Calling out the critics to put up or shut up.

I do realize that pole dancing/fitness is still- and probably will be for some time- associated with strippers and stripping. Because I probably never would have poled if I never stripped I don’t really let it bother me that it threatens some people who are too closed minded to even know how uncomfortable in their own skin they really are. Pole dancing has become such an important part of my life that I don’t think about how taboo it is to the rest of the world until some foolishness is brought to my attention. This is usually in the form of an “expert” with some sort of “credibility” to their name, as in they are a professor or scientist/doctor with 15 letters after their name that makes them a more reputable source than someone who’s actually done the work required to know about pole/exotic fitness classes. The work meaning they’ve gone to class, repeatedly, on a regular basis and taken it beyond body waves, swiveling your hips and the basic spins you learn in the beginning. They’ve done so because they’ve crossed the line from curious to determined, from wanting to get their sexy back to wanting to get the splits so they can do that one move on the pole they saw someone else do in class or on YouTube. They have goals. They have a purpose. And hello! Since when is being sexy bad for you!?

Even in a generally positive article about “sexy fitness classes” they still need to mention the ones who assume things based on their own insecurities.

*Detractors say the classes, though, can objectify women because they’re based on the idea of pleasing men.

Barbara Osborne, an associate professor of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, questions the societal value of sexy workouts because they put a positive twist on “behaviors that have traditionally harmed women.”

“Because the classes are tied to sexual performance, it still perpetuates woman as sex object rather than woman as strong, competent, empowered,” she said.

Spoken like someone who doesn’t like their object and hasn’t got the stones to explore what threatens them. Sounds harsh? Sometimes the truth is. But at a certain point you have to ask yourself the ultimate question: are you offended by it, or are you afraid of it? It’s easier to put something down and saying it’s “based on pleasing men,” and “behaviors that have harmed women” than to admit that this new realm scares them. Where are they even getting their information from anyway? Since when does making ones own money harm a woman? Who says these classes are tied to sexual performance besides someone who has never taken one? I did not spend fours years trying to get flag/Iron X for a man. I did not spend two years stretching my body so I could get the spatchcock for a man. I did that all for me and I will thank you for acknowledging my accomplishments.

Oh, and one more thing, no stripper gives a flip about pleasing men, it’s about making money. The goal, the objective, the point, the reason for being in a strip club for a stripper is to make money, not to please men. There is no way to understand that unless you live it by working as a stripper, for money because you need it to get your bills paid.

I’m not going to say that some ladies don’t walk through the door looking to spice up their bedroom and yes that could be done to please a man. (Or other woman, we don’t really get into people’s sexuality because we don’t really feel the need to be in everyone else’s bedroom.) Is their really something wrong with a woman in a committed relationship doing something her partner might find sexy? And who’s business is it what her motivation for walking through those doors is?

Since we’ve established that anyone can begin any type of fitness regimen for any reason without having to justify their motivations we have to look at the pole fitness industry itself and question if it is trying to “put a positive twist” on those “behaviors that have harmed women.” If you are wondering I can tell you as an instructor we are not. First we don’t see stripping as a behavior that is harmful to women, I would say that is a little extreme. That doesn’t mean I encourage women to get into the adult entertainment industry either. Most reputable pole fitness studios such as the one I work for do not allow it’s employees to encourage entry in the what they refer to as “the business”. While I would never tell anyone what to do I would never make it seem like it’s such a fun ride they should get into it. There are many more ways for a woman to feel empowered than getting into the adult entertainment industry. There are things you don’t know about life until you cross that line but not everyone needs to know those things. This is why people say “to each their own.”

So then, what is my motivation when I am up there on that pole? What am I doing in a room full of women hanging upside down on a metal rod attached from floor to ceiling? I’m teaching pole! Pole fitness classes are actually a mix of cardio and weight training due to the fact that dancing itself is an aerobic workout and one has to lift one’s own body weight to perform certain moves . Do you really think that it’s not empowering to be in an iron X position? And do you really think that when a woman is in that position she cares about whether someone, anyone, thinks she’s sexy? I can tell you I don’t. If just one of these detractors even knew what an Iron X is they might have some more credibility. I mean, learn something. Do some research, commit and take a series of classes. Watch more than just a video of Britney Spears on a pole on YouTube, educate yourself on what someone could do on a pole if they had enough time, commitment and motivation. No, you are not going to do iron X on your first day unless you are already some sort of weight training gymnastic background having super-athlete. During the four years it took me to get Iron X there were 20 some other poses and holds I learned. Building blocks. One must start with basics and build your strength and coordination until you are strong enough or flexible enough to complete your goal pose. Then move on to the next pose. Some of that may include moves that some man might find sexy. That’s not my problem. I only concern myself with what one man thinks and most of the time he’s not home when I’m practicing. Should he happen to be home he usually takes my practice time as his time to shoot things on the TV.

* Amusing excerpt from article titled: Sexy fitness classes help distract from boring workout By Lisa A. Flam  TODAY.com contributor updated 10/18/2011 8:48:31 AM ET

 

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