Whether you like it or not, pole dancing perpetuates sexism

Image: Doll House Pole Fitness
Image: Doll House Pole Fitness

Since Monday, staff at the London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC) have been inundated with angry comments on their Facebook page. While one might assume the natural enemy of a feminist organization would be men, you’d be wrong. Rather, the hundreds of comments were coming from women — “polers,” they called themselves.

A “poler” for those not in the know (and I’m going to go ahead and guess that 99.999% of the population is not in that particular know), is not a self-referential term used among Santa’s elves, nor does it describe labourers at Dynapole, Mississauga’s leading lighting pole manufacturer. No. A “poler,” in this case, is a (rather amusing, let’s be honest) term invented and used by pole dancers (also known within the “pole community” as “pole artists,” “pole performers,” and “pole athletes”). Another fun fact about polers: they really don’t like feminists.

Up until last week, I didn’t know any of this. I was aware that pole dancing classes were now being offered to women and girls as young as eight, normalized by those who ran “pole fitness” businesses as a neutral form exercise, despite the fact that this activity is marketed almost solely to females and exercise gear includes what are commonly known as “stripper heels” (even when the “polers” are young girls). But I was not aware of the awkward lingo, the fact that there was a “pole community,” or the fact that “polers” wished to be included in the feminist movement, despite their apparent distaste for it.

But on Monday, all this came hurtling to light when LAWC withdrew from London’s annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) after the Women’s Events Committee (the body responsible for organizing TBTN in London, ON) announced they were considering including a “pole fitness demonstration” in the event. Behind closed doors, LAWC had already explained to the committee that they did not feel pole-dancing was a good fit for TBTN, but some members of the committee claimed they wanted to “stay relevant to younger feminists” and felt this was a way to do it, according to Megan Walker, executive director at LAWC.

Take Back the Night began in the 1970s as a feminist protest against male violence against women. Many of the early events protested pornography and other forms of violence against women manifested through the sex trade. Last year in Vancouver, women marched down Granville street, carrying signs that read “Pornography is propaganda against women,” “Prostitution is violence against women,” and “Johns are scum.” We stopped outside a strip club and a sex shop, as some sisters surrounded the buildings with caution tape, protesting the oppressive messaging and impact objectification has on women everywhere.

In other words, TBTN has always taken a holistic approach to violence against women. Rather than plucking various issues and incidences from their context, feminists made the undeniable connections between objectification, male power, rape culture, and domestic abuse visible. So when the Women’s Events Committee proposed a “pole fitness” demonstration (to be put on by The Pole House), LAWC immediately objected. Despite internal disagreement, the committee went ahead and put their proposal to social media (in a notably biased way, arguing that pole dancing is an “empowering” form of exercise and a way for women to “reclaim their bodies”), publicly denigrating and marginalizing LAWC’s position in the process. This was the last straw for LAWC. In a Facebook post, they stated:

“Pole fitness emerged from pole dancing in strip clubs — where women, whether there by ‘choice’ or not, are sexually objectified by men. They are leered at and groped at by men who view them as objects for their own sexual gratification. Women and girls are also sex-trafficked into strip clubs and other areas of the sex trade. Pole fitness cannot be separated from this history and context.”

“Polers” responded by claiming that their practice is empowering because women “choose” it, no one has “forced or tricked” them into doing it, and because is it an “expression of female sexuality.” But “choosing” to participate in any given activity doesn’t necessarily make that activity feminist. Beyond that, it’s worth asking ourselves why all these practices presented today as “expressions of female sexuality” (from burlesque, to pole-dancing, to the sexy selfies young women post on Instagram) are rooted so firmly in male-centered ideas about what “sexy” means. Why does our so-called “sexual empowerment” look so very similar to the pornified imagery men have long imposed on women? Just because we are choosing to accommodate now, of our own free will, doesn’t change the message — it just means we’ve internalized it.

One might ask why, if the Women’s Events Committee were so interested in highlighting women’s athletic ability and showcasing female empowerment through sport, they specifically and only looked towards a version of “fitness” that is sexualized and exists as a means to give men chubbies. I mean, why not bring in female weightlifters or soccer players? Why is it that third wave feminists (the “wave” most closely aligned with the “young women” the committee is trying to reach) seem only able to conceive of forms of “empowerment” that are sure to please men? Why bother pretending to “reclaim” sexist practices when there are so many other fun and empowering activities that have nothing to do with male-centered sexualized performances? How about getting some female skateboarders to do a demo (those are some badass women) or, my favorite, no sports at all but instead beer?

In response to LAWC’s statement, The Pole House decided to withdraw from London’s TBTN event. Instead, they wrote in a Facebook post that they planned to “host an Open House event on Saturday October 1st, where individuals who want to learn more about pole fitness can come and try a free class.” One supposes that it was only out of respect for the thousands of women murdered, abused, and raped by men every year (i.e. the reason TBTN exists) that The Pole House elected to cheekily name their event, Take Back the Pole.

TBTN took place on Thursday, minus a pole fitness demo, but the damage had already been done. One “poler” went so far as to create a meme claiming that LAWC didn’t work with women who are prostituted, work in strip clubs, or are pole dancers. To further compound this smear, the meme claimed LAWC believed that women who worked in the sex trade deserved to be raped. These lies are harmful not only to an anti-violence organization that truly does support and work with all women, but to abused or otherwise victimized women who might see this meme and think they now cannot turn to LAWC for help. It is a venomous lie that only hurts women. Is protecting pole dancing more important than protecting women’s lives?

Pole dancing was born in the strip club — a place that exists solely to exploit women for male pleasure. This is not something the women’s movement needs to “take back” — it’s something we need to put an end to. There are so many more ways to celebrate women that don’t involve showcasing your crotch for an audience and writhing around on the floor in stripper heels.

Instead of repeating vacuous claims about “personal empowerment,” ask yourself how power really works. Here’s a question that should spur you in the right direction: When was the last time a man sought power by doing his workouts in seven-inch heels?

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • radwonka

    “Instead of repeating vacuous claims about “personal empowerment,” ask yourself how power really works. Here’s a question that should spur you in the right direction: When was the last time a man sought power by doing his workouts in seven-inch heels?”

    Exactly. And can these people stop saying that they are against gender roles when everything they do empowers gender roles?

    • Annie B.

      Empowering gender roles chosen by individuals is much different than supporting traditional gender roles being imposed upon everyone.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Gender roles are not something chosen by individuals… They are imposed on people through socialization.

  • Juliette D Faraone

    I was really adamant against pole fitness being included at TBTN (and still don’t see its place there), but I feel much more comfortable about women ‘reclaiming’ pole fitness (an act which does not have its roots in sexism, even if commonly associated with sex work today) than I am women ‘reclaiming’ slurs like “slut” and “whore”–terms which were never positives for women, and whose ‘reclaiming’ makes no sense.

    • P.Boss

      Can I ask why you were so against it?

  • A very well-written article, Meghan! Thank you so much! It has been infuriating seeing the anti-feminist rhetoric being aimed at women who are against objectification and for women’s liberation, and that these commenters believe they are the feminists. The video you linked to showing young girls in stripper outfits and pole dancing was horrifying. How can anyone think that is okay? That is sexual abuse, and it’s grooming girls to see themselves as sexy objects for men’s entertainment. Anyone who attempts to separate “pole fitness” from stripping is being disingenuous—stripping is exactly where the “sport” of pole dancing comes from, and its purpose has always been, and still is, to titillate men.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks purple sage!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Um… No… I most certainly did not create that meme. Also, I fail to see your point. This meme is not a smear — it is making a point that is true.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh yeah — we’re ALWAYS seeing sexy men in stripper heels pole dancing! Always.

    • Samantha Lemow

      As someone who just learned about pole fitness very recently, maybe this is an area in which you don’t know what you’re talking about?

      • Meghan Murphy

        Naw. Y’all say all the same shit the burlesque dancers have been railing on about at me for years. Unoriginal af.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Feminism is a political movement aimed at ending patriarchy and violence against women. Just a friendly reminder.

  • Meghan Murphy

    We are well aware of the extent to which third wave feminism has taken over ‘gender studies’ these days.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh well?

  • Meghan Murphy

    At no point have I ever cared whether or not a man believes feminists give feminism a ‘bad name’.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah, that’s the definition dudes and liberals like, I’m aware. But that ain’t it.

  • Meghan Murphy

    We haven’t deleted all contrary comments, hon. Comments here are moderated, so they don’t post immediately. Take a deep breath, k?

  • Meghan Murphy

    No. Feminism hasn’t succeeded because neoliberals think their own personal feelings are more important than dismantling patriarchy and ending male violence.

  • Meghan Murphy

    But there was a need for ‘polers’ to attack and smear an organization that exists to support victims of male violence?

    • Kourtney Koscielak

      didn’t that happen after the LAWC posted a meme about pole dancing? I am pretty sure i remember their smear meme of pole dancing came first….

      • Meghan Murphy

        There was no ‘smear’, there was a legitimate argument made. You people are ridiculous. Stop pretending as though critical thought = attack.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You’re right. I should let my boyfriend move in *just* so I can update my bio.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Why does ‘being sexy for oneself’ always involve so much performance for third wavers?

  • Eva Stockigt

    The basic implication of this whole article is that you can’t be both sexy and a feminist and as both a proud poler and a proud feminist, that’s an absolute load of rubbish. The reason pole moves look similar to strip club moves is because they are similar – sexy is sexy whether it’s about pleasing men or empowering oneself. “Internalisation” of mens desires has nothing to do with it – in fact internalisation of societal ideals is the that women should not be sexual, or that an attempt for women to be sexual is about men and THAT my friend, is the most sexist, anti-feminist idea of them all. You’ll find that most of the audience at pole competitions are other women anyway

  • Raquel Rosario Sánchez

    Deeply sorry to read that you find a woman making a feminist analysis that centers objectification theory and the interseccional roots of patriarchy so threatening.

    Don’t hyperventilate about it, though: read up and learn. You’re welcome.

  • Meghan Murphy

    But I *LIKE* my sarcastic sneers. They make me feel sexy and empowered. Therefor, my sarcastic sneers are feminist and you have no right criticize them. Tearing down women’s sarcastic sneers is MISOGYNIST and EXCLUSIVE. Maybe if you did more sarcastic sneering yourself you’d have a right to have an opinion about sarcastic sneering, but until you do, you have no right to speak or think about sarcastic sneers.

    To reiterate, your opinion on a subject you know nothing about (sarcastic sneers), is completely incorrect. Listen to the women who have experience in the area of sarcastic sneers next time.

    My feminism will include my sarcastic sneers or it will be bullshit! #stopsarcasticsneershaming

  • Meghan Murphy

    Well, I am veeeeery good at trolling…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh. Is Jack James Davies a woman’s name? Sorry ma’am.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Also, I call bullshit.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Guess you shoulda given feminism some more thought, eh?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Indeed! Pole-dancers seem only to show interest in feminism when it is about them and only them. You all come out in droves, suddenly! Where were you for all the articles about domestic abuse and rape?

    But you do you, hon.

  • Meghan Murphy

    We are talking about feeling powerful on an individual basis. We’re talking about the way systems of power work and impact *all* women.

  • Meghan Murphy

    There’s always an exception to the rule, but the exception doesn’t make the rule.

  • Meghan Murphy

    So inclusive! But also, who cares! What any of this has to do with the feminist movement is beyond me.

  • hellkell

    Yes, objectification is SO hidden in this society. Pull your head out.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I bet if you spent some time learning more about the feminist movement you might learn something too.

