Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Children Pole Dancing?

A recent article has ignited another fire storm surrounding pole dancing.  I will post the article, some Facebook comments, then I will give you my two cents.

Outrage as girls as young as SEVEN are given pole dancing lessons - and pictures are posted on gym's Facebook page

Last updated at 7:51 PM on 26th July 2011

Girls as young as seven are being offered pole dancing lessons at a gym  - and pictures of their moves have been posted on Facebook.
Parents and councillors have raised concerned for the safety of the girls after JLN Pole Fitness in Bolton, Greater Manchester, put the images online.
The instructor at the dance studio said the classes are fun, good exercise and do not teach their children anything erotic.
Kate Eaton, 33, from Harwood, takes her daughter Jen to the classes. She said: 'Jen had her seventh birthday party there with her friends. She loves it.
'I do not have a problem with it at all. It is nothing to do with lap dancing, it is gymnastics. It is not in the slightest bit sexual.
'I have put pictures of her on Facebook because she wants people to see what she can do. We wear short shorts and vest tops so we can grip the pole and they are not performing in front of anyone.
'If she was doing gymnastics in a leotard or at a swimming gala in a costume, anyone could be watching and people don't complain about that.'
Jess Leanne Norris, 18, who runs the classes, said: 'What I teach is pole fitness, nothing else. I have never received any complaints.
'There is nothing at all rude going on at JLN. I have had nothing but support, it is an art. We only put pictures on Facebook with parents' consent. It is nothing inappropriate.'
Concerns have been raised about the nature of the photographs being posted online.
Cllr Nick Peel, Executive Member for Children's Services, said: 'In general, parents and organisations need to be careful about publishing photos of children on the internet. It is unsafe and people trawl the internet looking for things like this.
'On the one hand, I don't want to jump to conclusions, but on the other, it is a dangerous world on the internet when it comes to children and people need to be aware of the situation they can be putting children into quite innocently.'
One mother, who asked not to be named, said: 'This concerns me greatly as I would not want my 13-year-old wandering round in hotpants and hanging upside down. 
'They advertise as being aerobics/gymnastics with a pole but if you see the pictures, you will see this is not the case. These pictures are also being posted across Facebook and this just invites child grooming.'
A dance teacher, who also wished to remain anonymous, added: 'I think there has got to be a line that should not be crossed with children.
'Children want to do it and some parents will let them do it, but it could damage their developing bodies and that might not show now.'
Another pole dancing school Northern Pole Divas, in nearby Horwich, also offers pole dancing for children aged 14 and older.
Owner Carren Bell said: 'Parents come and sign consent forms. It is not a pole dancing class, it is a pole exercise class.
'It is a regulated environment, I am fully insured and CRB-checked. They are not being put at risk. But some parents and dance teachers feel the classes are "inappropriate".'
Julie Hilling, Labour MP for Bolton West and a former local authority youth worker, said: 'There’s already too much sexualisation of children in our society.
'Pole dancing does have a very poor reputation but I know there are people running classes round here that could change that.
'As long as it’s done purely as exercise and not sexualising children in any way then I don’t have a problem with it.
'But I think you have to be very careful, and I think I’d have to actually see it for myself to say more about it.'


Comments from the Dr. Laura Berman show Facebook page:

Would you let your young son or daughter take pole dancing lessons?
Leanne Norris, 18, (pictured) who runs the classes at JLN Pole Fitness in Bolton, Greater Manchester said that pole dancing is an 'art'.
46 minutes ago · · ·
    • Heriberto Flores NO!!! NO!!!!! NO!!!!!!!
      46 minutes ago ·
    • Cathy Blum Heape Not no, but hell no!
      44 minutes ago · · 2 people
    • Amy Anderson uh... no.
      44 minutes ago ·
    • Manmeet Kaur Rattu yea why not. its the same thing as twirling on the poles on the playground. Only if u have a "dirty mind lens" on will u think of it in a sexual way. Some ppl r weird and need to get over it.
      44 minutes ago · · 1 person
    • Stacey Adams no way in hell! they say it's like gymanstics, so go put your daughter in gymnastics! not pole dancing!
      43 minutes ago · · 3 people
    • Liz Daley-Giauque Lets just add child pole dancing to the list of entertainment for pedophiles!!seriously NO
      39 minutes ago ·
    • Apryl Busman-Schnicke Nope not until she was married...
      37 minutes ago ·
    • Missie Howard Hebert Ummm no..... Girls don't need pole lessons to become skanks...... they learn to do that on their own for free.
      34 minutes ago ·
    • Tina Moore Douglas No way..Hell no!!!
      31 minutes ago ·
    • Ashlie Trussell thats disgusting. you have to be 18 to be a stripper, uhm excuse me, exotic dancer, for a reason.
      30 minutes ago ·
    • Beth Simpson hell no!!!! people say that it is just for excerise, well then enroll your child in gymnastics, or dance classes, not twirling up and down a pole, its great for adults but not children, why does society and parents push our daughters to far now days!
      25 minutes ago ·
    • Lindi Ramey No. My neices' step mom is a pole dance instructor and while I think it is a great way to get in shape..there is nothing at all ok about seeing a 8 year old swingin on a stripper pole. You can say pole dancing, whatever helps you sleep at night, but when it is a child, it is a STRIPPER POLE. Not okay. I think it provides to much potential for early sexualization and we have already had issues of my neice being innapropriate by trying to make out with boys on the bus and as far as trying to get other kids to touch her. I dont see how normalizing a thing that has such sexual stigma attatched to it, is healthy. I think it is disgusting to try to make it okay for kids...
      19 minutes ago ·
    • Lynn Shrewsberry Bodai Absolutely not!!
      19 minutes ago ·
    • Lori Lolorashel Myers Wow, just because you are exercising on a pole doesn't mean you're stripping. If it was boys doing Chinese pole acrobatics, would you all have nasty things to say?
      4 minutes ago ·

