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A Little Rant About a Certain Pole Meme…

Earlier this week, I started seeing a meme pop up online that really upset me. It features a photo of a rotisserie chicken on a spit, next to a photo of a plus size pole dancer in an inverted tuck, with the words “Nailed It” at the top.

Buckle up, because I’m about to go on a rant.

This meme is offensive. It’s rude. This is my opinion, and people are entitled to theirs, but I don’t understand people within this community who do find it funny. I could get why someone who is outside might think it was a laugh [spoiler: it’s not], because they’re ignorant as to what we do and how hard it is, but inside? I don’t get it.

Here’s the thing: What we do is HARD. It takes tremendous courage to walk into your first class, no matter what your size, but it’s even harder for those who aren’t tiny, or aren’t young, or aren’t what someone might assume a traditional “pole dancer” would be. Additionally, when you are plus size, everything is harder. If you had a hard time inverting as a beginner, and you’re a size 2, imagine how much harder it is if you were 20lbs heavier…or 50lbs…or 100. A successful invert is reason for celebration, no matter what your size, but even more so when you’re fluffier. The dancer in that photo deserves respect and acknowledgement for her hard work, not ridicule by strangers…or by members of her own community.

Another thing? This dancer is a person. Who has feelings. Can you imagine seeing your image taken and used in this way, all over the internet? Can you imagine seeing it spread by the very people in the community that you’re a part of? Dare I say, the community that you love? To me, this is a violation. It’s bullying and cruel.

So, if you see this image, speak up. Say that it sucks and it’s mean. And, if you don’t think it is mean, at least have the respect for your fellow pole dancers to refrain from sharing it. This community is sorely in need of some reform in the area of bullying, and we can all make it better by striving to DO better and BE better.

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Power & Pole: Some Thoughts

A note about this post: I’m working on a theory about pole that I have not fully fleshed out, but this post is my attempt to get some of it out of my head. I apologize if it is not fully formed, or does not make sense, but I hope to eventually get it all put together in a coherent form.

When someone asks you what you’ve gotten from pole, or how it has changed you, what do you say?

  • It’s fun
  • It makes me happy
  • I have made great friends
  • It’s an awesome work out
  • I’ve lost weight/gotten in shape
  • I have more confidence
  • I feel sexier

Do any of these sound familiar?

I think all of these are common expressions of the types of things that people enjoy from pole. One of the great things about this activity is that it can bring so many great things to so many different people. What I am curious about, though, is how these may fit into a larger picture.

I have a theory that pole brings one thing to the majority of people involved in it, which manifests itself in all of the ways I have listed (and more).

Pole brings Power.

I think that the reason that pole is so challenging for some people to accept – especially in those they love – is that the power that comes with it is scary. When people who were not previously empowered begin to change and grow, it challenges those around them. How their community responds to them is interesting to me.

If you think of a person as part of a whole community, and the idea that the community reacts to them in a certain role, think about how a change in that person can challenge how the others in the community see and know themselves. (It’s related to Gestalt Psychology.) If you are an insecure person when you begin to pole, and pole inspires you to have more confidence in yourself, what happens to those around you who knew you – or even relied on you – to be insecure? This isn’t to say that people be aware enough to know that your insecurity was something they relied on…but…think about it. If the change in you causes a shift in you, and a shift in the balance of your relationship with others…wouldn’t that be considered a threat to them?

Why am I talking about this?

A friend of mine recently spoke with me about the reactions her significant other was having regarding her journey with pole. The reactions range from pouty when she goes to class to demanding (if not borderline controlling) regarding the amount of time she would like to spend with pole. In chatting with her about how she has changed since the inception of their relationship, and particularly since pole came into her life, it made me wonder: was the new insecurity expressed by her partner a result of the shift in her personal power? Or, does it have nothing to do with pole, i.e. the fault lying only in the insecurity of the partner in question.

I would love to hear about the personal journeys of those of you who read my blog, particularly in terms of pole and your own empowerment. How have others responded? What changes have you noticed yourself, and have those changes heralded changes in others in your circle? It’s certainly something to think about.