  • Raphael Verelst

    Question: how do feminists analyze homosexual prostitution? Or males selling themselves to women?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thank you! I certainly enjoyed myself.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Define feminism.

  • Meghan Murphy

    That sounds incredibly boring… Don’t you think feminists have more important things to do than spend weeks researching ‘polers’?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Hey, men are more than welcome to support the cause if they support our goals. A man who believes actual feminists give feminism a ‘bad name’ is not an ally, though.

    • Asterisk

      I disagree with that. That’s a very binary and non-conducive approach to the situation. I will always, *always* give a white person, if they feel a certain way about a particular movement, a chance at honest dialogue so I may better understand why they feel that way. In may experience; often-times if a large number of people feel negatively about something, there is something *wrong*.

      For instance, I don’t agree with many primary stances of modern feminism. But I do acknowledge that there is a problem with how women are treated and viewed. I don’t agree with your article, though. I think there are some feminist narratives that are hurting the movement. We can talk about these things like adults. It doesn’t mean that I dislike you as a person, or hate you, or hate women. The world isn’t binary. It isn’t black and white. We’re all unique and individual. No two people agree on every matter. And this is why we’ve been gifted with the ability of complex communication. 🙂

      • Meghan Murphy

        I’m not going to spend my life arguing with men who don’t like feminism. I’d prefer to move forward with people who have shared goals.

        • Asterisk

          Then…I’m sorry to say this, but I feel like you will fail. It makes zero sense, when you’re speaking on subjects of social equality, to exclusively appeal to the demographic that shares your views and goals.

          Consider it for a moment: if there is a compelling need for your social movement to exist, very likely you are the *minority* and in at least one way at a significant disadvantage on the playing field. You certainly wouldn’t be able to convince them all, but if you have any respectable skill in critical dialogue, the ones you couldn’t convince would be quite unreasonable and in the minority.

          Just offering a bit of feedback. Again, don’t misunderstand, I don’t hate you for the views you’ve expressed. I’m not necessarily saying that you’re guilty of this, but I feel like I have to issue that statement because a lot of people confuse disagreement with hatred.

          • Meghan Murphy

            People learn and change their minds all the time. Countless people have learned and changed their minds through reading this site and other feminists’ work. But trying to get men who hate feminism onside is not something that I’m interested in spending my life doing. I have found it to be purposeless. If they wish to read and learn, then great! But trying to play nice with people who have no interest in learning is pointless.

          • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

            Oh my gosh, a MAN has dropped by to offer his constructive criticism on how to feminist! I’m all a-flutter!!!

  • skilletblonde

    There is a lot of sock-puppetry on this thread. I’ve noticed that a lot of those who have posted opposition commentary on this article, have opened up new Disqus accounts, to comment on it. That ought to tell you something, indeed.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Ooooh good call. Will look into that, thanks. Keeping up with moderation has been a challenge as all these perturbed polers have come out of the woodwork. Apparently ‘polers’ have a lot of time on their hands.

      • Tristabel Akila

        It isn’t ‘polers’. It’s just polers. You are incredibly self righteous and disrespectful.

        • Meghan Murphy

          meh.

  • Angela

    Say it again for the people in the back ….

  • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

    In response to your last question…ever since I started pole I have moved from strength to strength, I’m more comfortable in my skin, my dance and performance skills have improved. The Pole community that I’m a part of is one of the most loving, supportive and empowered groups I’ve ever met. I’m a feminist and through my connection with the women and men in my pole group my knowledge and appreciation of feminism has blossomed. Maybe before you judge something unfairly, try taking a class and see how much it imperatives your life.

    • Just Passing Through

      yikes!

  • Asterisk

    I’m sorry if that is a negative symbol for you. And I wouldn’t even begin to consider changing that for you. But the reality is that it does not mean the same thing for everyone. In fact, I have friends in the sex industry who very much enjoy their jobs.

    The swastika is an ancient religious symbol that is actually still used in several faith capacities today. Though yes, it is well-known for the nazi death camps, that is not it’s exclusive representation. My great-grandmother fled nazi Germany when she was young. She was actually the first person to open my eyes to the idea that symbols don’t have to be unanimously *good* or *bad*.

    Could you imagine our world if we banned everything because it was used to perpetuate some terrible act at some point? Particularly religious symbols?

  • Raquel Rosario Sánchez

    “I never really cared about feminism that much, to be honest. But now that I see that feminism is a radical, transformative movement that may make me question some of the things I hold dear (because patriarchy has socialized us to love those things), I am *so upset about it* that I am willing to compare the movement to genocide and ethnic cleansing. This is NOT the fun, super watered down feminism I thought I knew.”

    • Meghan Murphy

      lol

  • Meghan Murphy

    I did not just hear about pole dancing last week. Cool reading comprehension tho.

    (Thank you for your suggestion though, I definitely WILL consider abandoning my site, which is the most-read feminist site in Canada and one of the most popular radical feminist sites in the world, because you like pole dancing…)

  • Meghan Murphy

    lol. Clearly you are a first time visitor….

    • Alexandra Adelson

      Nope, that’s why I’m surprised with “it makes me feel bad, where’s my trigger warning, violent senseless you!!11” arguments above.

  • Joel Lessing

    I’ve been a male poler for 8 years and I have to admit that I’ve simply tired of having to defend myself and my fellow sisters from these tiresome and repetitive allegations, this time made by a person who literally just came along a few days ago to announce she knows NOTHING about me or my sisters–even what we call ourselves–but then proceeds to define us in her terms and then deliver her denunciation. I don’t have the time to go through her screed paragraph by paragraph and give it the rebuttal it deserves. Instead, I will INVITE her to come along with us and discover the JOY of being one of us. Of embracing sexuality or not. Of wearing heels or not. Of dancing like a stripper, a ballerina, or a B-boy break-dancer, or parkour runner–or, like me, not really dancing much at all. Of learning moves, and foot traces, aerials, combos, and spins. Of cheering each other on. And of being a part of a loving and accepting community of people who are diverse, mostly feminist (probably 97%), and just happen to enjoy dancing on and around a metal pole. Meghan, strap on your heels, or your Chuck Taylor High Tops, or come barefoot. Come be our sister! Love to pole! /Joel Lessing/Forest Park, Illinois.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Why must I take up poling? Why is this important?

      • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

        We’d rather you didn’t, but maybe if you had an informed opinion of the things you denigrate people could take you seriously.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Thank you for your opinion! I’ve always aspired to be taken seriously by men in stripper heels, first and foremost.

          • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

            It’s a good thing I don’t need your approval or validation. I’m surrounded by wonderful, powerful and amazing women that inspire me beyond belief. As for the heels, I’m a gay man, I love them. They make me feel good.

          • Meghan Murphy

            How nice for you! I’m afraid none of this has anything to do with feminism, though, so I’m unsure as to why it is relevant?

          • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

            It’s relevant because you have pole dancers telling you they are feminists and proud of both aspects of their life and you are disrespecting and judging us based on what you believe to be feminism. Saying something isn’t feminist doesn’t mean it isn’t. Pole dancing is not that far from gymnastics. Are you going to turn on all the women and girls in gymnastics? What about other forms of dance, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz? They wear revealing outfits sometimes and heels too, does that make them all slots that deserved to be shamed by someone sitting on her magical feminist high horse?

          • Meghan Murphy

            Feminism isn’t just a personal identity anyone can simply take on, regardless of their politics (I mean, they can, but simply claiming the identity doesn’t make it valid). Also, gymnastics isn’t ‘feminist’ either, nor is jazz. Neutral activities are not ‘feminist’ just because a woman is doing them. The point of this article is to point out that sexual objectification perpetuates and is rooted in sexism. Are you opposed to this argument?

          • Artemis Moon

            I am. You’ve framed what we are doing on other people’s reactions to it. You’ve taken an easy answer to a complicated system of oppression.
            These answers referencing their love for it is in response to your claim that what we’re trying to do (though you have no understanding of it) isn’t feminist. That because it is rooted in sexual objectification it is sexist. Spirituals, Blues and Jazz and Hip Hop are rooted in racism, oppression and poverty, yet we don’t mark them as such. They’ve grown into more.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Sexual objectification *is* sexist. That’s not something that up for debate or subject to opinion.

          • LuckPushedMeFirst

            *psst* No one is questioning that the women you dance with are wonderful, powerful and amazing. People can be wonderful, powerful and amazing and still do problematic things.

          • Brian Sina

            “Thank you for your opinion! I’ve always aspired to be taken seriously by men in stripper heels, first and foremost.”

            ….so now you are going to mock a male identified person for wearing heels? WOW SUCH FEMINISM, MUCH INCLUSION

          • Meghan Murphy

            I’m sorry, at what point did we stop being allowed to mock men? At what point was feminism about including men? OH RIGHT. Never.

            Men are the worst, deal with it.

          • pyrite00

            Why do feminists have to include “male identified” men? Isn’t that like saying “all lives matter” ?

        • Just Passing Through

          Feminist Current is the most read feminist blog in Canada (and is becoming more read in the U.S. now too..including myself). I can assure you plenty of people take Meghan and Feminist Current seriously. Know before you speak.

  • martindufresne

    Thank you for this courageous article, Meghan.
    What man can deny the truth of this assessment from the LAWC’s statement, about “…pole dancing in strip clubs — where women, whether there by ‘choice’ or not, are sexually objectified by men. They are leered at and groped at by men who view them as objects for their own sexual gratification. Women and girls are also sex-trafficked into strip clubs and other areas of the sex trade…”?
    I find it incredible that someone in the U.S. can create a libelous meme disparaging the LAWC and the WEC went and put it up on its FB page!
    One has to wonder if, for all its inclusiveness discourse, the WEC didn’t purposefully set up “polers” by inviting a business to showcase its wares at TBTN, against The Pole House’s better judgment…
    It could be part of ongoing 3rd wave hostility against feminists who actually oppose male violence and stand up to the sex industry.

  • Independent Radical

    Indeed, liberals forget that being biased in favour of something or “open” to it is still a bias.

  • Elizabeth

    The kind of analysis presented here is not primarily about deciding what kind of woman gets to be a feminist. It’s about naming an actual problem (objectification, violence, etc.) that is created by an actual class of people called men. The choices of women are not the reason patriarchy exists, which is something made clear by radical feminist analysis, which I would encourage everyone to read up on before deciding that the fundamental problem is that Meghan just needs to understand sex positivity better. Here’s the thing: men create, uphold, and profit from a system wherein women have limited choices, all of which are terrible. It is not a good thing when some women with the privilege to do so decide to embrace the markers of their sisters’ oppression, but women do NOT build these systems. Radical feminists are not motivated by some desire to throw people out of the feminist club, BUT there are clearly some actions that uphold the patriarchy and others (such as normalizing the male gaze and pressuring other women to do so) that do not. We are not going to stop pointing that out. And that’s because we actually want to dismantle these systems, not just learn how to feel okay about ourselves within them.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Learning is a two-way street. If you heard them out, perhaps you would learn something yourself. ”

    You think I haven’t?? What is it you think I do all day? My opinions, arguments, and ideas are informed by what I read and have been reading, day in and day out, for years. All I *do* is engage with other people and other people’s writing. I run this site almost entirely on my own AND freelance write for a living. The fact that you think I should somehow spend *more* time than I already do (as if I have a spare minute, as it is) conversing with anti-feminists is totally baffling to me.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I would never claim not to ‘categorize by gender.’ I mean, I live in this world just like everyone else. I have eyes and a brain and understand that, under patriarchy, men are in a position of dominance. Feminists do the opposite of ignoring gender.

  • Meghan Murphy

    This is kinda my job….