So, here's what I think:
I support this pole studio.  I have actually suggested to Bel that she think about offering a pole/acrobatics class for teens in the studio (with their moms in attendance at all times, of course).  

I do agree that pole dancing has a sensual undertone that is not generally appropriate for children (bikinis and six inch stilettos probably aren't what you want to see your 7 year old daughter wearing).  I also recognize that in an era of Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, little girls are growing up too fast...trying to wear make-up, low cut tops and high heels (and they love to emulate the women they admire).  However, I feel like pole dancing is not too far off from gymnastics or other forms of exercise or dance for children.  If taught in the appropriate way, it CAN be fine for children.  Like I said above on the Facebook posting, if it was sold to boys as Chinese acrobatics, people most likely would not say a word.  So I guess it is all in how you package it.  
For myself, I mostly dance barefoot and enjoy putting on wigs, tutus, playing dress up, acting silly and having fun.  Although I can and have danced sensually and sexually.  I have also danced in ways I could absolutely show my friends' younger daughters without embarrassment or concern.  It comes down to what your beliefs are and how you raise your own child.  If you don't think it's appropriate for your daughter, that is fine but don't push your beliefs on everyone else.

How do you feel about it? 


  1. I have a pole at the house and a 4 yr old - I have no problem with her playing with it or learning stuff .... however, I would NOT be posting pictures of her on the internet

    ~ sam

  2. I do not see the problem with it. To many people being prudes in a society that clearly has no respect for its personal freedoms. Pedophiles get off on ANY picture of little kids. No one is going to hide photos of their children just because of Paranoia. I say let them enjoy Pole Fitness. There's nothing wrong with it, and its not going to make little girls become 'Strippers'. If girls can enjoy Gymnastics then they can physically be healthy and develop normally while learning Aerial Arts...Because yes that's what Pole is, an Aerial art, the same as Silks, Lyra, and many other arts. If you would for a minute think of it as training for say Cirque? Would you mind it so very much? It is a sport unfairly stigmatized due to 'Stripping'. There is nothing wrong with Exotic Dancing. It would be so very wrong to start any kind of sexual repression or Sexual Prohibition. So lets not start a Witch hunt where there need not be one.

  3. There are people who put their 2 year olds in full makeup, dye their hair, wax them, put them in high heels, etc to prance around at pageants... but it's not okay for them to do what is essentially gymnastics on a pole in a closed environment? The "sexiness" factor is something that can be added to almost anything if you put your mind to it.. It is just society that deems poles bad because of strippers. So I guess if strippers start dancing on other things, like idk, square boxes...? Are those going to be considered obscene as well in a few years? What makes a pole inappropriate is what is being done on it, just like pretty much anything else. I guess these people don't let their kids sleep in beds since people do MUCH worse things on those, lol...

  4. My son has been doing pole since he was born, he is now seven. He has no sexual ideas of pole....most of the time he is just annoyed that I am spending time at my studio. He is a great climber, and trickster! My daughter, who is two can hold herself on the pole-pretty impressive... she loves it that people think she is amazing but what kid doesn't love that? Since I own PoleMoves and do certifications internationally, I get to see what innovative studio owners do around the world! There are classes, like TadPoles...in Colorado and Pole Monkeys in Naperville. This is all just wonderful and expected. Pole doesn't have to be sexual...it can be, and that is fine. But it has great depth to include everyone...just like yoga (yoga can be very spiritual or it can be very athletic). It is all good!

    1. I think that is awesome. I also believe that, as this generation grows up watching their moms pole dance, the stigma will lessen. :) I won a certification gift certificate from you. I have to get on your website and figure out when I can come visit LA. :-D