We found an article recently written by Bella Vendetta sticking up for strippers every where.  Her message could not be more clear.  It’s the argument we just can’t get enough of.  But her points are valid, strong and seem to be coming from a personal point of view.  A person’s feelings cannot be denied.  Her experiences have brought her to this place.  She is calling for strippers to unite!

“One would think that; one would be wrong.

In almost every article written about pole dancing as a fitness trend, you will almost always see some variation of the phrase: “Pole dancing: it’s not just for strippers anymore!”

Every studio owner who gets interviewed by the press seems to want to make it very undeniably clear that they are not strippers, and that the type of pole aerobics and gymnastics that they practice are not degrading to women—it’s just a great workout!

It’s not anything like what those nasty, dirty, no self respecting strippers do.

One would think this (legal) form of sex work would be more acceptable than ever. There’s televised award shows and showcases of pole athletes emulating strippers, flawlessly pulling of practiced moves that we have created and, in some cases, are even named after us.

But more and more, we are left out of the conversation. Folks want to erase stripper and stripclub culture from the sport.

There have been many arguments, with no real conclusion, as to the origins of pole dancing. Chinese acrobatic pole, ancient Indian Mallakhamba, circus and sideshow performance. Pole fitness enthusiasts like to throw this history at us to prove they aren’t like us; what they do is an art, a performance, a skill.

I will never be one to argue about the origins of the craft—the fact remains that modern pole fitness most closely resembles pole dancing, like the kind you see at a stripclub. The acrobats of yesteryear never donned 7 inch pleaser heels or glittery outfits or finished their routines with hair flips and booty pops. That is stripper culture. No amount of distance you put between yourself and that culture changes the fact that you are emulating it, and very blatantly.”



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    I’ve been seeing many arguments recently (like the one above) suggesting that saying “No, I’m not a stripper” is offensive. I have yet to see anyone explain why they may sometimes feel the need to say that they’re not a stripper. so here’s my two cents.

    I’m an aerialist and pole acrobat, and a good amount of my income comes from performing and teaching pole and aerial. I have some comments that you may or may not find interesting.

    I first want to say that I have nothing against strippers and I do not attempt to talk badly about strippers ever. I agree that strippers work very hard, and there are definitely some strippers that are very talented pole dancers.

    I do want to elaborate on why I often feel the need to mention to my clients that I am not a stripper. Parents often assume that my classes and shows are not family friendly. It is (unfortunately) necessary for me to let them know the kinds of tricks that I teach and what I don’t teach. Additionally, when I’ve been hired for shows, I’ve been in situations where it was assumed that I would be stripping simply because I advertised myself as a pole dancer. Again, after several experiences like this, I found it necessary to note that I do not strip. Even showing them my videos and photos was not enough for some to not make that assumption that I would also strip.

    There are many types of pole out there, and while I agree that there are lots of studios that are essentially teaching the moves that strippers do, I want to point out, however, that that is not the case in all studios. Though I have no problem with it, I never teach in heels, and I don’t teach “hair flips” and “booty pops.” Many of the tricks and combos are things I have created myself, as well as tricks that have been created by my favorite competitive polers. I am not trying to say that strippers didn’t create some tricks that all polers love, but many of these arguments I’ve been seeing recently are claiming that strippers created everything that modern pole dancers and acrobats do. I also have performed in many shows where my audience was expecting me to perform stripper-like choreography, but what I did was different enough for one person to even comment: “What do you call that? I’ve never seen anything like that before!”

    I also recognize that strippers work very hard and often not in ideal conditions. However, many of us who have never stripped have worked just as hard. One certainly cannot generalize that no poler/circus artist has not worked just as hard, and not been through just as many hardships in life. I also want to note that most of my friends who strip make more money than I do.

    My studio has/does sometimes employ strippers as well. We do not discriminate. I am tempted not to mention this, because I know there are many strippers that do not fall in this category, but at our studio, the most advanced polers are the ones who do not strip. The teachers who’ve been training and performing in pole the longest are also the ones who do not strip. I am not mentioning this to suggest that every studio is like this, but to point out a counterexample to an argument that I’m tired of seeing.

    I hope that anyone reading this may now understand why it is (unfortunately) sometimes necessary for me and other polers to indicate that we are not strippers, and I am certainly not trying to degrade strippers by doing so.

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