  • Meghan Murphy

    Who cares? If you enjoy it, go ahead and do it. But enjoying something doesn’t make it feminist.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Then why is he talking about it here? What LAWC does with their Facebook page is none of my concern.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You think this is the first time I’ve heard all this??? I’ve literally heard these exact same ‘arguments’ hundreds of times over, for years. I have responded and debunked them over and over again. They are no longer worth my time. These people can’t be bothered to think about feminism for more than two seconds or understand feminist arguments, but I should respond to the same dumb comments thousands of times over, for the rest of my life?? Naw.

    Like, here you go — from three years ago. Same old boring shit: http://www.feministcurrent.com/2013/09/23/responding-to-critiques-of-burlesque-cheat-sheet-crazy-making-edition/

  • Bleeps

    A woman’s body was found on top of a Home Depot in Michigan this past week, and another woman escaped a sexual predator who had two bodies buried at the house he was squatting at, plus another offsite. If only, IF ONLY, those women had known how empowering pole-dancing is! If only they had used their sexy, feminine, powers of persuasion to get those men to not kill them! They could have used 7-inch heels to fight off their killers, I’m sure.

    Jesus, what a sad mind-fuck of a time we live in. What a sorry world we are creating for girls. This shit ain’t new. My grandmother had giant boobs and it was considered this amazing power over men then, in the 20’s. She was taught to ‘use’ it. It wasn’t called empowerment, but it was considered a good way to get a man to take care of her.

    The fact that people are reacting to this commentary as though their very selves are being threatened is so… middle-school, it’s mind-boggling.

    Thank you for the work of FC. It is so important to have at least one voice of sanity in the wilderness.

    • FakeFeminist

      Isn’t it funny how women working in the “empowering” trades are vastly more likely to be assaulted, raped and murdered than less “empowered” women? It’s so weird how that works. You would think since they spend all day every day being “empowered” that they would be practically invincible at this point. Certainly they should have enough power to fight off their male attackers, who are usually not “empowered” at all.

  • Rhyn Cheung

    Please educate yourself or conduct research before publishing articles like this. Pole dancing is originated from China and India. I’m the current Colorado Pole Champion and also, guess what? A man. All the time that I have been pole dancing, I have never seen a woman being oppressed by another man, or being forced to perform sexy routines that they don’t feel comfortable of doing. What I do see is how they gained confidence from within themselves.

    Our protest is not against feminism or feminists. We are angry because the organization decided to post a picture of the modern pole world icon, who is also a brilliant dancer on and off the pole, to promote their idea that pole is ONLY for stripping purposes. That is completely untrue and slandering. I suggest that you try to talk to some experienced pole dancer and ask them what has actually happened? Preferably if you want to know about pole dancing, you can try to contact the lady who was slandered in the picture that the organization posted. Her name is Marlo Fisken. I hope you will have a different understanding of pole, and perhaps embrace different ways that women empower themselves.

    • Raquel Rosario Sánchez

      For as we know, pole dancing is promoted in our patriarchal society because men *really* want to show appreciation for the ancient traditions of China. Not because it’s overwhelmingly women who do it both in and out of strip clubs or the sexually titillating dance moves performed again, overwhelmingly by women (and girls!)… obvs!!

      Dear Rhyn, I see you’ve just opened up a Disqus account *just* so you can come comment on this article. I look forward to seeing you around here next week, and the one after, as we continue to discuss the importance of ending violence against women and girls here at Feminist Current.

      • Meghan Murphy

        He also just sent me a friend request on Facebook (as have a number of male commenters, angered by this post). Men seeking to harass women online are always the best allies to women!

  • Meghan Murphy

    They *have* said ‘cunts’ and ‘bitch’. In other places. One of them called LAWC to scream at the woman who answered the phone, and called her a ‘cunt’. Those who have used misogynist words in the comments just get moderated or banned.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah stilettos are totally gender neutral and not sexualized because some men think it’s cute to wear them, you’re right.

    • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

      Guess we better start performing in crocs or birkenstocks…or do they show too much skin for you?

      • Meghan Murphy

        You got a problem with comfortable shoes?

      • Bleeps

        If it’s really about athleticism, it makes absolutely no sense that anyone would wear high-heels to do it. They would wear some kind of foot covering with traction, like a barefoot shoe or something.

        • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

          Actually, heels have grip on the platform, also depending on the material they’re made from they can add grip on the pole, patent leather for example. Barefoot is my personal choice because skin grip is required to do most tricks

        • Jessica

          Some people do. I wear sneakers often for pole for grip. Some people enjoying wearing heels, male or female, and they do grip very well.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The ‘pole community’ is kind of obsessive… It’s obviously been linked to in some pole dancing facebook groups too, who aren’t used to hearing anything but blind positive reinforcement. Same as the burlesque folks….

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thank you! I’m fine. Honestly it’s just time-consuming and exhausting… But at this point I’ve been hearing this same stuff for years, so I’m used to it (sadly).

  • Meghan Murphy

    Love you Tinfoil 🙂

  • Meghan Murphy

    But sarcasm is what makes this fun for *me* — what about ME and the things I like??

    • Morag999

      Sarcasm-shaming: it’s a terrible thing. They are not respecting the empowerful feelings we get from being sarcastic with high-heeled trolls, bores and fools.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Why do you hate critical thinking so much, Anthony?

    • Morag999

      Maybe critical thinking hurts his pee-pee?

  • Meghan Murphy

    yep.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Not really! I’m turning down work due to time constraints, in fact… I’ve got many freelance deadlines on the go, my book manuscript is due in a month, etc. etc. But this is my site, so i kinda gotta keep it running 🙂

    • Raquel Rosario Sánchez

      MEGHAN!! Your manuscript is due in a month?! Congratulations! So excited about this!

      • Meghan Murphy

        Ha. Yes! But stress 🙁

  • Meghan Murphy

    None of this has anything to do with my personal feelings. This is a political analysis. Also, I like making fun of silly words, people, and ideas. It’s amusing and keeps things light.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Pole dancing is marketed towards men.”

    Yeah men are always hiring pole instructors for their stags and stuff. It’s really *not* marketed to men. Just because a few men do it doesn’t change the fact that this is a enormously gendered activity.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m sorry for the trauma you’ve suffered at the hands of men and am glad that the ‘pole community’ has helped you.

    But no, *we* are clearly not the ‘fanatical’ ones, here…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Please apply this argument to pole dancing.

  • Meghan Murphy

    These arguments most certainly are not about attacking individual women. Also, do not come here and call women ‘sluts’ or you will be banned.

    • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

      I never called anyone a slut and I will never do that. What I said is you are slut shaming pole dancers, big difference.

      • Meghan Murphy

        So you are saying that pole dancers are ‘sluts’? That is offensive and misogynist and you need to stop.

        • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

          Nice twisting of words, you’re article is painting pole dancers as sluts.

          • Meghan Murphy

            You are gross and you need to go away now.

          • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

            That’s just what I was thinking about you.

          • Meghan Murphy

            You gonna run the site from now on? Good luck with your new career as feminist writer! You’ll pick it up no prob. Really, anyone can do it.

          • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

            Your comments are reflective of you as a person. I wish you well on your journey Meghan. You seem to think I care what you think of me, I don’t.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Yes! My comments are indeed reflective of me as a person. I’m not interested in men’s opinions on women’s oppression. Very observant of you.

          • Elanor Grant

            Why would you not be interested in men’s opinions on women’s oppression? Sometimes they provide a delightful insight to how other people think

  • Meghan Murphy

    You are all more than welcome to join the women’s movement? We’ve been at this since forever…

  • Meghan Murphy

    And the moderator… 🙂

  • Meghan Murphy

    Dude. Heels are a tool of oppression. FOR WOMEN. I am a woman. I have worn and danced in heels countless times. You need to step the fuck down. Feminism is not about YOU. It is about women, and the oppression of women under patriarchy.

    • Artemis Moon

      Considering that they were originally made for men?

      • Meghan Murphy

        You live in current society, yes? You are aware of who wears heels and why, yes?

  • Novo

    Hahaha what do you know about feminism? You literally sound like an MRA. Why don’t you actually read through the FC archive with an open mind instead of rehashing lazy, childish neoliberal ‘arguments’? It’s also disgusting that you suggested single women are inherently ‘sad and alone’. Yeah read a book before you lecture others on feminism.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Don’t you know that women need to be partnered with men in order to count as valid people deserving of respect?

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    You don’t have to be, is the point. The point is that pole dancing is not a feminist act.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You know, the exact same things were said to me when I wrote about burlesque. Funny thing was, I DID take burlesque classes and go to burlesque shows. I changed my mind about burlesque after applying my powers of critical thought. Not because of my *personal* experiences with and feelings about burlesque classes. Stop pretending as though in order to be be critical of something you have to do it or be it. Like, try applying that analysis to activists who oppose the tar sands??? Or animal cruelty? This argument is ridiculous, apolitical, and anti-intellectual.

    • LuckPushedMeFirst

      Meghan, I don’t think you’re qualified to protest animal testing until you’ve actually put mascara on a rabbit’s eyelashes.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I also don’t think anyone should protest restaurants that sell shark fin soup unless they’ve actually EATEN shark fin soup. Moreover, people should not recycle unless they themselves have actually BEEN a can.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I don’t think anyone should protest restaurants that sell shark fin soup unless they’ve actually EATEN shark fin soup. Moreover, I don’t think people should recycle unless they have actually BEEN a can.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I also don’t think anyone should protest restaurants that sell shark fin soup unless they’ve actually eaten shark fin soup. Moreover, people should not recycle unless they’ve actually BEEN a can.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You are honestly so creepy.

  • Bleeps

    Don’t get angry, get sexy!

  • Mindi B

    When I was first introduced to pole, it was through someone who had started to pole in order to re-strengthen herself, physically as well as mentally and emotionally. I’ll be honest, I did at first think pole was sexist and it seemed to conflict with my own strong feminist views.

    But it didn’t take long for me to see the exact opposite: one listen to the screaming crowd of women at 2009’s Miss Poledance Australia, and that was it. All I could see was women supporting each other, overcoming their own challenges, growing and encouraging each other to have pride.

    That also influenced how I shot (photographed) pole after that. I wanted to make sure that each and every person I shot was shown with her energy and her pride, I had to do justice to her hard work.

    These days it’s hard for me to see pole as anything BUT a strengthener of character and a woman’s embrace of herself.

    I now think anyone who calls it sexist doesn’t support feminism. When you’ve see first-hand the incredible effect it can have on a woman who has deep self-esteem issues, who has been through some horrific events in their lives, and who over the years, transform themselves in ways they never believed possible, who live in a society which also condemns female sexuality (yes, both east and west!!!) one can never doubt the incredible positive effect pole, and the sisterhood it fosters, has for women.

    I am in awe of every woman I meet who poles – because I know she’s in the process of her own self-love and personal growth.

    • Si Llage

      In other words, your private definition and experience matters more than decades of historical facts about stripping and should supplant the entire rest of the world’s definition, and that’s totally not selfish and self-serving at all.

    • FakeFeminist

      Not everything that makes individual women feel good about themselves is good for women as a class. Why is this so hard for the “choose your choice” crowd to address? And like, do you really believe that there’s no way to form a supportive female network without also having the negative aspects of pole-dancing? Or that pole-dancing is the best way to do it?

      Mainstream western society does not condemn women performing their sexually in a way that can be commodified and consumed by the public. That IS mainstream western society.

