If you are a feminist who poles...

 
Black Orchid

 To put this into context, I am proud to call myself a feminist, a pretty progressive or left-of-centre one at that. I have been doing art & activist work since I was in college, and a lot of my creative work is pretty edgy politically and sexually. I do have a "purely sparkly!!" entertainer side as well but most people who know me know that I am not one to back away form an artistic challenge.

What I am currently stumped by is how to respond to colleagues/peers/friends who I thought of as politically progressive saying things to me like : " The pole is a symbol of pain & oppression to women!" " I don't understand why you do burlesque" etc. I guess I can deal with what I see as sexual conservatism but I don't know how to respond on-point to fellow leftists because they will not accept any response other than "pole represents sexual slavery" or something to that nature. I am just stumped by the unbending nature of those statements.

I guess I knew when I started doing burlesque and training in pole that I was getting pretty close to touching what I call "the third rail" of sexually charged performance. ( yes, I know pole can be purely athletic and lyrical...I like all of that PLUS the sexy).

What are your suggestions?
Feb 3, 2012
Danielle Tillie
Maybe tell them that you pole dance for you, and that you fully choose to do it, enjoy it, and feel empowered and beautiful because of it. If someone who claims to be progressive puts pole down so dramatically like that, I would tell them that I consider their statement to be very close-minded and not at all of the political and social stance they claim to adhere to. I don't understand that argument, because pole is the opposite of oppressive to me. It is so freeing.
Feb 3, 2012
nilla

Maybe people feel that way because stripping as a profession is often seen as something women would only do as a last resort, and that it's degrading for any woman who does it (It can be, but so can working in the fast food industry).  So in a way, taking pole dance out of the stripping/sex industry context and doing it for your own enjoyment is the ultimate act of feminism, kind of taking the activity back for your own control and enjoyment rather than having to do it for the enjoyment of someone else.  Sometimes I don't get people, they don't want somone else to enjoy your sexuality, they don't want you to enjoy your sexuality, who is supposed to benefit from it then?  From a feminism standpoint, there are actually some extreme feminists who believe makeup, high heels, or basically anything women do to beautify themselves is a form of societal sexual slavery.  Thankfully there are also feminists who are more balanced and validate those things and enjoy them.
Feb 3, 2012
Black Orchid

Right, I hear ya, believe me. It's very retrograde Andrea Dworkin-esque radical feminism..which I admit to being into in college for a bit before I moved to a ( IMO) more rational form of socialist feminism.

When I first started poling I admit I was pretty conflicted about the sexy floorwork and heels...I really signed on for the aerials, the strength etc. But doing more reading by other polers and taking Alethea's workshop really changed my mind about owning more fully the in-your-face yet intimate sexual side of poling...the heels, the crawling, all of it.

I personally also have an issue with any of us doing sexy dance work trying to make ourselves seem better than the women who work in clubs stripping, go-go dancing etc. It's all on a scale. Sexual slavery is oppressive. Not supporting the women who do work in the industry is not sisterly, IMO. But trying to explain that to my friends has felt like running up against a brick wall. I guess I had gotten my head and heart so into poling and into our community that I had forgotten what a dirty little secret we are to so many people still :(
Feb 3, 2012
Cherished

Sometimes I think the only way for someone to get it is to see it. If you are close enough with these critics send them a video or a link of an athletic pole performance. If someone told me pole represents sexual slavery I would tell them what it represents to me which is physical achievement, fitness, and most important to me: expression - artistic, contemporary, athletic and sexual (when I feel like it). It also represents women of all shapes and sizes ages and nationalities from all types of backgrounds and professions coming together in a supportive community. There is no need to argue past that.  If they can't see it for what it is, it's their loss. Not everyone will understand so just feel fortunate that you are one of the ones who do and can reap all the benefits of this sport.
Feb 3, 2012
Black Orchid

Some of them have seen me perform. They've also seen my fellow polers perform ( which apparently is what started the drama). I should be clear that I have a lot of support for what I do and there are a lot of people who get it; are opening their minds etc. It doesn't make me feel better when they separate what I do ( "oh you are more artistic than th eother pole dancers I've seen etc")...I don't want that divide! That's snobbery. Some of my work is "artistic" but I plan on getting down and dirty when I damn well feel like!

