Tuesday, September 20, 2011

U.S. Embassy Rejects Pole Dancers - Response to Pole Spin's Article

I recently read in Pole Spin Magazine that several dancers were given a hard time coming to the United States to pole dance.  I found the article intriguing, but I was a little disappointed in the tone and the message.  In an attempt to create a dialogue about the topic (because I think it's important) I posted a comment.  For whatever reason, the comment was deleted and comments were subsequently closed.  At any rate I'm curious to hear what the pole community thinks about this topic.  So please,

Click here to read the article.

And read my comment below...then let me know what you think.

I'm actually glad to hear that the Feds are on point with regards to human trafficking.  I think it's great that they are being so cautious. Yes, people still confuse pole dancing with stripping.  And it's unfortunate that these women got caught in the middle of that.  But I'm not sure how I feel about having work in a gentlemen's club referred to as "sleazy and illegal'" since that's not always the case.  And frankly, I found the tone of this article to be a bit disparaging towards the industry that gave birth to pole dancing: the strip club industry.

What this story points out is not that "we have a long way to go before the stripper association is dislodged from people's minds".  Rather, I think it points out that we still have a huge problem with human trafficking and sex slavery.  And I think that dislodging the stripper association from pole dancing will not, in the big picture, do that much to help the much bigger problem of how our culture relates to expressions of female sexuality (which in turn, contributes to problems like human trafficking and sex slavery).  And, I think it's hypocritical to look down on the women who started this movement - i.e. the strippers.  If we talk about this movement being empowering for women then we disown the very women who created it, then we are not practicing what we preach.  It's not that I don't think there is a difference between clubs and studios, stripping and pole dancing - there is.  But we don't need to make that difference apparent by putting down women who choose to dance in a different context.  It has nothing to do with the movement.  I've seen women who dance extremely sensually in competitions and performances.  Removing the sexiness from the movement is not what will change people's minds about pole dancing.  Rather, we need to educate them about the differences in the environment and the purpose of the dance when it comes to clubs and studios, and help them to get more comfortable with displays of female sensuality.


  1. I don't have much more to add to your post except to co-sign. I am a feminist, an activist, a burlesque dancer,I have done performance work around sexual abuse (including my own experience as a child) so I don't take the topic of sexual exploitation lightly. But I am definitely troubled by this idea that in order to legitimise something like pole dance one has to not only take the sex out of it but also put down the women who choose to strip or work in clubs for a living. That's not sisterly at all.

  2. I have just installed iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.