      • Elizabeth

        I fail to see how something that makes so many women feel stronger and love their body is bad for all women. And probably most of the argument here is because all your responses are so generalized and it is absolutely obvious that you lack experience on the topic and haven’t been immersed on the culture or even been close to the community to understand. That’s why people keep trying to explain it to you, we read you and know that you are thinking of oppresed women stripping in front of salivating men when the experience in a classroom or a convention is entirely diferent. You say you don’t understand why we don’t see that its bad for women, and we.. People that have actually done it… Are trying to explain you what it has given us and why we don’t think you should be making such a wide judgement and attack on something that you don’t understand, you are failing to listen and mocking everyone for talking about “empowerment”. It’s not a buzz word, no one sold us on the word, we felt it. You don’t understand it and that’s fine, but then you should’nt be judging so harshly or making assumptions without proper research or when you are not even willing to hear what the other side has to say.

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    I think the position is well layed out in the article, no? Do you have any points to counter the ones IN the article? Because all I’ve seen you say is that you personally like pole dancing and you know lots of other people that do as well. That’s cool but why should it be at TBTN, considering its history in the west? I don’t really care about its origins in India or China because whatever that is, that isn’t the culture surrounding pole dancing in the west, at all.

  • Novo

    The word ‘shaming’ has no place in feminist or leftist discourse. You sound like a typical neoliberal faux-feminist who confuses individual empowerment with the liberation of oppressed class. Ps there are several documented instances of pedophiles and rapists using the word ‘sex-positivity’ to justify their actions. You know what? I’m astounded by YOUR ignorance and laziness. You obviously have not familiarized yourself with this website, or the concepts of Marxism and radical feminism before engaging. Your post is just a word salad of neoliberal buzzwords as if Jezebel and Buzzfeed threw up on it. Please pick up a book.

  • Just Passing Through

    You are right. I should not have said that. That was tacky of me and I removed it…. The author however is not horrible.. Anyone who works to make the world a better and safer place for women is FAR from being a “horrible” person. …

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    I don’t believe anyone said “people who do pole are wrong”. Do pole if you like, just don’t tell me it’s a feminist act.

  • Bleeps

    “We focus on ourselves…”

    Yes, this is quite clear.

  • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

    Yeah I think I’ll pass on reading further here.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Too hard on the old brain, eh?

      • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

        Too many sarcastic sneers and quotation marks for my liking. The journalism is not so strong in this one *points to Meghan*

        • Meghan Murphy

          Nobody cares what you like.

  • Novo

    How come the vast majority of women in the ‘pole community’ are skinny and in their 20s and 30s?

    • Meghan Murphy

      And white!

  • Kate Reulbach

    I don’t agree with this view at all. Why is pole the only problem? Doesn’t your lipstick in several of your fb profile pics perpetuate sexism? You gripe about pole dancers demanding sexual attention through pole dance, but how does makeup that spotlights/objectifies certain body parts, like your lips, how does that not command sexual attention? I don’t understand how your choices/behaviors in regards to how you present yourself are labeled (in your mind) as for doing it for yourself or ‘feminist’ and someone who poles automatically must be doing it for sexual attention. That’s pretty presumptuous of you. btw, don’t feminists put ‘not sorry’ after that ‘sorry’ crap now-a-days?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yeah. But, funny thing, I never defend my makeup and am wholly comfortable acknowledging why I wear it (and being critical of that!). Maybe try thinking about your choices critically and honestly instead of blindly defending them as feminist, eh?

    • LuckPushedMeFirst

      So Meghan has to be the Perfect Feminist before she’s allowed to critique patriarchy? If you set the bar that high, NO woman will ever be qualified to…oh, I see. What a clever way to shut down feminist discourse.

  • Meghan Murphy

    My plan is to never live with a man ever again, mostly because I hate living with other people, particularly men. I mean, god (Lyndsey) knows living with men has been making women happy, safe, and fulfilled for centuries now!

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    “claiming generalizations about what an entire gender prefers, instead of acknowledging individual viewpoints, is exactly the definition of sexism”…oh you mean like claiming that pole dancing is an expression of female sexuality?

  • Wembly

    Well thought out article. I agree fully.

  • LuckPushedMeFirst

    This really has nothing to do with individuals. We’re critiquing pole dancing, not the dancers themselves. Pole dancers deserve respect, pole dancing does not. Women adopt patriarchal conventions and attitudes for myriad reasons, usually with good intentions and without critically analyzing them first. Pole dancing doesn’t make anyone a bad person, or less of a person. No one should ever feel ashamed for wanting to fit in or have fun within the confines of society’s dictates. It’s a shame if women never question why the world is the way it is and why women and men are treated differently, but it’s also okay to take your time exploring the concept of patriarchy and how it informs *all* of our choices.

    One of the most pervasive forms of male dominance/female subordination under patriarchy is the sexual exploitation, willing or no, of women. There’s a proven connection between men’s participation in the objectification of women and a lowered opinion of women in general, plus an increased likelihood of committing sexually violent acts (“not all men”, of course!). When women are presented as playthings– pretty objects to admire, lust after and use for personal gratification– it harms all of us. It changes the way men think about women (even if only on a subconscious level), it changes how women are treated. It reinforces women as the sex class, as second class citizens. One group of people, traditionally subjugated by the other, can’t obtain freedom from oppression through self-subjugation.

    If men were equally objectified, maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal. The history of railroading women into the sex industry for men’s sexual gratification is long and storied. Strip clubs are a direct result of that, and pole dancing as fitness only exists because of strip clubs and the ever increasing co-mingling of sexual exploitation and mundane activities. People can project their own individualized meaning onto it, but the fact remains that it exists within a cultural framework that can’t be wished or argued away.

  • Si Llage

    You’re wrong, she’s saying, “Don’t use a pencil to draw a copy of a photo of naked women being abused and call it just using a pencil.”

  • Bleeps

    Pole-dancing is the status quo.

  • Raquel Rosario Sánchez

    Feminism is the social, political, economic movement aimed at dismantling patriarchy and ending violence against women and girls. In order to do both, we need a stronghold on objectification theory and how the objectification and sexualization of women and girls as a class of people works.

    Pole dancing is not *going to* perpetuate sexism. It already does. I see you are new to either Disqus or Feminist Current? Stick around! This is an excellent outlet that has helped me understand how transversal patriarchy truly is. Even though it made me uncomfortable and feel defensive on some topics at times, I’ve learned a lot and I am particularly appreciative of how Feminist Currents does not waver in our aim of ending violence against women. Feminist Current looks at every and any issue through the prism of “will this end violence against women and girls or perpetuate the culture that allows it?” All ways, always!

    As for pole dancing, if you want a broader context, I’d recommend starting here:
    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2011/03/11/the-trouble-with-choosing-your-choice/

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2015/12/14/shit-liberal-feminists-say-choice/

    Do feel free to be the feminist you want to be but if there is one thing this article does well is being critical of something that we’ve been taught to love or at least tolerate. Look at the defensiveness with which people are responding when their dear pole dancing is being critically analyzed; that means we’ve touched a nerve… on patriarchy.

  • Bleeps

    Are any/most of them heterosexual?

  • Anthony Iggy B Santamaria

    https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007453 – just for some reference. How you can openly deny the legitimacy of the history of the swastika and then enforce the history of pole dancing and feminism is beyond me. The only difference between pole and gymnastics is the direction of the pole, one’s vertical, the other horizontal. Or you could do yoga and wear the tightest clothes, but because it didn’t start in a strip club it’s ok? Who cares if pole originated in strip clubs, it isn’t solely in them now. People are telling you they find it empowering, yet you deny them that experience because your opinion is somehow more valid.

  • Tired

    If it was completely non sexualised, why is she so underdressed? How come she is not in her trakkie daks (to use Australian speak) or a pair of overalls? Jesus, even long leotards would be a start. If it is judged purely on physical ability, why is her costume accentuating a near naked look towards the bottom? What was the average BMI (yes I know it’s problematic) of the contestants? Who were the judges? What is the criteria? (I bet you don’t get bonus points for having fully sick trackie daks)

    • Nicole Brors

      Why are you so critical of what she is wearing? Shouldn’t we all be allowed to express ourselves? Would you do that to a ballet dancer? I don’t think the problem lies in what she’s wearing, but in why people have issues with it. It reminds me of “well, she deserves to be raped, did you see how she was dressed?”

      Also…you literally cannot grip a pole without skin. You see those crazy tricks she does with her legs grabbing the pole? She is holding on by the skin of her thighs.

  • Rachel

    Are you serious?! Perverts commenting that it’s hot?! I feel sick. What the fuck is wrong with this world.

  • zirreael

    Thank you for this amazing article! Most commentators are so obnoxious. Whenever I see arguments, made by American third-wavers, I cannot get rid of a feeling, that they sound like hysterical, selfish children. “But I like that! I feel empowered! Mememe!”. Nobody cares, ffs. (Also, “male-identified people”? These guys are delusional. One cannot “identify” as something one is biologically not. I cannot identify as a rabbit, can I?). I used to be upset, that we didn’t have a second wave in Russia; on the other hand, we also avoided this horrid “lipstick feminism” follow-up, and can start with clean (radical) sheet now ) We still have some “choosy-choicers” and “make-up is empowering” crap, but almost no “pole dancing is empowering” and “BDSM is empowering”, thank Elbereth…

  • marv

    Even I, as a man, can readily see male institutional dominance is fortified by women poling. Men gawking at them feel aroused and affirmed no matter what the objects’ intentions are. We actually live within the material world of ‘man’kind not the artifice of frivolous visualization. You can’t wake up if you don’t know your’re asleep.

  • Accro Brandon

    im sure you werent thinking about it then is a true statement…but we arent in the past anymore so are you unable to take a step back from where you were and how you viewed pole then and look at it now and not see it in some what of a different light? Im not saying you have to support it or be accepting of pole dancing and how its grown and where it came from. If you have a sour taste in your mouth from your previous experience then nothing will erase that but you can also have some sort of respect for it…even if its in the smallest of percentile and not need to endorse it either.
    …and Im not defending my hobby..its a well paying career for me…I havent worked a 40 in a few years now..all i do know is perform, travel and teach not only pole but other modalities and for that I am indebted to all those fabulous strippers without whom I would never have crossed the path to meeting one of the major loves of my life who then introduced me to pole and aerial…

  • Rididill

    LAWC should sue them for libel

  • FakeFeminist

    This is still sexualized, it’s just a (barely) plausably-deniable version, like how escorts aren’t prostitutes. Good for people too embarrassed that they’re watching it for titillation purposes, because they can pretend it’s something else. But it’s literally a woman in a bikini gyrating around an erect pole.

    If this has nothing to do with sex, why isn’t there a 50-50 split of male and female participants and why are they all wearing bikinis.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I fail to see where anyone has argued that women in the ‘pole community’ are not ‘supportive.’ In general, I find it odd that most responses here go on and on about how great pole dancers are, without actually responding to the arguments made in the actual article.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Because men find this sexy, you shouldn’t do it” is not the argument made in the article, no…

    • Kendra Searls

      Well I’m just providing a condensed version of what you said. At least, what it looks like you said, from an outside persepctive.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Buuuuut that’s not what I said.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “I cant even begin to understand why you would make such blatant, sweeping, offensive comments like ‘Polers dont like feminists.'”

    Because you all have lost your shit over feminist ideas? I mean, you’d think that if they *didn’t* hate feminists, they wouldn’t have spent the last week obsessively screaming at them.

  • FakeFeminist

    “There is nothing sexual about a shoe.”

    OK, you are clearly not a good-faith reader of this website and you just came here to yell at us for having opinions that upset you. You don’t understand basic feminist concepts, you don’t understand how they’re applied, and you don’t understand the article. You also clearly don’t WANT to understand any of it. Notice I’m not saying “agree”. But you need to understand what’s being said before you can offer any useful debate.

