Pole at the Olympics and the debate that follows

*Reader warning* if you’re about to embark on reading this blog you may want to set yourself up with some snacks, stick the kettle on and get yourself a cuppa, because your favourite gobby cow has a hell of a lot to say on the matter. So sit down and strap yourself in, because I’m about to go off on one.

In case you’ve been hibernating for the past week and cut all ties you have to TV and social media (which sounds like fucking heaven if I’m going to be honest) then you’ll know that our beloved hobby Pole Dancing has been splattered all over the news, both on the TV, internet and radio, as it has now been provisionally recognised as a sport by the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) as a result of the extensive campaigning by the International Pole Sports Federation. To say that this decision to provisionally recognise pole as a sport has caused controversy is a fucking understatement to say the least, so I’m writing this blog to set the record straight on the matter once and for all. And before anyone starts with “what do you know? You’re not a professional dancer or a sports woman?” I’d like to speak to all of us amateur polers here, as we are as much entitled to an opinion as anyone else.

First off I would like to start this blog by congratulating all the folk out there who practice pole fitness. Pole being provisionally recognised as a sport with the potential to one day being an Olympic event is big news for you and if I was a pole fitness person, I would probably be jumping for joy. There are many hugely talented pole fitness folk out there who would absolutely smash it at the Olympics and I want nothing more than to see you up on the podium with medals round your neck after kicking some serious ass. Straight up there is no hate here from me and no sarcasm either, I am genuinely happy for the pole fitness folk.

As stated before, as much as I appreciate and enjoy watching fitness based performances I do not class myself as a fitness based poler, I am a pole DANCER.

I was explaining to colleagues in my muggle job the other day how I see Pole collectively as in the same way as I do pizza. I fucking love it, it comes in a variety of different flavours for different people but essentially it has common themes and elements that transcend across the collective. Whether you practice pole fitness or dance, you learn the same moves, Butterflies, Geminis Allegras etc but the style in which you execute them is different. It’s the same with pizza. Essentially, it’s a wonderful, carb filled delight with a cheese and tomato based sauce, however the toppings you choose to include on said pizza are what define it and give it its unique twist.

Therefore, I have been pissed off, upset and really REALLY disappointed with the amount of shaming and ostracising of the pole dance and stripper style dancers I have seen rearing its ugly head this week.

First off, seriously can all you non-polers out there, who have for some fucking idiotic reason decided to criticise pole when you know bugger all about it sit down and shut up? I’ve seen the comments sections on many pole related articles this week that are full of shit and are attacking everyone in the community. “Oh might as well put dog walking in the Olympics next” “Stupid idea it’s not a sport at all” and various other uninformed bullshit has come to my attention. You know nothing about pole, are making yourself look foolish and need to simmer down. I know sod all about Golf, Cricket and Rugby, so you know what I don’t do? I don’t take to social media and pretend to be a fucking expert on them. I’ve even had the displeasure of reading entire articles by these stupid cunts thinking they can use their platforms to belittle our beloved pole. I’m not going to even name names, because I don’t want to give these shoddy “journalists” any extra publicity, but congratulations, you’re a dickhead.

This unfortunately brings me on to the unfortunate issue of pseudo “feminists” (who seriously have no idea what feminism actually means) who have gone off on one this week. My best friend, who is an amazingly talented pole dancer, had the displeasure of meeting a woman this week who said she “wouldn’t be seen dead doing pole because it objectifies women and is designed to please men.” Seriously?

Shut up

First off, feminism is about women having the power to do what they want, so no self-respecting “feminist” would ever try to dictate to another woman what she can and cannot do with her body. Also, you have no fucking idea just how powerful and empowering pole dancing is. Pole dance has literally given me the confidence to achieve things in my life that the pre-pole Eilish thought were just pipe dreams, like entering competitions and performing on my own in front of a live audience and actually enjoying it! In my weekly pole class and practice sessions, I see women and men (because feminism is straight up about equality too) motivating, supporting and empowering one another to conquer their own pole goals, if that’s not the very ethos of what true feminism is about then I don’t know what is.

Now, the third and final rant I have here is probably the most disheartening. Muggles with little to no knowledge of pole you come to expect silly judgments from, but when it comes from members of the pole community itself, that’s a whole different ball game. I’ve seen a few comments from polers trying to quickly distance themselves from the Exotic, Classique and Stripper style polers when describing pole to people in order to somewhat validate pole, which is unkind. You can go around saying pole started in the year 367 BC in India all you want, but it was the strippers and dancers of the 80’s and 90’s who appeared in the many hip-hop, rock and metal videos that helped to thrust our art into the mainstream and is how I gained exposure to pole. For goodness sake it’s 2017 and I’m legit having to write that sex work is still work. Celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence who nonchalantly like to shame strippers and the more dance orientated styles of pole don’t help the matter but come on now, we as a community are better than that. The Pole community must unite and support all of our members and ALL the many wonderful styles of pole there are out there, ranging from hardcore, fitness pole right through to the filthiest, twerkiest stripper routines with enough shoe bangs to deafen the audience. I bloody love Exotic and Stripper Style and that will always be my go to style of dance, however I sure as fuck am not going to run about bashing the fitness polers at all! There is ample room for ALL styles of pole in our community.

Christ alive if you have made it to the end of this post well done, it has turned into quite the essay! Overall, I guess what I’m trying to say is yay for the exposure that pole being recognised as a sport has given our wonderful past time and I’m honestly happy for the fitness polers out there (start getting your routines ready gang!) but we categorically must embrace and love and NOT shame and alienate the dance and stripper styles of pole just because it’s not something that is going to be taken (and nor do we want it to be taken) to the Olympics. I’m pretty confident that if the pole community truly united, strippers, gymnasts and stripper-gymnasts alike, we would be an unstoppable force. Unite and conquer!

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