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Update: Pole Dancers’ Rebuttal to Goal Auzeen Saedi

Update: Pole Dancers’ Rebuttal to Goal Auzeen Saedi

Update: Pole Dancers’ Rebuttal to Goal Auzeen Saedi

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Philip Deal, a Boston pole dance instructor at North Shore Pole Fitness, and Diana Boyle, owner of Embody Pole Fitness, respond to the Psychology Today blog post, Is Pole Dancing Actually Empowering Women?, written by Goal Auzeen Saedi. Boyle takes us back to older years when women were considered prostitutes for wearing heels and actually offers Saedi 5 free classes at Embody Pole Fitness to help change her mind. Deal brings in a new perspective as a male pole dancer and talked to owner of North Shore Pole Fitness and Women’s Studies Major from University of Wisconsin Madison, Dorian Brown, as well as quotes a pole dancing police officer about how pole dancing has made her a stronger and more confident cop on the streets of Boston. Click here to read Diana’s rebuttal. Read below for Philip Deal’s comments. “Hi everybody it’s Philip Deal. I want to thank UPA for considering this article for publication. As most of y’all know a woman by the name of Goal Auzeen Saedi wrote a piece for psychologytoday.com with the title “Is Pole Dancing Actually Empowering For Women?”. As you would expect with the tone of the title this was not going to be a flattering perspective. As all of you, I was extremely offended by this article for many different reasons, first and foremost at the ignorance this woman displays since she has NEVER taken a pole class. (I don’t think she ever will) And second her view on Feminism. I made a comment on the page and so did a lot of you but I have heard that many of them were deleted. Obviously the only views they want expressed on their page are ones that reinforce this negative stereotype of people who do pole. My best friend and boss Dorian Brown owner of North Shore Pole Fitness and I sat down over FaceTime last night and reread the entire article again together and dissected every sentence. The reason I wanted to do this is because Dorian’s major at The University of Wisconsin Madison were literature and women’s studies with a strong emphasis on feminism. Dorian is a Feminist and I am a Masculinist, so who better to write this article? Also another instructor at our studio Robin Doherty happens to be a police officer in her day job. So asked her a few questions about all this based on the fact that she works in one of the most hyper masculine jobs in our country, and is open about her pole life. Here we go. “Is gyrating up and down a pole really the path to empowerment?” Ok, let me slap you in the face before I can get to the real insults. It is clear from the out set that she is completely ignorant about the Pole Fitness industry, hasn’t heard it’s trying to be made an Olympic sport, or watched any YouTube videos about it. I got on YouTube and searched “Pole Dance”, “Pole Dancing”, “Pole Dance Fitness” and every time Jenyne Butterfly, Michelle Stanek, and Leigh Ann Reilly came up on the first page. So if she would have clicked on any of those videos she would have seen three very different styles of pole “dance”, none of which where these women are gyrating. She would have seen grace and athleticism. So here is a woman who sits down to write an article who seemingly can not even do a google search to research the topic she is about to degrade. Now, what is wrong with gyrating? Nothing. All forms of dance require the body to move in a sensual way. From Ballet to Hip Hop what makes watching dance enjoyable is the rhythm and flow of the body to music regardless of the use of a pole are not. Everybody is into “Twerking” right now. My butt refuses to move that fast, but I can do the helicocktor (my saving grace). Randomly she throws Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance into the article pointing out she both poled and twerks to the disgust of the American public. I believe she did that as a blogger to boost search engine results for her article. #trending. She uses Miley to point out pole dancing is not part of our children’s PE courses, and if the stigma is being removed than why not? Well what other physical disciplines are not taught in PE? Ballet, Karate, Ice Skating, Aerial Hoop or Silk, Rock Climbing, Kick Boxing, Yoga, or Gymnastics. Because you do not go to a public school to learn those things. You join the break dancing club, become a cheerleader, or join the football team. And pole fitness is not just for adults. My dear friend Lauren Delorey owns LA Dance Studio in New Hampshire and teaches hoop and silk already to her kids and is trying to find a way to get three poles in there. And non of the parents at the studio seem to mind. So as far as the removal of the stigma attached to somebody adult or child who dances around a pole is concerned, that ship has already sailed. We are all screwed, and what’s worse is gays can get married too. I am pointing out a fundamental problem that extends way beyond us as pole people: What right does anybody have to tell you what is right or wrong with something that brings you joy? Or to place any morality judgement on how you dance or exercise. It is a matter of perspective and a personal one. As Dorian and I always say, “Pole Fitness isn’t for everybody”. So if what we do is offensive to you, don’t come! If you do not want to watch a man in white tights and a dance belt parade his male parts and butt on a stage, please do not go to see the Ballet ether. That’s right, GFY, and y’all all know what that stands for. Instead of gyrating and twirling she recommends getting a hair cut and doing charity work. Because that’s going to get you into shape. Getting on to the Feminism stuff. Let’s talk about the degradation of women and how pole dancing promotes “rape culture”. Dorian and I both agree she took a huge leap on that one. As a Masculinist I am still confused as to what “rape culture” is, I thought it was American culture in general. There is so much rape contained in music, TV, and movies to fuel the gender