Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ummmm....I'm a Pole ARTIST

Continuing with the pole dancer versus stripper debate...  Get caught up here:

A couple of weeks ago, Twirly Girls were part of a local radio show's live event [].  Going into the event, I knew the "stripper thing" was going to come up.  The general public associates pole dancing with stripping.  As we know, one can mean the other.  But it doesn't have to.  I warned the girls that the topic would most likely come up.  I figured it would be mostly in good fun since Sarah and Vinnie have an entertainment show to put on.  It did come up and the S&V show felt like one of our girls in particular was a little bitter in her response.  I didn't think she actually came across bitter or mad, but I know her and they don't, so maybe that's why the disconnect happened.  Either way...on the radio a day or two later, they made the point that we are all swinging on a stripper pole, so we shouldn't be that shocked when the subject came up.  

In my mind, they are right.

Are you a stripper?  A pole dancer?  A pole fitness enthusiast?  A pole artist?  There are many names for what we do.  And there's nothing wrong with being any one of those things, or all of them.  But when someone says to you, "oh you pole dance?!"  Are you the first to say, "but I'm not a stripper!"?

Now this is where I get stuck.  If someone comes at me with the whole, "oooh, so you're a stripper, right?" thing, I usually respond with, "If I had a nicer body and a little more rhythm, I'd definitely consider it!"  But I also grew up in a religious home where acting out and being a little naughty held some appeal.  I've also spent many years learning how to ignore those who tried to make me feel bad about myself or guilty for things that I do.  I sometimes forget not everyone has had that kind of life training. 

I don't want to disconnect from my pole community either.  If it is offensive to some to be called a stripper, am I belittling them by telling them to get over it?  On the other hand, do we owe it to the "pole fitness" community to explain to the general public that there is a bit of a difference between stripping for dollars and taking classes at a pole fitness studio?  Granted, I like working out and feeling stronger but I really enjoy putting on "stripper heels" and cute clothes too.  

In my mind, I say, take me or leave me...I owe you no explanation for anything I do or say.  However, I feel like some of my pole sisters may feel like I am not hearing them or taking their feelings into account. 

At the end of the day, regardless of the words we use to describe what we do, we're still doing it -- swinging around a pole.  And, it's like some of us are almost waiting for the fight...waiting for that outsider to bring up pole dancing, daring them to call us a stripper, so we can attack and explain that we are pole artistes!  We should not be ashamed of what we do.  I feel like if we make excuses and try to distance ourselves from stripping, it almost becomes, "we doth protest too much..."   

It seems like a lot of the negativity and disharmony comes from WITHIN our own pole dancing community. Some spend so much time debating the words we should use to describe what we do -- and even more time judging other dancers in the industry.  I think we need to first band together, then we can worry about what the outsiders think.

At the end of the day, a person who will judge you for pole dancing, doesn't care if you're a stripper or not.  They will judge you the same.  So why not hold your head high and proudly proclaim:  YES, I AM A POLE DANCER [or insert your favorite term here]!  That's what I plan to do. 

1 comment:

  1. Pole fitness, pole dancers, pole diva' doesn't matter. Those who want to look down on it will do so no matter what it calls. In the near future this will all change. Most of the bigger Pole Certifications are now being endorsed by National Fitness organizations such as ACE (American Council on Exercise), AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Ass. of America) and they are offering CEU's for fitness trainers. (Continuing Education Credits). All Certified trainers must keep up a certain amount of CEU's to maintain their certs. As a personal and group exercise instructor I can now take a Pole Cert. and receive some of the needed credits I need. This will push the Pole world into the fitness world. As with all things...we just need to be patient. My trick when someone seems alittle negative about pole...I pull up Natasha Wang on a video...They always...and I mean always...are in AWE....and then had no idea...