the increasingly exhausting nature of modern-day life.

And it’s exactly that rugged brand of individualistic capitalism and take-no-prisoners “wage slavery” that’s at the heart of the youthful Occupy’s discontent.  Although it may be more taboo to assess than the economic impact of let’s say automation or outsourcing, women’s 1970s mass entry into the workforce has had its own distinct individual, social, and economic impact. 

For good or bad, the family household never really recalibrated for mother’s often full-time additional work outside of the home—leaving many women exhausted from having the primary caregiving responsibilities along with full-time jobs.  Our economy and culture does not give just value or support to caregivers of any sex.

The majority of African-American women find themselves single-parents and heads of household, according to a nationwide survey  conducted by The Washington Post  and the Kaiser Family Foundation. While dual income households have generally increased outside of this exception, so has poverty according to recent Census Bureau statistics, with 2.6 million people slipping into poverty in the United States just in the last year. 

The clock will never be turned back, nor arguably should it.  However, deep down within their bare and undulating breasts, those young women and men of Occupy may have used primal nudity to protest modern-day hardships and excesses—so few having so much while so many have so little. 

The promise of the American dream rings hollow for many as Americans of both genders lead increasingly frenetic, perilous and indebted lives.  Neither of my grandmothers worked outside of the home, and both of my grandfathers, one a building engineer of modest means and limited education, and the other a solo-practitioner, paid off mortgages, bought cars, never went bankrupt or were foreclosed upon, while educating and supporting families on a single income.  Such a notion has become a luxury to most families.  Perhaps the Alfalfa Club protesters were questioning whether younger generations in the guise of progress and prosperity, have just been sold a pipe dream?

Staff Writer; Joy Freeman-Coulbary

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