    If you don’t think 10 inch “Pleaser boots” (why are they called that btw… I wonder) are sexual, it’s no surprise you don’t think pole-dancing is sexual. Very few regular readers of this website are going to accept your “shoes are shoes” assertion at face value, though. There is a wide ideological gap between the content/userbase of this site and the comments that you’re posting, and you’ve made no attempt to understand what that gap is and why it exists. There are probably eleventy million articles and books explaining the feminist argument for why high heels are sexualized and gendered. And your rebuttal is “nuh uhhhh”.

    Nobody is attacking underage girls for pole-dancing. Trust me, the blame is squarely on society and their parents.

  • Meghan Murphy

    No, no. The question is not, “When was the last time you saw a man or two in heels.” The question is, “When was the last time a man sought power by doing his workouts in seven inch heels.”

    Another way to phrase this rhetorical question/point is: Men do not need heels to gain ‘power’ because they already *have* power. High heels do not upset systems of power, even if they make you *feel* temporarily good about yourself.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Runners are not all skinny and in their 20s and 30s though… Nor are they all women. Weird how the running community, en mass, is not claiming that running is a form of feminist empowerment (and, in fact, a form of feminism in and of itself), despite the fact that running probably actually does feel really empowering for the people doing it. Why do you think that is?

  • Meghan Murphy

    “You call yourself a feminist and yet you are against the idea of allowing women to make their own decision to attend a pole dance fitness class.”

    lol. Yeah, I definitely said that. Literally said exactly that. Glad to see not only that you read the article before commenting but also that you can read my mind!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Aaaand this is why we say ‘polers’ are anti-feminist.

  • FakeFeminist

    I actually feel incredibly welcome here, after feeling very unwelcome in other feminist spaces for actually wanting to have and read rational discussions about feminism instead of a bunch of meaningless circlejerking. “I’m a feminist because I chose my choice, all choices are good choices and sexism is dead”. Gets very old fast if you actually care about change.

    • Gaiauchis

      It makes me wonder. If a woman say “i choose my choices” and also believes that women are opressed, my question is: Why do you choose to be opressed?

  • Meghan Murphy

    “I thought the point of feminism was demanding, searching out, and promoting the same basic liberties, freedom of expression, speech, act, LIFE as men.”

    No… Feminism is about ending violence against women and the system of patriarchy. Also, critical thought does not necessarily mean ‘tearing down.’

    Women can pole dance if they want, no one’s stopping them. Do you allow that women should also be allowed to think critically about gendered behaviours and activities, like pole dancing? Or no?

  • Meghan Murphy

    You still aren’t getting this, huh…

  • Meghan Murphy

    xx

  • Meghan Murphy

    Why is it irresponsible and ignorant? The point is that sexual objectification normalizes male power and female subordination which, in turn, normalizes male violence against women.

  • Meghan Murphy

    There is literally nothing wrong with this meme. I’m not sure what you want me to say about it.

    Also, I am a socialist and a radical feminist. You, on the other hand, are angrily defending capitalist patriarchy… But yeah, *I’m* the conservative…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Cult-like fanaticism for narcissistic practices seems not to allow for much critical thinking. Funny that.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Meh. Whatever. If you can’t come up with a convincing argument I guess I can’t make you.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I find it incredibly amusing that I am being accused of being ‘angry,’ despite the fact that hundreds of angry polers have descended on the feminist movement over the past week simply because they felt threatened by critical thinking. I actually *don’t* feel so much angry as I do amused by all this.

    All that said, accusing feminists of being angry (for good reason — there is a lot to be angry about in a patriarchy) is the oldest, most boring, sexist accusation in the book.

    Again, all you all are doing is reinforcing my point that ‘polers’ are anti-feminist. Soooo thanks?

    • Wren

      oh, she wasn’t kidding. That’s just a level of stupid you don’t encounter often.

  • Meghan Murphy

    But you’re all literally repeating the same thing over and over again.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I would argue that women are not, in fact, being oppressed by men, but rather by TONE.

  • Ana Paula Oliveira

    The competitions require teeny garments because of the gripping spots of skin we need to perform the movments on the pole. And everything Mindi said is true. I am one living exemple of a person that went through some terrible things in life and pole dancing helped me in countless ways. I’ve been practcing pole dance for 3 years now and NEVER, EVER performed for any sexual reasons. We do it for OURSELVES. If you generalize pole dance you DO have a problem with anyone that practices it for fun or for any other reason. Why not write an arcticle condemning STRIP CLUBS instead of condemning an activity that many women practice and love? The pole dancing in strip clubs is extremely different from the sports, you people should really inform yourselves before you go insluting and disrespecting many of us. And, no, we don’t need to wear high heels to pole dance. Mainly we don’t wear shoes at all. We only use shorts and tops during the classes. It is a community you didn’t even know that existed, how can you possibly think that you understand a thing about pole fitness?
    And, for the author. that was surprised of how we POLERS deffend our SPORT, how about learning a lesson from that? How about you stop and think that we LOVE this, that pole changes our conffidences, our minds and our lives and it is important to many WOMEN and MEN, just like any other sport.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I don’t care if you ‘love’ it. Whether or not you ‘love’ it has nothing to do with my analysis.

      • Ana Paula Oliveira

        Apparently you only care about your own point of view. I said plenty of reasonable arguments that you easily ignored 🙂

        • Meghan Murphy

          You seem to care an awful lot about my point of view too….

  • Meghan Murphy

    Wait, wait. Let me get this straight: Saying critical things about things some other people like = ‘sexism’? Do you think we should pass this new intel along to the women’s movement?

  • Meghan Murphy

    It’s not ‘offensive’, critical thinking just makes you feel uncomfortable. There’s a difference.

  • Meghan Murphy

    ‘Polers’ do seem to struggle with reading comprehension, don’t they…

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Women participating in pole dance doesn’t condone violence against them.”

    Of course it doesn’t. Who on earth argued such a thing?

    And yes, there are many constructive things you could be doing, as a supposed feminist, beyond railing on and on about how great pole dancing is.

    • Ana Paula Oliveira

      “Who on earth argued such a thing?”

      LAWC did with the meme they created. Did you forget?

      • Meghan Murphy

        That’s literally *not* what the meme says….

  • Meghan Murphy

    You all keep making the same points/asking the same questions over and over again and seem to think you’re being original. I’ve answered your question many times over (and have written about this many times as well, in articles): Yes, I wear makeup. Funny thing though — I don’t pretend I’m doing it ‘for me.’ I am well aware of the fact that I perform femininity to a certain extent and am aware of *why* I do. I do not have a problem thinking critically about my own socialized behaviour under patriarchy. Try it!

  • Meghan Murphy

    🙂

  • Meghan Murphy

    Who is being ‘slammed for something they take pride in’?

    Also, ‘girl power’ is nothing more than a marketing scheme. Yer capitalist shill rant is super convincing tho.

  • Meghan Murphy

    All choices? What if the choices other women make perpetuate sexism? Is every choice a woman makes an innately good one, simply because she made a choice? http://www.feministcurrent.com/2011/03/11/the-trouble-with-choosing-your-choice/

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Their post said we allow men to be violent basically.”

    No. It didn’t. Literally no one said that or believes that.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Read the comments here in defense of ‘poling’. They pretty much just say the same thing, over and over again.

  • Meghan Murphy

    No, sexism is not ‘in the eye of the beholder.’ Sexism is a systemic practice that exists within patriarchy in order to maintain male supremacy and female subordination.

  • Meghan Murphy

    At least you can admit you know nothing about feminism… Thank you.

    • Joel Lessing

      I think you are confusing knowledge of the somewhat specialized and erudite vocabulary around feminist scholarship with a general knowledge of what it means to be a feminist. It’s really simple. A feminist believes women should have the same opportunities as a man, should be paid equally for equal work, be free to move about in society safely without harrassment or danger based upon the externalities of clothing, body type, or presumptions about her sexual behavior, and make choices and receive expectations based upon merit and not gender. The fact that most people are not “up” on the latest terminology well inside the confines of a certain scholarly debate doesn’t disqualify them as feminists.

      I’ve scrolled up and down this thread for a few hours and I can see that pole dancers have stepped into the middle of some sort of internal argument that you are having within your OWN community. Your particular take on this subject seems to be that women who take up some of the traditional activities and signs of femininity–especially those related to sexuality and sensuality, like dancing, dressing sexually…– are somehow contributing to the problem of male violence. This looks suspiciously like victim blaming to me. I guess that my question to you would be, “Where does the MAN’s responsibility come about in all of this?” Indeed, if a million women sashay down the street in heels and mini-skirts, why cannot a man STILL understand that if he wants sexual contact with any of them, it’s a privilege and a gift she grants of her own free will and absent coercion? It’s really a simple notion called “consent.” When are you going to write the blog calling on men to clean up THEIR act?

      /joel lessing

      • Meghan Murphy

        Thank you for the explanation, Joel! And the suggestion! I have literally never written a single thing about male behaviour on this site. I should try that, eh?

      • Cassandra

        She is criticizing the institution of pole dancing and stripping because they are harmful to women as a class.

        Women are pressured into performing femininity. Femininity is used to control us and make us pleasing to the male gaze. As feminists we realize how strong this message is and we criticize that message all the damned time. And if women don’t perform femininity, boy are they gonna get it! You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That is not women’s fault. That is the fault of a male supremacist society. Also known as patriarchy.

        That you would characterize what Meghan and other feminists are saying as “victim blaming” is a clear indication that you can’t see the forest for the trees.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Did you also send this to all your poler friends hating on feminists?

  • Meghan Murphy

    And you CLEARLY have never stepped foot into the feminist movement. (Or a dictionary?) So?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Lotsa practice… 🙂

  • Meghan Murphy

    So you think every article that personally offends you should be removed from public discourse/the internet? Iiiiiiiinteresting….

    • Rididill

      I am just drowning in the insanity here. Like, pole dancing is a-ok and nothing to do with anything bad despite the fact that it is CLEARLY part of strip club culture. And for this reason it should be included on a Take Back the Night march, which is a feminist march against male violence, especially sexual violence.

      And yet, an article criticising it is SO dangerous and SO terrible and SO offensive it must be removed from public view forever. Literally just words on a page, making a criticism.

      Can you not SEE yourselves??

      Can you not see how incredibly absurd this is?

      • Cassandra

        “…despite the fact that it is CLEARLY part of strip club culture. And for this reason it should be included on a Take Back the Night march, which is a feminist march against male violence, especially sexual violence.”

        Strip clubs ARE male sexual violence.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Arguing that objectification normalizes male power, which in turn normalizes violence against women is not the same as saying that women ‘allow men to be violent’.

  • Meghan Murphy

    So you want me to respond to the same boring comments, over and over again, despite the fact that I already outlined my arguments clearly in the article? I’ma go with no…. That’s really not a good or productive use of my time.

  • Meghan Murphy

    HA.

  • FakeFeminist

    I guess if the majority of people believe something is OK, it must be true. Societal norms are, without a doubt, immutable and nonsexist and just.

    Although, then this means… people have always agreed that women innately have the right to vote, to choose a career as something other than a housewife or prostitute or nun, to hold political office, to say “no” to sex with their husbands. These must have never been controversial opinions, because they’re right, and the majority view always reflects the right view.

    I guess at the end of the day, “feminist” is a pretty useless label, since it just means that we agree with everyone else, since everyone else is always right. But I’m glad everything has always been perfect forever, and is now, and will always be. It’s very comforting. Thank you.