I was just really hurt and surprised by some of these folks.
Feb 3, 2012
poledanceromance
To me, the answer is very simple (sex positive feminist): feminism must be about choice. It's about women supporting other women in our efforts to explore undiscovered parts of ourselves. If I want to explore my potential by staying at home full-time to be the best mom I can be, you'd support me in that. If you wanted to explore yourself as a sexual being by experimenting in different sexual relationships, I'd support you in that (provided everyone is being safe!).

What's the common thread there? A feminist view grounded in Mill that as long as what we are doing is done in an effort to seek progression of the self and doesn't hurt anyone else, we ought to support each other as feminists in our choices regardless of whether or not we would make the same choice.

Perhaps the hugest strength of true feminists is that honest feminism does NOT look down on women who choose not to work outside the home or follow more "traditional" gender roles. A true feminist should not--would not--say to a homemaker that her lifestyle is damaging to women even though those structures in society have certainly been harmful to women in the past. If we can respect another woman who freely chooses to partake in patriarchal structures, we must respect pole dancers and businesswomen and even sex workers. Because the whole point of feminism is not that certain choices are wrong, but that no woman should have to feel pressured into OR bullied for her lifestyle choices.
Feb 3, 2012
poledanceromance
**and I suppose some might make the argument that sex workers cause harm when their customers violate the bonds of a relationship to use those services, but I would argue that this is also counter to feminism because it makes women responsible for men's choices. If the clerk at the hardware store is not responsible for making sure that the poison you're buying is for rats and not your family, then the sex worker is not responsible for making sure that her customers aren't lying to anyone.
Feb 3, 2012
Aviva

Oh wow.  Is there a like button for comments on here?  Some of these responses are great.  Um a symbols of pain and oppression to women?  If I'd been drinking my soda when I read that it might have gotten it all over my keyboard.  Really?  Wow that's just so backwards to my way of thinking but then again, look at my name so maybe me calling something backwards is skewered but really?  A symbol of pain and oppression?  Yes I feel so oppressed when I'm upside down by my hands.    [www.studioveena.com] I am so sorry you have to hear that stuff from people who should know better.  Snobbery is in everything though, not just about pole dancing. 
Feb 3, 2012
nilla

Yeah, really good comments.  Black Orchid, I think it's cool that you forget that some people don't understand pole dance, I think it means you are a positive person and anticipate positive from others.  I agree though, it can be a shock to come accross people who don't see it as a positive thing even though it's such a positive thing for us.

"It doesn't make me feel better when they separate what I do ( "oh you are more artistic than th eother pole dancers I've seen etc")...I don't want that divide! That's snobbery."

I agree, and yet, I'm still not totally into the stripper aspect.  Even though I love the sensual aspect of pole dance I can't get into some of the more graphic stipper-ish moves.  I'm still trying to figure out if that's just residual from my conservative upbrining or if it just simply isn't my style.  Like for instance the extreme platform style heels that are iconically known as stripper heels, for some reason they just look like hooves to me and I can't figure out if I truly just don't like the aesthetic of them or if it's just leftover conservative programming.  I love how high heels in general look and love wearing them, just not "strippah" ones.  Go figure.
Feb 4, 2012
CreativityBySteffie

Honestly? I dont even bother coming up with any other answer than "I dont really care". I love pole dancing so much, it doesn't matter what people think. They can think Im a stripper aswell if they like. All that matters to me, is that I've found something I really love to do! 
Feb 4, 2012
Rosemadder

I love this topic and need to find a way to copy it if i can. i work for an organisation which is aimed to empowering women and have often been on training courses with women calling themselves femanist but who seem to have missed the point (IMO). i have argued the point that for me I feel completely enpowered when on a pole and one trainer TOLD me I have been brainwashed by men to beilieve I'm empowered by pole dancing whilst falling for the oldest trick in the book ?!?

i think the bottom line for me is choices - if i can choose my path without oppression - be it stay at home Mum to running the counrty then i have achieved my femanist dream.

