I Just Want To Be A Pole-Dancing Feminist
There’s two things you need to know about me.
1) I’m a feminist. It started last year when I took a course on feminism, a course I didn’t expect to enjoy, much less be able to associate with it. But as the course went on, I saw that a lot of the values I hold and the interests I have seem to line up well with feminisms. Yes, plural. I don’t really associate with any one type of feminism (ie. radical feminism, third wave feminism, etc.), but I definitely agree and disagree with parts of each.
2) I’m a pole dancer. I started pole dancing on a whim by walking into an all-female studio I had never been into before and asking if they could offer me any deals. Well, one class in and I was hooked. There’s something amazing about being free and sexy and just having fun in a studio without being objectified by men for doing it. I’m not ashamed of it, but I don’t exactly volunteer information about my hobby. Now I’m doing it three times a week, and I gotta say, it takes strength to do those moves and spins!
Some of you are probably reading this and going, “Hey wait a second, you can’t be both! Pole dancing is a slutty dance style done by strippers who have no self-respect, just so they can make money off the fact that men want to see them take their clothes off. They are flaunting their sexuality for the entertainment of men. It’s a perfect example of how men objectify women and take advantage of them. You can’t be a feminist and support such behaviour!”
See… I used to think that too. That is, until I started doing it regularly.
Pole dancing is hard. It takes an amazing amount of strength and flexibility to pull off the moves and make them look good. And more than that, it takes a lot of upper body strength, which is something that most women don’t have a lot of, [more pushups, ladies!] and don’t seem to think they need. Women at the gym usually focus on cardio and lower-body because those are the things that slim you down (which, sadly, is what society keeps telling us we need to do).
Actually, one of the best parts of pole is that you get all shapes and sizes of women out there, and they can work it! There’s no judgement in the studio, we’re just all having fun being sexy and strong. I love that we can be comfortable in our own bodies. And if you ask me, anything that makes you feel strong and happy with who you are is worth doing.
See, pole dancing isn’t about patriarchy shaping our minds to believe that we are no more than a body, no more than a child-producing reproductive machine. It’s not about the exploitation of women either, at least not here. The women in my classes are strong, independent, and smart. We have an engineer, a nurse, a teacher, and a business student (hehe). And yes, we get together regularly to work out and have some fun our poles. But no, it doesn’t mean we’ve succumbed to the pressures of men to be what they want us to be. We do this for ourselves because it makes us feel strong and confident with who we are, which is something we take outside of the studio and breathe into our everyday lives.
And if that’s not a feminist point of view, I don’t know what is.