bias that pole dance fitness pails into insignificance. I want to point out, and I forgot, in the beginning of the article she is super exited to go to an all woman’s gym. And that she will feel free to work out with out getting dirty lustful stares from men in the mirror! Who says this? When you go to the gym you should go to train, sweat, and get into shape! I get what she is saying. But f you look hot while you are working out it would be a compliment to receive such admiration. I understand why a lot of pole studio are women only, but as many of you know that reverse discrimination on men irritates the hell out of me. As a pole community we have moved past all that in general. She points out that rape occurs in societies where women become objectified and she is absolutely correct. You know men get raped too. And rape occurs in the middle East where women walk around in burqas. Rape is an epidemic in society and is finally starting be addressed. But wanting to be sexy or look stripperific has nothing to do with the objectification of women. Men go to strip clubs because they want to admire a woman’s body, get sexually excited, and fantasize. They want lap dances and to be paid attention too, and the gender bargain is that the striper walks away with a purse full of cash at the end of the night. Fifty percent of all the strippers I have ever known are lesbians. So who is getting used in this situation? It’s a two way street. How do I feel about it? Well I don’t know about the female side. I do know though as a male stripper I danced for other men and women and I felt objectified. Male strippers actually get more objectified then women. There is less security and nobody there to “protect you”. You’re a guy and you should be able to protect yourself right? There is way more touching and fondling of male strippers than women. Actually it’s generally not allowed in gentleman’s clubs, even in lap dances. I know for myself and plenty of other exotic dancers we enjoy the attention and we use our sexuality to place ourselves in a place of power. Most of us are exhibitionist and do it for the money. For all the other men and women who have got into the sex industry by force or because they are/were in dire straights I feel sorry for them. As Nina Hartley says, “they are people who should have never been there in the first place.” I asked Dorian to define Feminism and she said she could not because there are so many different kinds, it depends on the woman (or man) to define it for themselves. So I asked to define hers and she said, “I have the right to make choices based on my beliefs and desires.” I encourage you to watch the movie “Our Bodies, Our Minds” Here is a little synopses from the IMDB website: Our Bodies, Our Minds is about feminists who work as prostitutes, exotic dancers, and in other areas of the adult entertainment industry. How can these women be feminists, you ask? That’s exactly what the seven women featured in this video are asked. Actress, Nina Hartley defends her career choice by stressing that it is a choice, one not coerced or forced as other feminists might imply. Erotic filmmaker, Candida Royalle expresses her brand of feminism by creating her own erotic films, “from a woman’s point of view.” And dominatrix Mistress Delilah uses her earnings to pursue a Ph.D. Alvin’s interest in the subject matter arose out of an experience with a friend of hers from high school. “She told me she was working part-time as a stripper, but I had always thought of her as such a feminist person” she says. After going to see her friend perform at a gentlemen’s club in New York, Alvin realized that there was more to the issue than what anti-pornography feminists might lead you to believe.” So at the end of the day only you can define what it means to be a Feminist, and how you choose to express it. If pole dance fitness empowers you than so be it. Here is where Robin comes in. Here is what she has to say about being on the force and being our instructor: “I am very open with the guys about my pole fitness, even my superior officers. Most of the men automatically think that I’m becoming a “stripper” but then I explain to them it’s about fitness not sex. I like to show them my video of my shoulder mount. I think then they begin to change their false notions of what I do one the pole. It’s funny because some are actually surprised that it’s not about sex and more about fitness. I think most of the men view me the same. They all know me as a free spirited type of girl. I would say that I am still respected and regarded as a very capable police officer. A lot of jokes are made about it but it a harmless way. If anything, they have all complimented me about the great shape that I am in now. In a job like police work, it is important for your coworkers to be physically fit. It could be a matter of life or death. They know that I can hold my own or protect them too. The ironic thing is that I think a couple of the girls are more judgmental than the guys. That just makes me want to bring them to class and teach them how to express their inner goddess! Pole fitness has changed my life for the better! I have much more confidence now. I walk, talk, interact with more confidence then ever before. I have never felt so good about myself as a woman and people notice it. I am in the best shape of my life. Police work is getting more dangerous every day. I NEED to be confident, physically fit and mentally prepared for anything. Pole fitness promotes all of these traits. I decided to teach because I love to help empower women. I also teach woman’s self defense. They are very similar. I also know what a positive impact my mentor- instructor had on me from the first moment I walked into the class. I want to do that for other woman; and I am doing it. I can see it in their smiling faces after every class. Pole gives us women the ability to get into great shape while empowering us all to be beautiful, strong, independent and confident women.” Thank you all for reading this blog post. I do not think I could end it any better.”

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