Let’s straighten a few things out here, because I know there are so many opinions on this out there and I want to throw in my two cents.
I am a dancer, and my chosen medium is a pole. The pole is simply an apparatus. There is nothing inherently sexual about a steel pipe. Sometimes it’s used to display crazy acrobatic or athletic skills, sometimes to perform artistic aerial dance, sometimes as something to hold onto when you are pussy poppin up in the club in your Wet Seal’s finest or whatever. It’s just a pole.
Strippers also use poles sometimes. No, I’m not one. At no point in my dancing do I remove my clothing for money, and yeah, it’s really annoying constantly being referred to as one because it just isn’t what I do.
That said, I really hate when I see fellow pole dancers decry strippers. I know how tiring it is trying to deal with ignorant idiots who can’t separate performing dance or gymnastics on a vertical appratus from dancing naked for a living, but we really need to be respectful of its origins and the girls who have helped make the sport into what it is today. Pole dancing, in its current state, draws from many of forms of dance and acrobatics, but you can’t deny that it also has roots in the strip clubs with many exotic dancers being pioneers in the industry.
This is part of the reason I don’t like the movement that wants pole dancers to clean up their acts, to stop with the body rolls and the 8 inch glitter platforms and the suggestive floorwork, in the name of “elevating” our art form into mainstream acceptance or whatever. Like it or not, this is where pole dancing started. It has evolved like crazy in recent years, but it’s undeniable that pole has a history in the sex industry. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Sex is part of human nature. Many, many, MANY forms of not only dance but art in general draw on displays of sexuality and sensuality. It’s nothing new and it isn’t going to go away.
If grinding up and down on a pole in a thong isn’t for you, that’s fine, but we don’t need to take that away from others nor do we need to completely cover up and sterilize anything vaguely sexual in our dance. One of the best things about pole is the versatility of the apparatus, and there’s room for all of us, whether we are athletes, dancers, artists, and yes, strippers. And I’d go so far as to say there is a little of each in all of us. Sometimes all I want to do is try to hold an Iron X forever or climb the pole with no legs, sometimes I want to create graceful transitions on the pole, sometimes I want to put on stupid-high heels and fishnets and roll around on the floor. Nothing wrong with any of that, and I would hate to see any aspect of pole ousted for the sake of some people not liking it.
[I’d also like to say I have nothing but respect for strippers. Being involved in this industry has introduced me to some of the most appalling displays of sexism I’ve ever seen and really opened my eyes as far as what these women do and deal with. (On a more positive note, the poling community is probably one of the most supportive, female-friendly, empowering movements I have seen and been involved in.. but this whole aside is a topic for another time. I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS)]