  • Alienigena

    What I meant to say is that I didn’t find people in the sciences to be that flexible or open to other perspectives (e.g. other non-scientific disciplines, that I was studying (I have a science degree) while working in the lab). In fact my boss, whom I liked and respected at the time, suggested that the strong man approach was the best approach to ruling certain countries. Claiming that having a science background makes you open to other perspectives seems a bit laughable given my eight years of experience working in a research lab with scientists, undergrad and graduate students. I think ‘least likely to be open’ would be a more accurate description.

  • Meghan Murphy

    wtf are you on about? Who has suggested ‘banning’ women from doing anything? Don’t you people know how to read?

  • Meghan Murphy

    What does that have to do with feminism or anything argued in the article?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Who has told women what they can and cannot do with their bodies?

    • Cassandra

      I can’t even believe how many times I’ve read the word “empowering” in this comment section. It’s like I’m in one long Dove commercial.

      I really would like to know what they feel they are being empowered to do.

      • Just Passing Through

        I know, I still have no idea … I’ve been waiting for even ONE person to answer that question and its been asked many times. Empowered to do what?

        • Day C Keller

          Here is a list of things pole empowered me to:
          – Accepting my body the way it is – I no longer care if I’m overweight, have an ugly nose or a bad hair. Pole showed me that the human body is capable of unbelievable things and I love it so much more now.
          – Power to believe in myself. On my first pole dance class I saw girls doing things that my eyes deemed physically impossible. A year later I was capable of doing those things. It tool a lot of hard work and training, but the feeling of accomplishment was beyond anything I ever dreamed possible and it translated to my “real” life. I gained confidence that if I dedicated myself enough I could do just about anything. I left an abusive relationship, moved back to San Francisco and got a job in a startup as I always dreamed of.
          – Empowered me to connect with myself. When I started pole I was awkward and incredibly tight. There was no flow, you know why? I’m a control freak, so for every move I learned, I grasped the pole way too much and never let go. Slowly I understood that I’d have to take some risks like holding with one hand and sometimes not even holding at all. The fear I felt got me thinking: why am I so scared? I connected with my body and learned a lot about myself – it just so happens I do the same thing in life, grasping to safety way too hard and hindering my own progress. It has changed and I’m now able to speak in public and be assertive about my opinion.
          – I also learned things like discipline and dedication and what they can do for you. I started to pay attention to my daily life and how many activities like sitting for too long or my posture was harming my body. I fixed it, I am a healthier person.
          – Power of being present. If is there one thing about pole is, if you’re not fully present, you are going to fall and break your neck. Paying attention to every part of your body is important and it carries to you daily life. I’m no longer distracted and slave of my feelings. I’m present with whatever I’m doing and it’s liberating. I overcame social anxiety because I’m no longer overthinking things in my head.

          Could I have found those things in other activity? Yes, obviously, but I found it through pole, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

          Lastly, I couldn’t care less about being sexy. I fell in love with pole through Cirque du Soleil. I do gymnastics and yoga in order to improve my moves. I failed to see why a bunch of strangers that never tried pole think they know more about it than us.

          • Hierophant2

            You say you are “empowered.” What ACTUAL power do you have? Physical, financial, political, ideological, or what? What power are you talking about? Can you actually name the specific ways in which you are actually “empowered”?

            (And yes, I am going to keep asking this until I get an answer III)

          • Polly Hanna

            There’s only a million other things you could do, that don’t involve displaying your body in sexual ways, that are still sports. You could have joined a volleyball team with other women, and gotten great results, body acceptance wise, and probably more real connection with other women. But nah, why do that. Women hate each other, and are competing for male attention… the true path to enlightenment is to discover that you too, can be an objectified female, worthy of the male gaze!

      • Amie

        I often heard that word associated with pole and until I became a pole dancer I did not understand it either. Pole fitness requires a HUGE amount of strength. Way more than the average person realizes. Many women who work out (not all of course) have a tendacy to focus on cardio. Pole on the other hand requires a huge amount of a upper body and core strength.. A certain type of strength that is not normally associated with female fitness. Being able to achieve this high level of strength through pole is the main reason why pole fitness is very empowering! the sexy part of pole also plays a part. just being sexy can certainly be empowering for some.. But Being sexy AND physically stronger than the average man. Well that is very empowering! That being said the sexy part is a choice and not the main source of the “empowerment” ..

  • Rachael

    You’re fighting rape culture by willingly objectifying yourself? What…?

  • Kendra Searls

    Apparently it does though, if you believe pole dancing is only for male titillation

    • Cassandra

      You’re the one who said that pole dancing and belly dancing is about women expressing their sexuality. Funny how that expression is patriarchy approved.

      If we didn’t live in a patriarchy none of this would matter. But we do.

    • Hannah

      It IS only for male titillation…in the real world that we live in. Some of us actually want to change things, not pretend everything is ok in our fantasy world where everything is ok and nothing is connected to anything else. We don’t live in a utopia, our actions matter and are affected by everyone in society.

  • Rachael

    Manson had a family too, you know.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t ‘approve’ or ‘not approve’ of ‘pole’. That’s not what my article is about. My arguments are laid out clearly in the article. Try reading it.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Feminist words now constitute ‘abuse’?? WOW! You sure do understand how violence against women works!

  • Cassandra

    Men have been making objects out of women long before Meghan Murphy came along. She’s simply pointing out how the system works. Do you really think they need her permission or that she’s giving it? Ha!

    It’s very sad to see how many women don’t understand systems of oppression.

    • Katharina Nordh

      Nope, and I never said that either – what I said was that men who make objects out of pole dancing women will say “I am Right, because a woman said so”
      Granted, they would still have been doing it – but now, they have also been given permission. Regardless of whether they needed it or not – it has now been given.

      • Hannah

        Where did you read anything that implies Meghan gives men permission to objectify women?
        By the way, you do realize you are literally blaming Meghan, a woman, for shitty actions of men? And you’re accusing her of validating sexism? You’re actually nuts lol

      • Cassandra

        You’re confusing the chicken and the egg.

  • Rididill

    I love how feminist critique is now ‘degrading’ but writhing around on a pole in a manner explicitly drawn from strip clubs is practically revolutionary.

    You have a really weird conception of the word ‘degrading’. And also really great skill at massively twisting the meaning of the article.

  • Alienigena

    Your argument is of the “No True Scotsman” variety. “All true Scotsman are brave”. If a counter example is given, you respond “Then so and so is not a true Scotsman. Every pole dancer you know is feminist. Therefore pole dancing is a feminist pursuit. Conducted a continent wide survey on the beliefs of pole dancers have you? A logical fallacy. http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logical-fallacies

  • Rididill

    “Attacking women for their views, acting like a petulant child and
    screaming on top of anyone with a differing view than yours, is counter
    intuitive to everything you “say” you want.”

    This is literally what all of you pro-pole types are doing.

  • FakeFeminist

    I hope you tipped off CPS. Even if training your prepubescent child to be a stripper doesn’t officially qualify as abuse (???), I’d bet dollars to donuts a quick investigation would turn up more evidence of abuse. Someone who puts a stripper pole in their child’s bedroom is being absolutely unapologetic about their sexual grooming.

  • Cassandra

    Feminism is not about equal rights.

    Feminism is a political movement the goal of which is female liberation from patriarchal oppression, of which pole-dancing and stripping are prime examples.

  • Cassandra

    And using the term “feminazi” is super classy!

  • Gaiauchis

    “Do you know how many studio owners actually struggle to keep their studio running? ” why don’t you guys strip for money? Stop being so sex-negative, slut shamers, duh.

  • Rididill

    you know what would be better? if women didn’t need to feel ‘sexy’ in male-defined, objectified terms to be strong enough to leave an abuser

  • Gaiauchis

    , “I’m a feminist male” DUDE, you’re so funny!

    • Alienigena

      Especially someone who seems to make a living off of photographing pole dancers. Vested interest in ensuring it continues.

  • Hierophant2

    You are hilarious. Men will always objectify women, so that makes it okay for women to objectify themselves? What kind of stupid, ass backwards reasoning is that? Do you have no dignity or sense of self-preservation?

  • Hierophant2

    That sounds like a great idea for a satire. I hope you don’t mind if I use it.

    • Anthocerotopsida

      It’s not so much an idea for a satire as it is a satire that I’ve already written.

      • Hierophant2

        Oh yea? Where is it?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Incredible, isn’t it!

  • Hierophant2

    What the fuck is a “slut drop.” Is that like “sub drop”? The euphemistic term BDSMers use for PTSD.

    • Melanie

      It’s an empowering, feminist term. Get with the times.

  • Wire Bead

    Curious : why not use fabric which grips, instead of bare legs? (I am aware that the IPSF bans this, not sure why). What’s up with the 6 inch stilettos worn by some in non-IPSF competitions? Those shoes certainly can’t be helpful for grip or safety.

    I did notice that photos of ancient Chinese double pole acrobatics all show men competing, and these men all are wearing long pants. In fact, if you google Chinese pole acrobatics, most of the photos show men with full length pants or tights on.

  • Hierophant2

    Men have power… and don’t use high heels to get it. Therefore women should use high heels to…??

    If you polers who comment here are a representative sample, then polers are all fucking idiots who can’t use basic logic.

    • FakeFeminist

      Agreed, I’ve yet to see a single argument in this thread from a poler that 1. actually addresses the points made in the article and 2. makes an honest effort at rationality instead of lazy emotional appeals. Then they complain that we’re not taking them seriously. No shit?

  • Wire Bead

    “They are .. CELEBRATING their feminine essence…”.

    “Feminine essence”? What is that, exactly?

    • Mindi B

      If you need to ask, then that’s worrying. Go find out.

      • Cassandra

        What’s worrying is that you think there’s such a thing as “feminine essence.”

    • ptittle

      It’s what you express with your middle finger, Wire Bead! Go ahead, celebrate it, celebrate it! I know you can! 🙂

  • Hierophant2

    “What I don’t understand is how a feminist can claim to be a feminist by tearing down other women”

    Which is precisely what you polers are doing right here, right now, by tearing down Meghan for the TRUTH she wrote about the events. A TRUE FEMINIST. You people are pikers. (and polers, I know, but mostly pikers)

  • Wire Bead

    I personally have no problem with athletes wearing apparel that is appropriate to their sport. However, once the apparel is sexualized or glammed up for marketing purposes, it takes away from the sport – see, for example, the reaction of female tennis players when Nike tried to have the players wear Nike’s NikeCourt Premier Slam Dress at Wimbledon.

    In the case of pole athletics, skimpy clothing for females may serve mainly to remind the viewer of pole dancing’s strip club roots.

    Google Chinese pole acrobatics. Most of the men in the videos or photos are wearing long tights. However do they avoid falling off the pole and dying?

  • Cassandra

    “…being on the ‘fringe’ as regular commenters here are is a worthy position as it gradually pulls the masses in line.”

    I sure hope you’re right.

  • Melanie

    Many women have been abused and exploited by men in the sex industry, in stripping and pole dancing clubs. Therefore taking up pole dancing to heal themselves is not an option for them. I was groomed into prostitution when I was 17 years old. One of the first things my pimp/boyfriend did was take me to a strip club and along with one of his shady friends try to coerce me up on stage. I got out of that abusive situation with housing, social support, counseling, education – not by spinning around a pole in my underwear being ‘sexy’. Being sexually objectified by men was the problem, not the solution.

  • Gaiauchis

    Are you a stripper?

  • Kendall Turtle

    We really just question why pole dancing is a sexual expression of women, it seems very performance based and not really anything to do with female sexuality… So it’s really an expression of male sexuality.

