Like seriously, why isn’t pole dancing an olympic sport? This is freakin gymnastics. This is strength and skill. This is not sexual whatsoever. Why does pole dancing have to be so stigmatised as a sexual thing that only strippers do? I have great respect for all people who can pull this off. This is art and beauty right here.
HEY FUN FACT: pole dancing is known as something strippers do because strippers invented it. And that’s okay! It’s okay to have respect for strippers and the hard work they put into what they do! Let’s stop trying to take the stripper part out of pole dancing so upperclass white girls can do it without being ~stigmatized~ because god forbid women be sexual.
Strippers did not invent poledancing, but that’s okay, too! Pole dancing is an extremely old sport, early roots can be traced back to the Indian sport, mallakahamba (as early as 1100 AD). It also existed in China as a performing art prior to the 12th century.
Strippers dancing around poles, probably got its start in the late 19th century with “hoochie coochie” dances that would be performed in tents. “Little Egypt”, widely attributed as the first striptease pole dancer, was a striptease belly dancer who preformed what they dubbed “exotic dances” in burlesque shows held at the Chicago World’s Fair. Her dance became so popular, many other erotic dancers began to emulate her performance.
The fact pole dancing is so strongly associated with erotic dancing now is actually a bit incidental! The burlesque shows would be held in tents, and the tents just happened to be propped up by a pole in the center that the woman would dance around! Depression era burlesque shows, held in tents for cost-effectiveness, further solidified the connection between erotic dances, “exotic” dances, and pole dances.
*note, I don’t approve of the term ‘exotic dance’ to mean ‘bastardized versions of dances from other countries’, this is just the terminology that would have been used, and I think it’s worth noting that erotic dancing is still referred to as exotic dancing, despite the fact they do not share an overlap, and the term ‘exotic’ is, in and of itself, often used rather problematically!
This is even better.
Oh man, see I know what you’re getting at with this, but saying that strippers (or sex workers more accurately) didn’t invent pole dancing is, sorry, just plain wrong.
To attribute the modern pole dancing form seen above to forms like Pole Mallakhamb or Chinese Pole—both historically male dominated pole forms by the way—is not only ridiculous from a technical standpoint (I’ve ranted on this before), it directly contributes to people divorcing pole dancing from its sex work roots and encourages people to ignore the time, dedication and innovation of the women who DID develop it.
Were sex workers the first ones to develop a pole form? No. Were they the ones to develop modern pole dancing seen above? Yes.
Those burlesque performers who took advantage of the tent poles present during their performance invented a form that’s been expanded upon and developed by sex workers for sex workers for decades. Just because the mainstream has finally caught on to how much fun it is doesn’t give anyone the right to rip its history out from under the women who bruised, bled and broke for it.
Men of the Marvel Cast doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge