I wrote these words as a reply to Claire Griffin Sterrett’s blog post: The Pole: What Does It Really Stand For Anyway? When I hit enter, I almost lost my comments because they didn’t post. With some back tracking, I recovered them. Whew!
Thoughtful and well written, as usual, Claire.
I’d rather not see pole de-stigmatized because I like that it provokes. I like that it can force people to confront their reactions and assumptions regarding stripping and sexuality. I’d much rather de-stigmatize sexuality, sensuality and stripping in our culture, especially for women, but for men too. And I think pole dancing, pole fitness, pole competitions (pole in ALL its forms), sensual movement, ecstatic dance, burlesque, etc. help our culture do that.
We all have needs for sex, eroticism, passion and sensuality. We possess basic survival drives that need satisfying. Hunger with food. Thirst with water. Tiredness with rest. And lust with sex. In fact, the lack of meeting these needs is partly responsible for addictions and other unhealthy behaviors that lead to many of the chronic diseases crippling our health care system and robbing us of long, vibrant, fully functional lives.
I support pole dancing in all its forms, just like I support all kinds of dance. The industry is so young. It makes sense that sub-categories will exist, just like with dance, yoga and other forms of movement. Different styles will appeal to people with different preferences and skills. I have friends combining burlesque with pole. Acro-yoga with pole. Tango with pole. It’s an exciting and inventive time.
Finally, to answer your question, Claire, “what is pole to me?” Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote in December answering that:
The main reason I pole dance is to discover, express and deepen my connection to my wild woman. To fully integrate my sexy, sensual feminine self into my daily life. I keep this favorite photo on my dresser to inspire me because it captures this wild feminine essence.