“Will you meet me and do something for me? … Need fun. I will offer if you do… Do you know what I mean babes and would you consider doin’ it please?”
So, what entitles a stranger to message such things … to anyone? Who do they think they’re conversing with and what do they think the outcome will be? “Oh yes, I don’t know you but come to my home and I will dance provocatively for you as you are the most amazing, manly and gorgeous man in the whole world. How could I possibly resist…? Why would I not want to stroke your ego?”
These types of ‘requests’ are obviously highly inappropriate and unwarranted from, and to, anybody. Furthermore, do these trolls think they are dealing with a submissive, insecure, weak-minded female, rather than an empowered, confident, kick-ass pole ninja? If the intention is to praise and compliment these ladies for their independence and strength (of body and mind), that’s one thing; if it’s to harass, embarrass or judge … well you can stick your comments and opinions up the proverbial.
Speaking of judgement: If a talented group of ladies were to spend A LOT of time, energy, effort and their own money training in order to display their amazing skills and provide an impressive and entertaining spectacle whilst raising THOUSANDS of pounds for charity, would your immediate response be, ‘Dirty tramps’? If an educated, intelligent, professional woman were to use what precious and little free time she has to squeeze in rehearsals, organise music, venues and costumes, ultimately boosting the self-esteem, fitness and confidence of many young women, would your automatic response be to ask for titillating favours from said woman?
It is not the participants of pole classes, burlesque or floor work that should face judgement; it says more about the ‘judger’ and their issues, insecurities and ignorance.
I know that there are still misconceptions about what pole fitness/ dance actually is and I am aware that it has a certain ‘history’ and does take many forms; but that is irrelevant. In 2018, one hundred years after suffragettes fought tirelessly to bring women even slightly closer to equality, I am still perturbed as to the small-minded, sexist and ignorant views of some. I am baffled by the paradox of believing that women are dancing (i.e. developing their fitness and well-being) to please and entice, yet contradictorily shaming such females and vitriolically using derogatory terms. How does this make sense in any society, never mind in this current climate of heightened awareness, tackling gender pay gaps, and press, media and celebrities shining the spotlight on equality issues and power struggles?
What do Puggles (my newly coined word for non-polers – think ‘Harry Potter’!) envisage happens inside a pole studio…? Us polers/ non-puggles, know that the reality is: Comparing bruises; to Arnica or not to Arnica?; laughing about shoulder-mount bruises versus love bites(!); clouds of chalk dust in the air (and on bottoms, clothes, the floor, steering wheel…); watching ‘Bambi’ clamber to the pole in 7 inch heels (PVC boots for grip purposes); lots of water bottles (because poling is very thirsty work); trying to combat sweaty palms; fretting about unshaved body parts, and last, but not least, women, of various ages, abilities, shapes, sizes and backgrounds, high-fiving, cheering and metaphorically and literally helping comrades up the pole. Just as a sleep-over does not consist of women pillow-fighting in their underwear (most don’t anyway!), a pole studio is not filled with females practising their seduction technique. By the way, the boots, shorts and crop tops are adorned for merely practical purposes: grip, grip, grip. A female attends pole class for HERSELF. This is an environment where women train hard, support one another and learn to love their bodies.
If someone seeks to belittle, shame, judge; make assumptions, criticisms or lewd comments; or ‘befriend’ a proud poler for misconceived reasons – picture an empowered goddess; a Wonder Woman with a fistful of steel; a (possible battle-wounded) warrior… I would be very wary of who you’re messing with!
I am lucky that those who are honoured enough to know of my past-time/ obsession/ now job (kind of), have not been judgemental, but rather supportive, proud and maybe slightly amused! This is probably due to having open-minded, intelligent and knowledgeable friends and family members. Yey me! As for my privileged other half – some assume that he is delighted to have a ‘pole-dancing’ wife… Well, he is, but due to the fact that he is impressed by my photographs, brags about my ‘guns’ and sees the fun, friends and confidence it has bestowed upon me.
With pole fitness now being recognised as a sport; more and more males pursuing this activity, and due to the benefits it provides (including flexibility, coordination; improved balance, strength and muscle tone, not to mention the mental, social and emotional aspect), let’s all give these fab ladies (and gents) the respect they deserve (or they might just kick your butt)!