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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Strip/Pole Dancing Classes

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Author Topic: Strip/Pole Dancing Classes
Beach Girl
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What do you guys think of the classes offered now that teach stripper moves and pole dancing primarily as a form of exercise? I am taking a class called Cardio Stripfit right now where we learn stripper moves as well as do some aerobics. I find it really fun and physically challenging and it is not as though I plan on performing these moves for the world. However, some people find the classes demeaning. Just wondering what you guys have to say about it...
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Light
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I think that you should be able to take the class if you want. I am sure some people will put their skills to use in their personal sex lives. If someone finds the class demeaning, they should just not take it!
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marie45
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Well i think that it is pretty cool to offer a classed like that because it will make more people exercise and it sounds like fun and even if you were planning in doing it in your life then thats everyones rights but i have looked for classes like that around here and i cant find one i think it would ve really fool to try out!!!

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Brittany

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muisy
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ya it sounds cool, and if ya don't like it don't sign up. i never actually thought of it as a form of exercise before so it sounds interesting, but i see that working.
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Gumdrop Girl
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i'm just miffed 'cause they put this class in the time slot my abs class used to occupy. the gym doesn't even have poles!

but corporate gyms are all about trends anyway. i'm just not that impressed. i'll stick to the treadmill and weightroom.

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Gwaihir
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This just makes me sigh and shake my head sadly. It's everyone's right and choice whether they want to learn stripper moves and pole dancing, but you should always keep in mind that this is a harmful product of the patriarchy. Until women have full ownership of their sexualities (IE: where their sexiness, desirability, readiness to have sex, etc is NOT defined by men) I wouldn't have a problem with pole-dancing.

These are just my personal feelings and though I wouldn't say it's demeaning to you personally (if you're in it for the excersize I can see how that would be fun. Pole dancing sounds pretty physically challenging to me) . . . just don't make the mistake of thinking that it's liberating, or something like that.

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wobblyheadedjane
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When this pole-dancing tread came about, I remember the time I took a belly-dancing course (great fun, and HOLY COW, what a workout.) At the very beginning of the class, we had a half-hour explanation of the history of belly dancing, and how it was a women's dance, meant for women - it enhanced fertility, celebrated woman's place in the universe, and gave women a channel to the divine through their bodies. At the end of the lessons, we had a routine that we could perform for family and friends - the caveat being no men were allowed to attend the recital, unless explicitly permitted by all members of the class and the instructor.

It was unbelievably empowering to me to have learned a highly-sexualized form of dance that celebrated ALL of me - my jiggly butt and rounded stomach was an asset and I was using it as a way to convey that all women's bodies are beautiful in the dance. I love the way I felt after every class, and the lessons I learned during it stuck with me.

Now I may use a move or two in private with my loved one, but that becomes wholly my choice, you know? I don't think the stripper classes necessarily are empowering in the same way my experience with belly dancing is because they make a heteronormative that women are learning these dances to show off for their male partners later - at least, every class of that sort I've seen advertised was advertised in such a way.

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Unlucky at cards; lucky at love.

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Gwaihir
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Ah, that's what I was trying to say about pole dancing classes, Jane! [Big Grin]
And that's so awesome that you got to take belly dancing! I've always been fascinated by that form of dance and happy that it originated as a woman's dance not soley meant for the entertainment of men.

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bettie
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When these classes first hit the gyms and then became a trend there was some discussion among me and my sex worker friends - especially those who were or had been strippers. The problem many of us have with these classes is that women outside of the sex industry get to appropriate the fun/sexiness/etc... of stripping without acknowledging or dealing with the stigma of actual sex work or stripping. In fact, many of these classes, instructors and attendees distance themselves from what the classes are based upon and the realities of sex work and stripping and that continues to encourage sex worker stigma.

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fonz
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"Until women have full ownership of their sexualities (IE: where their sexiness, desirability, readiness to have sex, etc is NOT defined by men) I wouldn't have a problem with pole-dancing." - what would that be like exactly?
why do you think that we don't?

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Beppie
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why do you think that we don't[have full ownership of our sexualities]?