 
Feb 4, 2012
Popcorn
Like many of you I also consider myself a feminist. As a scientist, I'm frequently silently pushed to reject my femininity by other women in the battle to compete with men. To deny my gender and sexual identity feels more like slavery to me, so I explore my identity as a strong, powerful, sexual person through my pole dance and refuse to compromise myself by de-womanizing myself in my professional world. I am equally capable in replacing the mufflers on my airboat, giving a conference talk in a skirt, and inverting in stripper heels. I refuse to compromise any part of my personal expression to satisfy a now-archaic idea of what a feminist must be. To any feminist who feels they must define who I am in order for me to be a feminist, I ask how that differs from the oppressive role men placed women for the millennia prior to women's suffrage?
Feb 4, 2012
LoveV
Great topic. I was born and raised to a 60s feminist; it's in my blood! ;-) My choices, oddly enough, have been almost opposite to the ones my own mother made and that alone has made me both question and awaken to my own definition of what it means to be a woman. That's really the core, isn't it? That we, and so many, have created definitions?
I love the sexy, sultry, sensuality that pole dancing offers me. Of all forms of movement, sexual interactions and experiences in my life, pole dancing makes me feel so connected to, and empowered by, me. I feel integrated on a levels; physically, emotionally, sexually, mentally and - yes - spiritually.
Yes, I have had the disapproving and questioning "looks" when I talk about pole, but I either don't care, or choose carefully who to share my private joys with.
Having spent my life, my parenting, my spirituality and ideas so far from mainstream ways, I've grown used to - and more comfortable - with just being me.
Several years ago, it was a fun and empowering moment when my (then 14 y.o.) daughter and I pole danced together to "Miss Independent" for my mom!
Feb 4, 2012
Layla Duvay

I am a feminist who poles and I refer you to Claire Griffin Sterett's  excellent website:

 

[www.polestory.com]

 

She is also a feminist who poles and did her master's degree on the psychological benefits of poling. There is plenty of inspiration/ ammo there for you! Keep the faith sister!!!!  :)
Feb 4, 2012
Black Orchid

Layla, I have read Claire's blog and there is some useful, inspiring stuff there. Thank you.

I know I can shrug them off if I want to...I guess as an activist artist you always want to engage people in conversation before walking away. Thanks for the support!
Feb 4, 2012
KuriKat

Honestly, I'd just review my Gayle Rubin and Avedon Carol and out-feminist-theory anyone who wants to talk about pole as a symbol of oppression. (But I come from a fairly academic feminist background, and the schools I attended included a fairly strong tradition of sex-positive feminism so that's where I'm most comfortable often.) Are is way to fluid to be boxed in like it sounds your colleagues are doing there.

I've often posted videos of particularly athletic pole performances on Facebook, as well as Chinese pole and Indian pole gymnastics (typically performed by men) to showcase the athleticism in pole dance. I like both the sexy and artistics parts of the sport and the wonder I get from seeing someone do a particularly difficult pole trick (and the elation I get when I master one I couldn't do before!)

Thanks for the Polestory link, Layla, I think I'll spend a lot of time reading there now. :-)
Feb 4, 2012
Fever Previous Paid Member

As a feminist who wrote about interpellation in my master's thesis, I have heard the same arguments you've pointed out, Black Orchid. I tend to use this rebuttal:

1. If you're a feminist who believes women shouldn't wear make-up or dresses, then we don't need to discuss this any further. Confirmation bias is much too likely for both in this scenario.

2. If you're a feminist who wears dresses occasionally, you do know that dresses are also symbols of oppression and slavery, right? Today, when the average person sees someone wearing a dress, does he/she think, "Tut tut, she's wearing a symbol of oppression?" Doubtful.

3. Sexuality can and has been reclaimed by women in multiple ways. To say that women cannot own a certain form of sexuality isn't giving women a lot of credit for the strides we've made. Pole-dancing will not take us back to complete subjugation; rather, pole-dancing forces people to rethink the dance form and what it means. Perspective is everything.

A name is very powerful, and so are the associations that come along with it. With time and continued rational rebuttals to the assumptions that people make, pole fitness will have less and less of a stigma. I mean, it's already on "America's Got Talent." It's safe to say that pole-dancing is on its way into the mainstream. 

