If you’re my mother, stop reading this right now. Because it’s about pole dancing.
I recently joined a women-only gym. It’s nice. It’s clean. There are no boys. That’s probably why it’s so clean. Tonight, the gym held an open house to inform its members of all the great things going on—classes, promotions, etc.—in the hopes that its members would bring friends with them who, in turn, would become members.
It offered 2-for-1 memberships, discounts on spa services and new personal training packages. There were tables covered in jewelry and workout gear for visitors to browse through. There was food. Healthy food, of course. Guests also received the chance to try new classes. Classes like belly dancing, Zumba and pole dancing. That’s right. Pole dancing.
I was cycling away when women dressed in black began carrying pieces-parts into the studio. Parts of a platform and a pole. A giant brass pole.
Now, the pole-dancing workout has been around for a while. 2003, I think. And I don’t mean the art or science of pole dancing. I mean strictly pole dancing as a method for increasing one’s fitness level. I believe its other use has been around for many, many, many years. And, no, I haven’t tried it. The fitness workout OR the career. It’s simply one workout that I haven’t quite felt comfortable adding to my routine. Not because I’m shy and without a confident demeanor. But, mostly because I equate pole dancing with, um, strip clubs.
I find it fascinating that an activity long-associated with female degradation is being touted as an amazing workout AND is not only taught in classes but is the foundation for entire studios like Aradia Fitness. Aradia claims to be the first Pole Dancing for Fitness Studio in Canada and offers instructor training programs in the U.S.
I understand that it’s important for women to have self confidence, for women to have self esteem, and for women to be able to hold their heads up high. It’s important for women to feel really good about themselves. But, by teaching them to wrap their bodies around a pole in an overtly sexual manner? Surely there are better ways.
I do enjoy Aradia Fitness’ description of its Mental and Spiritual Benefits:
Aradia Fitness has taught thousands of women nationwide and intends to unleash that sexy, confident, beautiful, woman inside of you! Besides learning sexy dance and fitness moves, you will also come in contact with a growing community of fabulous, like-minded powerful women who, by getting in touch with their sexy side, are changing and empowering their lives. We offer this to you in a fun, safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment where we are all different ages and sizes. There is no nudity, just bring your smile and sense of humour. Classes and parties are taught by women just like you!
Translation: “Come to class! We’ll show you how to make moves on a shiny pole in a manner that won’t be awkward or bizarre or cause people to look at you strangely because, let’s face it, it’s kinda weird, and we’ll all look very weird doing it, and hopefully, at the same time, you will drop weight while trying to stay on the pole while hanging upside-down and gain a new, sexier confidence that will ooze out of your pores and soon all of your friends, and family members, too, will want to give pole-dancing a try.”
What a sign of the times. Pole dancing offered at the gym nearest you. Pretend to be a stripper. Burn calories.
Who would have thought?
Perhaps I should have brought my mom as my guest.
[Note: Without a doubt pole-dancing workouts, for some, may be the only form of physical activity that they find enjoyable. Good for them. They ARE being physically active, and that is nothing to turn my nose up at. You simply won’t find me sashaying around a giant brass pole. Even if it does burn calories.]