Fonz, plenty of people have written whole books to answer this question. [Smile]

What it usually boils down to though, is that women's sexuality is generally constructed in terms of the way that men respond to us sexually-- rather than in terms of our own desire and where that desire takes us. Indeed, it is constructed in that way so much that women often don't feel like they can experience valid sexual desire outside of the context of what a hypothetical heterosexual man would think of them. We're taught from a very young age that being "attractive" to the external viewer is the most valid source of good feelings within ourselves, so eventually it does feel natural to us.

In the case of pole-dancing, this is very much something that is constructed in order to create a male-female heterosexual dynamic in which the man is the viewer, and the female is the viewee. It implies that for women, sexuality is something that must be performed (for the benefit of men), something that must be "put on"-- glitter, tassles, awkward poses, rather than something that just is part of us naturally. Meanwhile, for the male viewer, the implication is that he is being sexual by just sitting there-- his sexuality is natural to him, he doesn't need to add anything to himself to experience male (hetero)sexuality.

This is not to say that patriachal societies haven't hijacked male sexuality too (often by suggesting that a male must be in a position of power or domination in order to enjoy sex), but for women it's so totally constructed as something we need to "put on" for the sake of men, that it can be really hard to work out what we have left when we take the performance away.

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fonz
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h, gotya. thats true."women's sexuality is generally constructed in terms of the way that men respond to us sexually"- i cannot emphasise how much i think that sucks.

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Nothing is right, but its perfect

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Nailo
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I'd like to add some quotes to support that.

"There's a reason why Sporty is the only spice girl without a boyfriend" -Bend it like Beckham

"I don't want to dissapoint the guys (with how I dress)" -Scarleteen user from a while ago

"I don't want a bicycle, I want a bra: to enhance what I already have, which is much better than what that girl has. The boy I like only likes her because she has boobs." -words to the effect in the movie Riding in Cars with Boys

I'm sure I'll think of some more along the way.

And even if you want to think about it some other way, why is lesbian porn made mostly by and for heterosexual men? Why are strippers so encouraged to get unnaturally large breast implants?

Heather once posted up an experience she had with this kind of behaviour. She said she was quickly laid off her job after she refused to wear a bikini at her job as a waitress, upon request of her (male) boss.

I hope this clears things up [Smile]

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"Love does not make itself in the desire for copulation, but in the desire for shared sleep." - The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera

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fifimcfae
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i absolutely agree with beppie and gwaihir. does anyone even remember gloria steinem anymore? she worked in a playboy restaurant only to come out and write about what atrocities were going on in there for women; this made steinem the ultimate feminist. now, being a playboy bunny is being a feminist in itself; thus, pamela anderson and jenna jameson are great products of post-modern feminism. while the modern feminist thinks it's degrading and dehumanizing to flaunt your body for the pleasure of me, the post-modern feminist believes she is empowered while performing for me. the post modern feminist "gets it"; she "understands."

i personally think those classes are a sad way that men have twisted feminism for their own benefits.

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say we were young and we were so in love
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Beppie
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Fifimcfae, just to clarify-- I think what you're talking about is the trend commonly called "post-feminism"-- the idea that feminism has done its job already, therefore women are "free" to objectify themselves sexually and otherwise.

Post-modernism refers more to an intellectual movement that does not assume that our actions/words/thought have intrinsic or transcendental meaning. While some feminists do use postmodern theory, this generally does not lead them to "post-feminism."

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Nailo
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... Nor do I believe being a playboy bunny automatically makes you a feminist either. Although I don't doubt there are playboy bunny feminists.

I don't see it as flaunting your body because you feel like it; there's no need for a costume for that. It's the actual getting dressed up so the guys will see you and get horny idea that disturbs me. If you wanted to flaunt your body, working at playboy wouldn't be the only way of going about it.