***Also, I have no problem with stripping. I've done my fair share of dancing for money. ;)***

 

 

 
Feb 5, 2012
willowbreath

I suppose I don't understand where all the labels for being a feminist come from. How you define being a feminist should come from what empowers YOU, and all the other people be damned. To actually say to you that using a pole is somehow subjugating you or is a sign of "pain and oppression to women" (really...I would think it would be a symbol of empty wallets for men lol) is idiotic. They may as well say you can only be a feminist if you shave your head, dress like a man, and do not embrace any attribute that makes you female. I do not, and have never, subscribed to the various social definitions, or by people who write college thesis papers, of what makes me or anyone else strong. If you want to pole dance, and that makes you feel strong, empowered, beautiful, sexual, and happy, then that's what you should do, and your friends can either deal with it or shut up about it. Just as a note of interest, there is a woman in England who recently taught pole dance to a Muslim woman who is very high on the social strata, I cannot recall her name. Her husband allowed it, encouraged it, because his wife had an interest. Know why? Because there is no social stigma for it. The only stigma for any exercise having to do with a pole is in the countries where stripping is prevalent. Anywhere else, its an incredible form of exercise and beautiful feats of strength. Sorry for the long rant, but I get so tired of uptight women trying to impose labels and boxes around other women. We are supposed to SUPPORT each other, not hinder each other.
Feb 5, 2012
michaelaarghh

I love what Fever said, I think it sums up my views perfectly. I am definitely a feminist, and "feminism" is not a dirty word. 

 

To me, feminism is about choice, and being empowered as a woman. I think this applies to so many things in life. I don't think you can be a feminist if you believe "women shouldn't do x, y and z" because that is imposing restrictions on someone based on their gender or sexuality.

I think poling fits in extremely well in this. Like willowbreath said, if pole dancing makes you feel strong and empowered then you should do it. If you get paid to do so, hey, more power to you (haha).

 
Feb 5, 2012
poledanceromance
Willowbreath, that's the Camille Paglia view, one I've always been interested with: that it's ridiculous to say strippers are exploited since all they do is remove their clothes and men bleed their bank accounts dry for them. It's certainly possible to argue that the pole is a symbol of the exploitation of men because the whole club atmosphere is designed to take advantage of their instincts.

Now I don't know if I totally agree with that argument as it still relies heavil on conventional gender norms, but it's certainly an interesting way to turn it around. There are certainly men out there who have basically gone into financial ruin for their favorite woman at the club.

Either way, I think it's important to acknowledge that if you're asserting pole to be symbolic over women, you're assigning more defining power to the pole than you are to the sexuality of the woman dancing on it. And I think that's selling female sexuality short; it's the dancer who defines the dance (and the apparatus), not the other way around.
Feb 5, 2012
willowbreath

PDR, haha agree. If it was just the pole that sells the sexuality I'd be as intriguing as Felix or Jenyne (I definitely am not!) and we'd all be exactly the same.
Feb 5, 2012
nilla

This is all really interesting for me to read because even though I feel it's wrong to judge, I'm still sorting out feelings of being averse to the whole stripper persona.  They say to really get into a performance you should try to put yourself into the charachter that you're dancing as, and I find I feel gross and uncomfortable putting myself into a stripper charachter, but if I pretend I'm dancing for my husband (or actually am dancing for my husband) I find I can really let loose.  I wonder if the judgement or viewing stripping as a negative is really based on just not being able to relate?
Feb 5, 2012
poledanceromance
Think of it this way: when you let loose dancing for your husband, you're doing it for many different reasons. But a big reason is that you feel safe in the boundaries of that relationship to express your sexuality and really assert your sexiness to him. It's healthy for people to want that connection.

That's also why people go to strippers-to enjoy certain kinds of sexual experiences in the boundaries of a much different client-customer relationship. Women who dance, ideally, are there because they are comfortable and confident in the boundaries of that relationship, and like to be sexually "in command" of their clients, to control the encounter. Even if a dancer is fulfilling the fantasy of an "innocent girl" character for her client, she's still in control because of the setting and the nature of their relationship.

