unfriendly quarterly reminder that if you aren’t willing to spend 15-30 hours a week in seven inch heels, learning pole tricks as you go in front of a live audience for dollars, risking your home, custody of your kids, scholarships, sexual assault, and your life because of your job,
you have no business touching a pole and can fuck right off back to gymnastics or aerial silks–things that maybe aren’t as sexy to you but don’t consist of stealing the transgressive cool of women whose lives you are doing NOTHING to better or make safer, only pushing them farther to the margins with your selfish little hobby
one thing about #the gr8 pole deb8 which probably only a thousand of you were around to see was that t was actually started, you know, by @kellyfromthecity. she posted a picture of her doing a trick (gracelessly) with the caption “not a stripper” and some other ungracious commentary about strippers.
It made the rounds, of course, and she got very defensive and insulting–she’s not a stripper because she doesn’t have daddy issues that render her incapable of more than shuffling around a pole and picking up dollars with her twat and also she TOOOOOOTALLY loves and respects strippers why can’t we see that (you can understand why a lot of us were having trouble seeing her love and respect, right?)
Kelly (and sooooo many others) brought up the new spiritual orientalist facelift pole work got about how it’s actually related to
mallakhamb and burlesque dancers picked it up in tents burlesque tents from all the interracial socialising that used to happen back in the day and used tent poles and blah blah and strippers have been degrading the art form since the 80s.
The origin story isn’t kelly’s, some white lady came up with that relatively recently and it’s just bad history across the board, the easiest to disprove being that white women strippers (or ballet dancers or gymnasts) were doing anything remotely like that with their bodies. familiarity with the history of any one (or all)
of these sports quickly disabused one of that notion–even ballet dancers were kind of ridiculously limited compared to today until Balanchine came along and stopped caring specifically about LINES and more about pushing the body (women’s bodies lbr) to their limits with extensions &c.
a lay viewer watching anna pavlova’s dying swan could, imo, be forgiven for not being moved. I don’t know that the power of her dancing translates on film. I am a thoroughly post balanchine dancer and student of dance though. and for the record I think Alina Somova’s Odile is delightfully out of control and undisciplined, a wild and spoiled child taking what she wants rather than actual evil and I like that and appreciate it but anyway.
I think there’s more to the concept of culture than ethnicity, and also more power dynamics at play than simply racial ones.
you have to identify as a sex worker and be invested in sex worker community for this to matter a lot to you and be an identity to you (and you have to have been doing it a while to really build the dislike and distrust of nonsex workers that I have), and another anon is right that it’s not going anywhere any faster than white dreads, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth critiquing, especially as the foundational athleticism of pole work and stripping as we know it is strictly from women of colour and women in working class clubs–this has never been a middle class person let alone a white middle class person’s way of dancing.