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"Love does not make itself in the desire for copulation, but in the desire for shared sleep." - The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera

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summergoddess
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I think taking a class like that would be fun for me. I'm very comfortable with my body. I'd learn some moves and get a workout out of it too. I should rejoin the gym, so I can check out some classes, not just these ones. I want to learn belly dancin' too and hot yoga! [Wink]

It's not just what you do, as long you are remaining active physically. You want to stay fit at however rate you feel are comfortable at. I think it's important to all of us that we exercise, and remain physically active all our lives, even if we choose to have kids or not.

Even though, I feel great about my body and myself at this point, I know that I would feel even more rewarding if I added more exercise to keep me active and more healthier in my lifestyle [Big Grin]

[ 04-06-2007, 09:34 AM: Message edited by: summergoddess ]

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lolo123
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Hey. Ive read in lots of books and magazine articles that these classes are excellent for your body and that some people even get poles put up in their houses to help tone up. You dont just go to the classes to learn moves, there are other places for that sorta stuff. Even some top celebrities do these classes to keep their body in shape, so i say: GO FOR IT!!!!
keep up with the classes and you will notice how, even though the are challenging, they are rewarding for your body. Good Luck Hun..x

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selina
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as long as you wear something while doing it, i think its a good idea [Smile]
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Monaco
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For every person who thinks it's demeaning, there's another who thinks it's empowering.

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test

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selina
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its very similar to climbing up the ropes, which was a popular P.E. activity at one time
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420
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I would love to learn that. It's different than the usual exercise and you can learn a little more than stretch this way and then downward dog. Sounds rather fun to learn a new exotic dance. If it makes you feel good, do it!
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Heather
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Obviously, it's silly to talk about this as any sort of feminist empowerment: pole-canding for any reason isn't going to empower women as a class, change things for women as a class, for the better. And valid arguments can be made that it can be detrimental to that purpose.

However, as has been mentioned here by a couple users, taking feminism and women's rights out of the picture, most people find forms of exercise and athletics personally empowering -- and something doesn't have to be feminist for that to be so, though if a woman is doing something that keeps her class down (because of the history of this, because it's often marketed to make a woman sexier 'for her man," because men are sometimes invited to sit around and watch, etc.) it's obviously going to take some of the zing out of even just personal empowerment. Butcha know, if it's not all like that, and it's just marketed as exercise, I don't see any big harm here, nor that a leisure activity really has the power or capacity to get in the way of women's rights, either.

I will, however, mention one thing that very, very strongly bothers me about all of this, which Bettie touched on lightly.

Many of these classes will make a big point of advertising that their class is NOT taught by a professional or current stripper. In other words, the clear message is "Yes, this came FROM strippers, but one of those dirty, dirty women is not in THIS room, you're not one of THOSE, and this is not ABOUT those women."

That, to me, is really problematic and vile, and that, to me, may be the single part of this that really is what is most disenfranchising about the pole-dancing-as-leisure/fitness trend for women. You don't life something one class or group of women made for your own profit and use -- especially from a very marginalized group of women, more marginalized than you, often -- and make them the bad guy, the bad woman, the untouchable (in a caste sense). And to try and say pole-dancing is somehow divorced from stripping is ludicrous at best, and class warfare at worst.

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simona
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What about male pole dancing? I saw that in male strip club and it was hot too. That could be a good way for the mens to connect with their masculinity and work out at the same time. Also what about couple pole dancing? Just tired to hear that pole dancing is a woman thing only it's so 20century. As a woman I can easily sit their and do nothing watching men dancing with a pole.
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Zylly
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I fully recognize that an absurd and unhealthy amount of social pressure has been directed towards focusing female sexuality into actions designed to increase her desirability to men and/or excite her male partner (with the unquestionable presumption of heterosexuality). Worst of all, it has been done to the detriment of most other aspects of women's sexuality.

That said, putting on a show to excite a partner can be a very enjoyable sexual activity on a psychological level. If it's what one wants to do, and not something one fells one should do.

As meaningless a point of data as it might be, I must confess I would jump at the opportunity of taking a class that would help me learn to dance or strip in a way that might sexually excite or interest my girlfriend (I'm male, by the way).

Of course, if that is NOT what you're interested in, and only want to do it as a form of exercise, then nobody should ever force you or expect from you that you incorporate that into your sexuality. Also, as an exercise, it sounds a lot less monotone and more fun than working out at the gym.

Finally, yes, any such class that emphasizes distancing pole dancing from strippers, as a way to acknowledge and perpetuate the stigma against the profession, would be one I would avoid as a matter of principle.

[ 08-23-2009, 12:38 AM: Message edited by: Zylly ]

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orca
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quote:
Also, as an exercise, it sounds a lot less monotone and more fun than working out at the gym.
To be fair, most good gyms (heck, even my college's recreational center) will have a number of exercise classes that are fun, burn a lot of calories, get you in shape, and don't objectify women (or any other group). Of course, that also depends on the instructor of the classes, but the trend now seems to be toward making exercise fun and not a chore, and gyms and instructors will have an interest in making it fun so more people will sign up for the classes.

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Jill2000Plus
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quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
I will, however, mention one thing that very, very strongly bothers me about all of this, which Bettie touched on lightly.

Many of these classes will make a big point of advertising that their class is NOT taught by a professional or current stripper. In other words, the clear message is "Yes, this came FROM strippers, but one of those dirty, dirty women is not in THIS room, you're not one of THOSE, and this is not ABOUT those women."

That, to me, is really problematic and vile, and that, to me, may be the single part of this that really is what is most disenfranchising about the pole-dancing-as-leisure/fitness trend for women. You don't life something one class or group of women made for your own profit and use -- especially from a very marginalized group of women, more marginalized than you, often -- and make them the bad guy, the bad woman, the untouchable (in a caste sense). And to try and say pole-dancing is somehow divorced from stripping is ludicrous at best, and class warfare at worst.

I really agree with this, emphasising that a stripper isn't teaching the class others strippers. And I also agree with the comment about how such classes can make what is often a degrading, dangerous line of work into something you play at.

One of my biggest concerns is that pole-dancing classes have been marketed to and held for children, I don't think this is a very good idea, I'm not an expert on pole-dancing and don't mean to presume that everything about it is sexual performance, but I think such classes are relying on the unquestioning acceptance by parents that their daughters are going to grow up to fit into the patriarchal view of what sexuality is like a glove, I think such classes contribute towards the shaping of young girls' sexuality into something that is not for them individually, but for someone else.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Zylly
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quote:
Originally posted by Jill2000Plus:
One of my biggest concerns is that pole-dancing classes have been marketed to and held for children, I don't think this is a very good idea, I'm not an expert on pole-dancing and don't mean to presume that everything about it is sexual performance, but I think such classes are relying on the unquestioning acceptance by parents that their daughters are going to grow up to fit into the patriarchal view of what sexuality is like a glove, I think such classes contribute towards the shaping of young girls' sexuality into something that is not for them individually, but for someone else.

Maybe that depends a lot more on how the clases are taught or advertised than on the fact that it is pole-dancing? Are the clases, particularly those that otherwise market it as sport, only allowing female students or only advertised as something for women or girls?

It's a bit like cooking lessons. Some place advertising cooking lessons for everybody for the joy of cooking and as an useful basic ability that allows you to cook delicious food for yourself, and perhaps others, is hardly offensive. Some backwards school that offers cooking clases for girls as a way to "help them" be more feminine and attract the "men of their dreams", well THAT sounds massively shitty (worse for schools that make cooking an obligatory or recommended course for women and not for men... but lets not get into that now [Roll Eyes] ).

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Heather
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quote:
Are the classes, particularly those that otherwise market it as sport, only allowing female students or only advertised as something for women or girls?
Not only are pole-dancing classes pretty much exclusively marketed to women and girls, I can't say I have ever (it may have been somewhere, just haven't seen it) seen it advertised as a sport, or the way, say, boxing or other kinds of dance classes, or things like women's softball teams are advertised.

Secondarily, many of the classes are women-only, but I don't see that as a particular issue. My impression is that often is so out of (valid) concern that men will simply come to gape or to be entertained by the women.

[ 08-23-2009, 12:45 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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