When you imagine yourself in that role, it feels icky because you're not comfortable with that scenario. But the women doing the dancing in real life don't necessarily feel that way. Maybe try imagining yourself in the club, but the only person in the audience is your husband(or multiple customers, but they're all your husband!). But see if you can picture being in that setting and feeling the same way about being on stage that you feel when your husband is the audience. When you dance for him, you're definitely in a dominant position. The two aren't really that far apart, it just involves very different kinds of relationships.
Feb 5, 2012
nilla

Yeah, I can imagine that customer/client relationship.  I'm still not sure I really want to get comfortable in that setting though.  It just seems like there's still a high tendency of disrespect between dancer and customer, whether it's the dancer who is in control thinking "he's sucha putz for giving me so much money for this" or the customer feeling in control having the mindset of "she's such a slut to do this for $".  Granted I've never actually been to a strip club, I've only read comments here and elsewhere from people who have worked them or been to them, and those types of mindsets seem fairly prevalent.  It seems logical that it would be possible to have a mutually respectful dancer/client relationship though, so maybe that's what I need to focus on to understand the draw.  It could also be my conservative upbringing making it difficult for me to understand sexual experiences as a commodity because for me they lose their value outside of a loving relationship.  I can understand that that's not the case for everyone though.

And thanks for engaging with me, because I don't think I'd sort out my thoughts as well if you didn't.
Feb 5, 2012
Fever Previous Paid Member

People have a tendency to oversimplify the relationship between a stripper and a client. A server in a restaurant is in the same basic position--the person sitting at the table has all the monetary control, and the server has (at least some) control over quality and the overall experience. 

Can anyone honestly say that every relationship between a server and customer equals "This person is my servant" versus "Ugh, this stupid person is giving me money to bring out food he/she could have made at home for much cheaper."

No, that's the worse case scenario. Client and service providers have the gamut of feelings toward each other in any industry, whether involving food or sex. :)

Also, remember that all relationships are transactional. I give my fiance sex, and in return, he provides emotional stability and various other benefits (this goes both ways; I'm just using it on my side to illustrate a point). The client/stripper relationship is no different, but the transaction gets a bad rap because people tend to romanticize relationships rather than seeing that all relationships are transactional, but the pay scale (and type) of transaction varies widely.
Feb 5, 2012
nilla

That's a good way to put it, I hadn't thought of relationships in a transactional context before.  I think it may just be that I don't find the stripper/client relationship sexy.
Feb 5, 2012
Fever Previous Paid Member

That is completely understandable! I think there's room for all types of sexuality under the umbrella of womanhood. Whether we pole with 8 inch heels or bare feet or sneakers, I think we mostly pole for the same overarching reason--it makes us feel good! :)
Feb 5, 2012
poledanceromance
I'll say that as a female who has gone to strip clubs, there is definitely a possibility for a respectful relationship there. I've had dancers offer me dances because they can tell I'm there for fun and not to be sleazy; they enjoy the playful flirting with me, and to demonstrate to them that I respect them, I don't try to touch them or push physical boundaries. I keep my hands at my sides and let them do what they want.

A lot of whether that relationship is respectful depends on the client. The fact that not every client is respectful is a huge factor in determining those of us who could do that line of work and those of us who couldn't. Because once the client pushes that boundary, it's up to the dancer to handle that emotionally or not. If you can look at that the same way a waitress would look at a bad tip "that's shitty and not cool. Get the F out of here." then it's not much different. But if you're the sort of person who would feel horribly violated from a customer's lack of respect, then that person probably shouldn't strip OR waitress haha.

I honestly believe that morally right/wrong is at least partly connected to whether it's right or wrong specifically for the person doing the action. If you can be comfortable with stripping and it doesn't damage you as a person to do it, and you aren't knowingly doing anything unethical with clients, I can't find anything wrong there.
Feb 6, 2012
nilla

"Also, remember that all relationships are transactional. I give my fiance sex, and in return, he provides emotional stability and various other benefits (this goes both ways; I'm just using it on my side to illustrate a point). The client/stripper relationship is no different, but the transaction gets a bad rap because people tend to romanticize relationships rather than seeing that all relationships are transactional, but the pay scale (and type) of transaction varies widely."

I really tried to understand and relate to that and I can relate to all of it except for sex being transactional.  For me and my husband, the different jobs we do to keep our household running are transactional (he works full time so while he's working I am the caretaker of our kids/ he deals with the upkeep of our vehicles, but I do most of the yardwork etc...) but our sexual relationship so far has been it's own currency.  Sex for us is straight across mutual enjoyment.  If it did transition to being a bargaining chip in other aspects of our relationship, it would end up being just that for me...a job, and would cease being sexy for me.  And for it to still be enjoyable for my husband I'd probably have to pretend that it was enjoyable for me, because he's not the type that would enjoy it if he thought I wasn't enjoying it.  And I have run into some guys who find the stripper culture, or overt sexuality in general to be mortifying and not sexy, so they're out there too.

