Pole Dancing’s Struggle for Mainstream Acceptance
“Is this a win for gender equality and anti-age-discrimination, or one more loss for societal standards?”
“But what does it mean for the pole fitness community when, during competitions, participants are on a stage and perform in front of a crowd, as strippers do?”
(Don’t all sports and performance arts perform in front of crowds?)
The Extra Mustard journalist David Eckstein didn’t delve much deeper in his observations:
“Of course, at the center of it all, two 15-foot stripper poles frame the stage. Add some burly bouncers and a parade of bachelor partiers, and this place could certainly pass for gentlemen’s club even without the dancers.”
“And with this, she takes home the $1,000 grand prize, a paltry sum compared to other competitions, but definitely not bad for a night’s work.”
I don’t know why I’m expecting more. I guess the bubble of the pole community has sheltered me. I’m so immersed in this subculture that I have forgotten what judgements the average person has about what we do. Both authors seemed dismissive at times. Ms. Miller profiled many interesting pole dancers. She seemed mostly confused in her responses as to why these people would give up such promising former careers to pursue pole dancing.
|Competitors line up at National Aerial Pole Art 2014|
Showing outsiders what we do is important. They will never fully understand without experiencing it and as long as the media is making attempts at allowing the masses to peek into our world I suppose it’s progressive. I will continue to gently remind journalists of their automatic biases though. We cannot change anything by shrugging our shoulders and saying, “That’s just the way it is,” if we feel misrepresented.
I am optimistic there will be a day when covering a pole performance or competition won’t demand a strip club reference or cue a punchline drum sound effect. Pole dancing is akin to other circus arts and should start being treated as such. I have no issues with pole dancing’s historical links to exotic dancing. It’s there and it exists. It does not need to be referenced and joked about in any discussion of pole dancing though. And on a deeper level, if it is mentioned why must it always be used as an insult? I feel often that my enjoyment of the sexual side of pole dancing automatically overrides the athletic and artistic sides I also passionately enjoy in the minds of many. I am a multi-faceted human being with many different motivations. That’s a topic for a whole other blog post though…..
*The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to United Pole Artists.