  • Gaiauchis

    And btw, it’s not called “hardcore feminist”. The correct is “feminism”, if you know what I mean 🙂

  • Alienigena

    No, skimpy swimsuits are not needed for optimum performance. The full body suit is worn by some men and women in training for competitive swim meets. The Olympics ban them because they are ‘fast’ suits and enhance performance. The suits reduce passive body drag. So no, skimpy suits are not needed for excellent length swim performance. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24796982

  • Hannah

    How on earth is she bringing other women down? I see a woman who cares about women and how we are taught to find value in our appeal to men, thereby letting them control how we think and act. Try reading it through that frame of mind rather than bleating the same “free choice” BS and you might get something out if it. I won’t hold my breath though.
    And for the record, I and many other women have found power reading this site. I can tell who is new here and new to these ideas because it shows clearly that you haven’t read the years of analysis made by the women who run this site. And it’s true freedom, dismantling the f*cked up thought processes we all grow up with but never question, not pretending we have power by maintaining the same status quo. Things have to actually change, that’s the only way things will change lol I don’t know why its hard for people to understand that…

  • Wren

    I think we should bring back foot binding since we’re resurrecting ancient Chinese practices.

    • Gaiauchis

      YOU GO GIRL!

  • atheist

    I am pretty sure we have heard your “argument” or “defense” numerous times before and a lot of radfems have discussed about this. Next!

  • Wire Bead

    No, dude. It is not OK to tell women and girls that stripping naked for perverted males is a viable career. If you love the idea so much, go find yourself a strip job in a gay club and leave women and girls alone.

  • marv

    The spectacle of current cultural phallic pole stunts brings to mind another allegory: dog and pony shows. Some of the animals may actually feel emboldened by the rewards/treats they receive for dancing in circles and jumping but human animal supremacy put them there. If the canines and horses decided to no longer perform for their masters but for themselves it wouldn’t nullify the FACT that the long history of domestication/objectification is the social structure that frames their new found choices and desires. Humans are amused either way. Men are too by polers’ illusions of autonomy. Animals and human animals are easily duped despite how smart the latter think they are.

  • Wren

    Ehhh, I’m not really cool with equating bouge women having “fun” in their pole class with victims of prostitution or abuse. That’s not what MacKinnon is saying.

  • Wren

    Yep yep.

  • Alienigena

    As to the claim “times have changed … the issue discussed is the PRESENT, not the past”. As far as I know pole dancing still happens in strip clubs. And if you really cared about women and girls you would not be so arrogant in assuming that you can lecture women about feminism.

    “To the vast majority of the conservative thinking public, EVERYTHING objectifies women – UNTIL you do some real research first-hand and see how things ARE progressing.” No, the true conservatives support the status quo which is women treating men as if they were the centre of the universe and men getting off on it. I guess you found a primo spot as one of the men in a mostly female sphere. Yeech. If things have changed so much why is there such a high rate of sexual assault amongst young males (assaulting females) in Australia? Is that what you consider progress? And what does your ‘research’ involve?

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2016/09/06/whats-current-49/

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2016/08/16/whats-current-go-get-boys-australian-schoolgirls-targeted-porn-ring/

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2016/03/13/growing-up-pornland-australian-girls/

  • Meghan Murphy

    You know how to read words, yeah?

  • Alienigena

    Since you don’t seem to understand how retrograde and Gingrish-like using the term feminazi makes you seem. Here is a link to an article that should provide some insight.

    “The word is a direct assertion of misogyny. Women
    do not need to be radical to be called a feminazi. They simply have to
    challenge sex inequality. Advocates of the word contend that the
    inequalities women face in society are acceptable, even inevitable, and
    cannot be changed by movements for justice and equality. They define
    harm inflicted on women as insignificant or fictitious.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/01/feminazi-feminists-women-rights-feminism-charlotte-proudman

  • Wren

    yeah it’s true. It’s like these teachers and proponents are pimping out women’s insecurities. It’s the dishonesty that kills me. Pole dancing has nothing to do with feminism, nor do any of my own personal efforts to look attractive to men. But wearing makeup or whatever is not sending a message with nearly the same level of negative impact as the normalizing of “the pole.”

    • radwonka

      ” women’s insecurities.”

      exactly, the vocabulary, “it helps to have self confidence”, is clearly abusive. Strangely, they don’t explain why women have to spread legs to “feel self confident”. They’re very dishonest.

  • Wren

    This cheered me up.

  • Wren

    If you want to promote the athleticism, why is your user image clearly a sexy stripper??? I mean, really…please you cannot be this silly.

  • Alienigena

    I have put a lot of time and money into stop motion animation but I certainly wouldn’t defend it to the death as the penultimate form of animation. You have to be a certain kind of fanatic to be as angry as some of the people on this forum are about any criticism of their favorite activity. You have to be a bit of a crackpot.

  • Alienigena

    So poling is a calling not a job. Do you have to take holy orders of some kind? A lot of people volunteer hundreds of hours or more of their time yet they don’t expect a pat on the back for what they consider to be an activity with intrinsic value. Like Wren I’m glad you don’t make the big bucks, means that poling is not as mainstream as you try to convince people that it is.

  • Wren

    wow you’re a fucking idiot

  • Mindi B

    It can be a tool, of which there are many, for women who regain their self-empowerment. Some women choose other things, some women choose pole. Don’t berate them for their choices – sexist men are already perfecting that unfortunate kind of thing.

    • Gaiauchis

      how they gain “self-empowerment.”? What power they have?

  • Pole dancing was born around 5000 years ago by Indian men who danced and played on poles… what is practiced in strip clubs came from Go-Go dancing. There’s a lot of errors here in this article. I’m not saying this article or the events that the LAWC choose are wrong – I’m saying there are too many generalizations here and too many branches of pole dancing classes to say they are all the same. I personally teach private embodiment classes to MEN and WOMEN in a sacred safe space where we play on a vertical ballerina bar. But we also move sensually without a pole. And if we host a performance – it’s also in a safe space of respect, art, and appreciation. I would say a lot of what my colleagues and I teach are more Beyonce style movement type classes. And this being said – I personally would not perform or have Beyonce or Prince if he was still with us – perform at LAWC as I don’t feel it’s the right energy or space.

  • Gaiauchis

    You can enjoy cooking or have babies, still doesn’t change the fact that women who doesn’t will be pressured and bad mouthed for it. Because, you know, this is what society expect and demand women to do.

  • Mindi B

    You’ll figure it out someday…

    • Meghan Murphy

      Oh my god, please shut the fuck up. You — a man — shows up on a feminist site to tell women, condescendingly, that they should find and celebrate their ‘feminine essence?? Something that is not only *not* a real thing, but an incredibly sexist, regressive idea? You are so, so out of line dude.

  • Gaiauchis

    I would love to know what you define as empowerment. I mean, for real. Because all of you are using this word.

  • Gaiauchis

    It’s like, female sexuality for them = be wanted. And they dare to criticize women who really want to be pleasured, not in a pornified way, not just perform an act or have a man cum at her face and never have an orgasm.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Hating on?” Or, “making arguments we don’t like or agree with that we are unable to contest so instead claim we are somehow being persecuted”?

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Empowerment,” if we’re talking about the term in a feminist sense, should not just be about some individuals feeling personally good about themselves. I mean, it is of course ok for you to feel good about yourself, and if pole dancing makes you feel good, go for it, but feminism is about actually changing systems of power, not just ensuring that a few women feel celebrated for their choice of hobbies.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Indeed! All these ‘feminists’ surely will be back in droves as we continue talking about the global problem of male violence against women, right?? Surely they can’t just have only shown interest in ‘feminism’ once feminists happened to mention their favorite hobby, right??

  • Meghan Murphy

    You aren’t really understanding the analysis are you? The argument is not either that women *shouldn’t* pole dance or that women shouldn’t “do things that men find sexy.” The argument is that, 1) Pole dancing is inappropriate for an anti-male violence against women event, and 2) Imagery and activities that exist primarily for the male gaze/male pleasure do not challenge patriarchal ideas or sexism. It is not about what I do and do not ‘approve of’, as an individual. It’s about looking at things like pole-dancing and burlesque through a feminist lens and questioning the impact of the messaging/imagery.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Looks like the ‘stigma’ has been removed. And yet the objectification remains….

    Also, that doesn’t make any sense. ‘Stigma’ is not what defines or produces objectification.

  • Meghan Murphy

    No, his perspective is the feminist perspective. Also, I really don’t understand what argument you are trying to make here.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Does pole dancing exist in a magical bubble that exists separately from patriarchy and the male gaze? That would be a weird thing to argue, considering that pole dancing generally is understood to exist *for* the male gaze…

  • Meghan Murphy

    I linked to a YouTube video from the Pole House. It was a class taught by the woman who came up with the idea to do this ‘pole demonstration’ and then organized ‘Take Back the Pole.’ The video/class features women in stripper heels, showcasing their crotch for a would-be audience, and writhing around on the floor, as a stripper would in a strip club. Did you see that video? Or are you just talking out of your ass? You don’t know shit about feminism or about women’s oppression, so please stfu.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Hmmm I feel happy, tho? Thanks for asking! xx

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m not wrong.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It very clearly is a cult. And yes, is fucking creepy.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes. You are so right about all of this. I have been thinking about this for a while now, because as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I got the exact same reaction for burlesque dancers when I dared criticize burlesque, and the same thing from women who like taking sexy selfies (like, REALLY!?!??!?!) when I pointed out that self-objectification was not actually feminist/empowering… I *think* it’s new? I can’t say for sure because I’ve only been around since ’79, but it seems to me to be deeply connected to narcissism and individualism as well as to anti-intellectualism. The idea of critique is not fathomable to these people — they can’t handle the idea that critical thinking can happen, even about our own personal behaviour and ‘likes’, and instead see everything as a personal attack. It’s part just, like extreme stupidity (they don’t have a desire to think critically about the world around them, in other words — I don’t mean these people were born stupid, they just don’t challenge themselves) and part selfish, childish narcissism that has likely come from growing up in a neoliberal society that prioritizes personal ‘liberty’ and consumer ‘choice’ above social movements and the collective good.

  • Meghan Murphy

    lol. The burlesquers tried this on me too, over this photo: http://www.feministcurrent.com/2013/09/23/responding-to-critiques-of-burlesque-cheat-sheet-crazy-making-edition/

    They have no idea how copyright law works and that, in the media, we are allowed to critique imagery without being sued. This American SUE EVERYONE notion is, as you say, something popular among right wingers. Unsurprising, considering their conservative/regressive views on feminism, critical thought, and freedom of speech.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Naw. You want to keep women in their place. That’s why you keep telling them to find their ‘feminine essence.’ Stop flattering yourself — you are part of the problem.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I already *have* merit. I do not wish to have whatever anti-intellectual narcissistic sexist babies like you consider to be ‘merit’. And no, I didn’t put Ana down. I just responded in a way you don’t like. Stop tone-policing women.

  • Meghan Murphy

    What ‘community’ are you referring to, Mindi? Do you mean the feminist movement? Because you are not a part of that…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes. You have to *do* BDSM in order to be qualified to criticize it. It’s funny because the burlesque people demanded I watch burlesque shows before I form an opinion, but when I told them I’d seen lots of burlesque, they were like, “Oh! But not the right kind of burlesque!” “Actually, you need to see MORE burlesque.” I’d take burlesque classes too, but none of this was acceptable ‘experience,’ because I hadn’t yet joined their cult and they just couldn’t accept that a person could not be in uncritical awe of burlesque.

    Beside all that, one obviously does not have to participate in something in order to be critical (like, do I have to be a capitalist to criticize capitalism?!?!).