I definitely think what Poledanceromance says is valid though.  I can understand that there are people out there who work the strip-club scene and genuinely love their jobs.  And I gotta say, I think it's an honest living.  At a bar it doesn't distress me when guys rub up on me on the dance floor, or when drunk guys hit on me with their hands (for lack of a better way to describe it, haha), and from what I understand that wouldn't even be allowed in a strip club dancer/customer setting (so maybe I could hack it as a stripper), but as far as finding it sexy.....yeah, not so much.  So it's no surprise that the stripper culture, stripper look, stripper shoes ect don't ring my bell either.

When I run into someone who favors the "artistic" side of pole dancing and doesn't get the "stripper" style, I don't take it as snobbery.  I just know there's nothing weirder than watching something that you know the performer means to be sexy and not finding it sexy yourself.  It's like the 'walking in on your parents' feeling...it's not that you're judging....you're just not into it.
Aug 29, 2012
Scarlett Honey aka Lola Grace

Whate an interesting topic for discussion. I have come across similar surprise and exasperation when faced with another person's negative or dogmatic opinion.

One thing I like to say to myself is "Those who havn't tried it shouldn't judge it" and that goes for many things and for everyone, including me. If someone has actually experienced being a stripper or a pole dancer and found it uncomfortable or demeaning, then they have a right to express their informed opinion. But it irritates me that many people feel entitled to voice their beliefs loudly and obnoxiously when they have no particular knowledge in that area. It would be like me stating something decisively about chemical engineering being against nature - I don't know anything about chemical engineering so who am I to dismiss or condemn it? I think trying something is an important part of forming an accurate judgment because often we have these preconceptions in our heads about how we would react in a certain situation or what's wrong and right, but then when it comes to living it in the moment, our instincts or our true selves astonish us.

So maybe you could say to these critics: "Why don't you try it and then tell me your informed opinion."  ....? Or something along those lines ;)

I'd like to say also; I am a feminist, and I have been a stripper, and I am proud to be a pole dancer. If I was so worried about being sexually objectified that I couldn't enjoy my physicality and express my sensuality, THEN I would be repressed. Being comfortable in my body, exhibiting myself nude, enjoying my sensuality, enetertaining others with my body.... that is empowering to me. Just as being confident in my intelligence, exhibiting my knowledge, entertaining others with my wit is empowering. Being respected as a woman and being considered equal to man shouldn't mean denying a part of ourselves; our femine allure.
Aug 29, 2012
Scarlett Honey aka Lola Grace

*feminine
Aug 29, 2012
Fever Previous Paid Member

Whoooa, not saying that I don't enjoy sex with my (now) husband! I'm not saying it's not romantic, sexy, etc. 

The transaction goes both ways! We please each other, and for us, sex is mutually beneficient. All relationships are different, though, and not everyone feels the same way. I'm not going to judge a sugar daddy/May-December relationship any differently than I would judge two young star-crossed kids getting married right after high school. As long as everyone is happy, why should I care?

Relationships have so many different ways of working out successfully. I just think it's terrible when people judge them against a standard they've created for themselves.

And as for pole, I get what you're saying about feeling uncomfortable when people express a sexuality that you don't share, and that's fine.  think when that happens, people should just turn their heads and look the other way and move on, which is unfortunately not what we tend to experience outside of this community. To do otherwise sounds uncomfortably close to what people say about the LGBT community: "Your version of sexuality doesn't match mine so you should change to what I find comfortable."

I'm not saying that anyone here is alternative lifetstyle-bashing, or that anyone here is suggesting that people should not inject sexy into pole dance, just that the exact same argument is used against gays demonstrating affection in public. I'm also not comparing our troubles to the LGBT community--just putting out there that the argument is ridiculous no matter what the subject is.

I also agree with scarletthoney that it's really tough to get people to listen to you about a job if you haven't worked it the field!
Aug 29, 2012
NightFall

This is a good question and something that the author of "Living Dolls" felt was a sign of a backlash against feminism, while I personally feel it's anything but, or at the very least, that "it depends" on the person. 
 

