This is how strippers exploit men….
I feel that there is a need to put the record straight with regard to pole dancing, pole fitness, stripping for money and prostitution. They are four distinct activities each has its place in the world and each can be perfectly valid and all have the potential to empower women.
OK I hear the clatter of feminist protest. Some of you (who may or may not call yourselves feminists) have a view that pole dancing and stripping are activities that demean women and exploit them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Pole dancing and pole fitness empower women. These activities make us feel good about ourselves and our bodies in ways you wouldn’t believe possible unless you had experienced it yourself.
And those of you who might apply the label slut, prostitute, whore or worse to stripper dancers are jumping to ill thought out conclusions based on prejudice. These women may be prostitutes but they are probably not. There are rules in most pole dancing clubs that prevent men from even touching the women let alone having sex with them. They are entertainers – fact.
There are many women the world over who are exploited by pimps and predatory males who use and abuse them but it would be wrong to say that it is true of all or even most. So stop and think before making such a judgement.
I have a friend who worked in a lap dancing club and she was adamant that it was the girls who exploited the men and not the reverse. The women name their price and are paid in the region of £40 per dance. A dance will last no more than about 4 minutes so it is easy to make good money if you have the attributes and the courage to use them.
The power is very much in the woman’s hands not the man’s. She picks her men and has them drooling at her feet. She is in control. She names the price and they pay…and then they pay again…and again.
If you get paid for doing something you enjoy doing it’s hard to say that you are being exploited.
In contrast to this highly lucrative sector of pole dancing the financial rewards in pole fitness are pretty meagre but the rewards in terms of well being and self esteem are huge. For this reason many people give up lucrative careers to enter the pole fitness arena and struggle to build their brand or business. They do it for the love of the sport. Yes it is a ‘sport’ and is finally being officially recognised as such.
There can also be some snobbery on the part of pole ‘athletes’ as they set themselves apart from the pole ‘dancers’ but each discipline requires a different skill set and we really shouldn’t be judgemental as both are valid and empowering to women.
In classic pole dance there is the potential to make serious money so why would women not exploit this opportunity or in other words exploit their male audiences. How can it be any more demeaning than ballet or jazz dancing when the hourly rate is so much higher? But even if women just do this for fun and not money it is empowering in a different way. It makes them feel good about themselves, exhilarated and rejuvenated.
If I could be reincarnated in my 25 year old body I would certainly have a go at making money from pole dancing in men’s clubs. There is no question about it. And I have had a successful formal career off stage and would never consider myself to be a slut or a prostitute.
So I say to pole people of all genres let’s be bold and unapologetic about what we do. Stop trying to conform. Do what makes you feel alive, happy and empowered.
Soozie Campbell (author, artist and pole dancer)