Friday, January 13, 2012
The "stripper" versus "pole dancer" debate
So one of the questions I have asked in the past of my blog interviewees is what they think about the "stripper vs. pole fitness debate." It is clear that some people are very comfortable with pole dancing being associated with stripping and/or their sexuality (and sensuality?? I think I need to do a little soul searching to make sure I truly understand the difference between those words!!). It is also clear that some people are trying to distance themselves and talk about the fitness, acrobatic and strength side of pole fitness.
Does it mean that strippers or pole dancers aren't also into pole fitness?
Here are a couple of my past posts on the subject:
I feel like I have been caught with my pants down on occasion on this subject. Not because I haven't chosen a side, but because I don't HAVE a side. I have never stripped but I am not against strippers. However, at the same time, clearly society's negative view of stripping occasionally may creep into my words because some people have taken things I have written as negative comments against strippers.
Example: I wrote this blog for The Pole Dancing Shop: http://www.thepoledancingshop.com/pole-dancing-and-your-significant-other/#.TxBrtIHnuSo
The post is about presenting your decision to begin pole dancing to a partner who may be concerned or jealous. My comment was: "If they are stuck on the 'stripper thing,' try to move past it by saying that you have no intentions of becoming a stripper, and that this adventure is about you finding your sexy side and building your own confidence." One person ripped the post for being anti-stripper. I felt bad because that wasn't my intention but it is certainly true that a lot of people in society associate pole dancing with stripping and that can cause a problem in some relationships. I am not making a judgment about whether it is wrong or right, but it is what it is.
I tried to make amends by writing another post for The Pole Dancing Shop: http://www.thepoledancingshop.com/a-brief-history-of-pole-dance/#.TxBqJ4HnuSo
In it, I included my very favorite quote from Claire of The Pole Story: "If for some reason, the idea of your dancing being connected to the strip club scene is upsetting to you, if you desperately need to distance what you do from what those 'other girls' do, if you truly believe that you are doing this because it’s just a really good workout, then I strongly suggest you spend some time thinking about why you chose pole dancing. Because there are a million ways to get fit without putting on six inch stilettos, a bikini and swinging sensually around a pole." So then some of the anti-stripper people jumped in to comment that they were different from strippers because they didn't take their clothes off.
*sigh* I just can't win so I should stop while I'm ahead.
Then last night I read Michelle Shimmy's first blog post about having thick skin: http://shimmypolediary.blogspot.com/2012/01/first-blog-ever-thick-skin.html
One thing I took away from the post was that I cannot make everyone happy all of the time (of which I was aware but clearly needed to be reminded). But this quote in particular struck a chord in me: It's completely normal that not everyone will like what you do. As the pole movement gains momentum, and new skills are created, it's going to get harder and harder to impress people. People will become more discerning, and competitive. Sometimes, people will comment on other people's style of dance as a way of defining their own style. An example of this is a traditional "sexy" pole dancer saying she doesn't like contemporary pole, or a former ballerina saying she hates body rolls and hair flicks. What they're really saying is that they've adopted a particular style as their favourite way to pole dance, to the exclusion of other styles. That's ok too - there's room enough in the pole world for many different ways of pole dancing, and it's quite exciting to see new styles develop and change.
She's right! There is room for EVERY kind of style. You can be a pole dancer, an aerial artist, a pole fitness fanatic, or a stripper...whatever you want! You can love to dance to classical music or hard rock music. You can focus on amazing tricks or sexy floor work. You can do whatever you want because THAT is the beauty of ART. Dance is art. And you are the artist. Your art may not be beautiful to someone else, but as long as you're happy, that is all that matters.
Until next time, lovelies, happy twirling!