For me: I took a pole class because - big deep breath and- I thought it was tacky and couldn't understand why women today would sign up for this. So naturally, the best way to understand something is to just do it, and once I did I loved it and I've been thinking about my prior opinion on it a lot and where it came from.

Ok, we know where my old opinion came from: I can't watch re-runs of the sporanos without scenes of zombified girls rubbing themselves against poles unenthusiastically in every episode. That's the common preception of pole dancers. I didn't even know there was more to it than dancing around a pole naked until I youtubed it.

The bigger annoyence for me is the "but it's sexual" part. here's the thing: guys are turned on by women, no matter what we do. Woman washing a car: SEXUAL. Woman bending over to check something in the oven: SEXUAL. Woman doing yoga: SEXUAL. Woman in rain (ffs!!): SEXUAL [www.studioveena.com] That's how horney guys are! We have no control of what someone sees as "sexual" and it's not our problem. And this is especially important for me because I grew up in the arabian gulf where just walking down the street covered in black (not that I ever needed to do the all black thing 'cos I'm not from saudi or iran, but most women do dress that way in my country because it's culteral) are sexy. They actually find blobs of black silk SEXY. They'll point out a particular blob and say to their friends "she's hot. I think she's fliritng with me". There is nothing women can do to discourage sexual thought, and in the torah, apparently it's pretty explicity said that this is men's problem, not womens. 
 

Pole dancing in itself is neither repressive nor liberating: it depends on the context. 
A  (hypothetical) pole dancer who is being exploited is no worse off than a girl working in a sweat shop and being exploited (so is my sewing machine a tool or repression too? or just a money saving gizmo?) or spraying pesticides on tomatoes (same question re: my watering can), etc. 

People object most vocally against the symbols that they can't hide of things they wish didn't exsist; the girl in the sweat shop or tomato feild aren't visible, but the pole dancer is. What they should be objecting to is inequality, but it's easier to hide the pole dancer than it is to change inequality.

Lots of other sensitivies are representative of this sentiment.

xxxxx
Aug 29, 2012
nilla

 

I hope I didn't come off like I was judging your particular relationship Fever.  I do think it's sad when people judge what works for someone else.  I was illustrating the difference between judging, and knowing what turns me on vs. what doesn't turn me on, and why the stripper scene doesn't turn me on.  Some people are really into the stripper aspect of pole: love the shoes, love poling in lingerie, go to pole classes called "stripper 101".  And for a while I thought it meant I was judgmental if I didn't, which had me wondering if I was a walking contradiction.

I knew the first time I tried it that I loved pole dance, the sensual aspect, the strong aspect, the exercise aspect, the dance and artistic aspect,  and I'm even fascinated by pole dance's relationship to exotic dance and think that aspect has a lot to teach me.  I think it's fun to pay homage to every aspect of pole (still working on my booty pop and sexy floorwork). I loved learning from Fawnia in Vegas.  But at the end of the day l have a dance style preference that's all my own.  I can understand why some people aren't into certain parts of pole dance, and I realize their preference might not have anything to do with judgment.  It is true that some people's aversion to pole dance may be based on judgment, stereotypes, jealousy, or just irrational negative feelings that they don't really even know the cause of, but I'll try to anticipate the best from people.

I don't think that anyone has to change their style of pole dance to fit anyone else's either, I think diversity is one of the things that makes the pole community great and keeps it from going stale.

girlunblogged, thanks for sharing your pole story!  Pole dance has been therapeutic for me, as I grew up in a conservative family where I was taught I had to strictly cover my body between x and y in order to not be thought of as a sex object.  That way of teaching modesty really just reinforced to me that my body was indeed a sex object.  Even as an adult I felt like my body was not for my own enjoyment, but for my husband.  I had been so conditioned to go out of my way to keep it covered, often at the expense of my own comfort and preference.  Pole dance has helped me be able to acknowledge that my body was built to house an analytical mind, to appear sexy, to perform physical labor, to bear children, and (no less important) for my own joyful experience, and that a mature person will see me as a whole person, and not objectify me, no matter what I'm wearing/doing.
Aug 29, 2012
 
RebelReggaeDancer
I'm the country and can't drive so I get lonely. This gives me a way to feel like I have a partner doing it with me.
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