  • Meghan Murphy

    Did you not read the article? My arguments are laid out quite clearly there. Read it again if you feel confused.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh really?? Where did I say that?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Hey bud, we have *lots* of male allies in this movement. Some of whom are right here in this comment section! You just happen to not be one of them.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Well yes, there is some mocking along with the critical analysis. Makes for a more fun read don’t ya think?

  • Mindi B

    Cassandra, yes, you’re right, sexist men DO cause it by paying to watch women on poles – IN STRIP CLUBS. But note, that is NOT the same kind of people that this article is about. They are not the same.

    As for all the men you mention – there are actually a few of us posting in this comments section. Not just me.

  • Anthocerotopsida

    Sad to say that I can’t take credit for empowerfulized. Can’t remember where I first heard it though.

    How many ways can we say “just because you like it doesn’t mean that it’s good” “you can like problematic things, but you shouldn’t make excuses for them”? Or how about “we’re critiquing the thing, we’re NOT attacking or giving orders to the people who do the thing”?

    These are such simple, intuitive concepts that I’ve resorted to mocking satire in hope that they’ll understand.

    I’m not joking though. I had fries and beer for lunch yesterday. I knew it wasn’t the best choice, but I did it. And it was enjoyable.

    In the summer I shave my legs because the patriarchal pressure to do so becomes too much for me to bear. I don’t lie to myself and say that I enjoy spending an extra 15 minutes in the shower, wasting water and drying out my skin. I call it what it is; capitulating to patriarchal pressure. I don’t want to be the weird hairy lady at the beach drawing nasty looks. I like the way my legs look in shorts better when they’re hairless because the patriarchy has conditioned me to think that. I don’t feel good about it. I don’t feel ashamed of it either. A bitch has to do what she has to do to cope. I don’t make excuses and I sure as hell don’t call leg hair removal feminism.

    And that’s OK!

    You like pole dancing? Then have at it! I hope you get every positive thing you could ever hope for out of your dumb hobby. But your dumb hobby isn’t off limits to analysis by people who think your hobby is dumb.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I, too, have had to resort to mocking and satire. We’ve laid this out too many time, politely and clearly. They simply don’t want to read/hear it.

  • Cassandra

    You sound like an MRA.

  • Elizabeth

    And that’s why you have so many people in the pole community commenting here.. “Outside of the pole community…”.
    The pole dancing community that dances as a way to stay fit and feel however they like to feel (strong, beautiful, sexy, artistic, etc) is not causing more opression for women who are already being exploited. You will not hear anyone in the community who wouldn’t do everything in its power to help a woman get out of a bad situation. If anything, pole can and has Been a safe place for many women to transition to a community who will not judge them and will support them.

  • Cassandra

    The sexual objectification that pole dancing perpetuates is blatant misogyny. Pointing that out is not misogyny. Feminists have no obligation to support every choice women make just because they’re women making a choice. That’s not feminism.

  • Cassandra

    I smell sock.

  • Meghan Murphy

    No, no. You are not an ally to the feminist movement. Like, the whole thing. I know you like some women (I’m assuming the ones with ‘feminine essence’), but liking some women is not the same as supporting the goals of the feminist movement. Take care!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ha. It’s incredibly amusing that you think I — a woman — simply don’t understand or haven’t been around women who do or like burlesque. Why don’t *you* step out of *your* ‘comfort zone’ and explore radical feminism and this site before presuming to know shit about women’s liberation.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Naw bro. That’s not how this works. I’m not going to repeat myself over and over again in the comment section because you’re too lazy to read my articles.

  • Meghan Murphy

    This has nothing to do with individual ‘polers’. This is about systemic and feminist analysis of systems of power and objectifying imagery. It doesn’t *matter* what some individuals think or feel about ‘poling’.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Duuuuude. I have been doing this work for a long time. You want to read more? Knock yourself out. It’s all here.

    And lol at the fact you think feminist ideas are ‘abusive’. You know real women are abused every day across the world, specifically because of the ideas *you* promote? Such as femininity? Which reinforces the gender hierarchy?

    Patriarchy exists because men decided they want to control women’s female bodies — they turned women into property to be used and traded among men. They invented gender roles (femininity and masculinity) in order to reinforce and naturalize gender inequality. You don’t know shit about abuse and it is certainly not your place to explain to women (victims of male violence) that their anger at men like you is somehow the problem. Go away.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Love and compassion doesn’t really change the world though…. Social movements do.

    Also, the personal life styles of ‘polers’ have no bearing on my/feminist arguments w/r/t pole dancing.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I know you are a dude preaching and condescending to women about finding their ‘feminine essence’ on a feminist website.

    Also, where is all this ‘screaming’ and keyboard smashing happening? I feel perfectly calm and obviously it’s pissing you off. Projecting sexist stereotypes onto me in an attempt to discredit my arguments is what anti-feminist men have been doing to women for centuries. (Like, call me “hysterical” next why don’t ya.) You have no arguments so you’ve resorted to making shit up. You are a boring, sad, sexist, cliche.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Is this a joke? My entire job is based in my understanding and analysis of the system of power called patriarchy. I’ve done the ‘research’, trust me.

  • Meghan Murphy

    As long as you’re here, I’m gonna keep making fun of you… Promise.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, you can change systems of power without changing yourself (unless ‘changing yourself’ means becoming a feminist and therefore, changing your political analysis?). This is not a self help book, this is a political movement. Personal feelings of empowerment are great, but don’t impact anyone but the individual feeling those feelings.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh my god. Arguing against sexist objectification and strip clubs is not the same thing as ‘banning’ women from pole dancing. The only reason women pole dance in strip clubs is FOR MEN. It’s not about women’s freedom. Even if we *did* successfully change society to the point where pole dancing in strip clubs no longer existed, you would still be free to pole dance if you wanted to in your house or whatever.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You keep talking about ‘research’, but what is all this ‘research’ you think I need to have done in order to argue that there shouldn’t be pole dancing at a TBTN event?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Well, I’ve been interacting with them all week, and they’ve made it very clear that they aren’t feminist and that they hate feminists.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Try reading comprehension.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It’s slowed down because I have other work to do and can’t spend my entire day moderating the repetitive comments. And no, I wasn’t wrong in anything I argued.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Naming and criticizing sexism does not perpetuate sexism.

  • Meghan Murphy

    A feminist extremist! EEEEEK!

    And you’re an anti-feminist. So what now?

    In any case, you all seem to find this petition veeery exciting, despite the fact that it failed. I mean, like, what is your point? People who hate feminism try to silence feminists? This is not news to anyone here. Here’s some more background on that situation:

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_sex_industrys_attack_on_feminists_20150529
    https://www.change.org/p/rabble-ca-we-need-meghan-murphy-2
    http://awcep.org/news/open-letter-rabbleca
    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2015/05/15/in-support-of-meghan-murphy-in-support-of-feminism/
    https://thefinalwave.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/open-letter-to-rabble-re-meghan-murphy/

  • Meghan Murphy

    You are clearly an experienced gaslighter, Mindi! Surprise! The New Age Dude is actually an abuser himself! (No surprise.) http://www.feministcurrent.com/2011/12/29/chill-out-dear-an-open-letter-to-the-new-age-dude/

  • Meghan Murphy

    Pole dancing doesn’t exist outside patriarchy, sorry.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Radical”, w/r/t feminism, means “root.” And yes, we do need to get at the root of women’s oppression in order to address it. Just because you don’t understand what words mean doesn’t make those words wrong.

  • pyrite00

    What is your problem, Mindi? You are acting like a tin-pot tyrant and making DEMANDS over the issue of pole-dancing? Why can’t you just say “huh, that other person has a different take on pole-dancing than I do” and just get on with your life?

  • pyrite00

    I do beading as a hobby, I love it and find it fun and challenging. Takes concentration and spatial thinking. But I DO NOT go screaming around the internet at anybody who says it is a stupid waste of time hobby making trinkets that often can’t be sold at a price that will justify the time spend making it. Not something I am going to fight over – cannot for the life of me figure out why people are going so nuts at Meghan over a stupid fucking thing like pole-dancing.

    • FakeFeminist

      Oh oh, now I’m imagining if someone made a beading version of the meme that got the polers all upset. Like if somebody swapped out the poler image for the image of someone doing beadwork and left everything else exactly the same. I’m like 99% sure that the “beading community”, if they saw it, would just be like… “WTF are these crazies talking about” and move on with their life.

      It’s almost as if they’re afraid we have a point.

  • pyrite00

    I have friends who are obsessed with car racing….they travel in RVs to to car events. They eat, drink and pray car racing. I make jokes about paying all the money to watch a bunch of guys make a 500 mile long left turn. They laugh. If your hobby is so great and you think it is so harmless, WHY can’t you just shrug off the fact that not everybody in the world thinks the same way as you do?

  • Meghan Murphy

    The photo’s already online… Now someone has used it to put forth an argument. Who cares?

    • Kris Mac

      I disagree. Because the meme doesn’t say “we hate patriarchy and therefore…”, it says that the actions of those women “normalizes men’s violence towards women”. I would be horrified if my image was used in such a way. And if it was some random blogger or vexed feminist acting as an individual, I might agree with you that there isn’t much to be done about it. But again, this is a government funded organization…and therefore misconduct on their part. Which is why suddenly no one in their camp wants to address the existence of this meme.

      To your credit, while you failed to report the meme in your article, you are at least acknowledging my comments here…literally every other comment i have made on this meme has been ignored or deleted by supporters of the LAWC. I don’t expect everyone to love pole dancing…and you and I clearly have different definitions of feminism…but that really isn’t the issue I am trying to address. The issue is that a government-funded entity who’s job is to protect women does not get to pick and choose what types of women it supports.

  • Alienigena

    Oona Kivelä Pole Art. Splendid, seriously. She does more a lot more writhing around on the floor (and pole) than other performers whose videos are posted on this site. The male gaze … have you heard of it? Your comments reflect it utterly. And the fact that you think women should see the world as you do, is really offensive. You really should read Ms. Murphy’s post on women not being men’s mommies. You seem to expect constant affirmation from women, and if you don’t get it you become abusive.

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2016/08/29/six-reasons-not-mother-fix-your-own-self/

    That you have no interest in learning more about feminism (not the fiction you’ve concocted), the work that has been done by real women past and present demonstrates to me that you don’t take your own advice … to open up to other possibilities. You preach, but don’t live your so-called principles. You are truly a male chauvinist pig. An MCP.

  • pyrite00

    Dude, you are having a full bore mantrum all over these comments because a woman wrote something you disagree with. Get a life.

  • pyrite00

    So, tell us, can a person who has never done police work criticize the police? Many cops say non-cops don’t know what their life is like and should not open their ignorant mouths. Should all the BLM protesters shut up and go away unless they have actually worked as police officers?

  • Cassandra

    No it’s not about “equal rights” and it never has been. Women’s Liberation. Also, wikipedia is a joke.

  • Kris Mac

    Why on earth would I lie about being Canadian? I live in London, Ontario…but thanks for the geography lesson.

    And yes, the image was copyrighted, I’ve spoken with the owners of the photograph. Do you assume that because I’m a pole dancer I am too dim witted to know how to create a well articulated and fact-based argument? Are you this condescending towards all women who oppose you, simply because they oppose you?

    As for the meme, if there is nothing wrong with it, then why does everyone in the LAWC’s camp (including Meghan Murphy) continually fail to address it?

    Meghan Murphy is a feminist extremist…her views do not represent those of all women…they do not even represent those of all feminists

    (see http://shamelessmag.com/blog/entry/an-open-letter-to-the-editors-of-rabble.ca).

    This said, Ms. Murphy is entitled to her views. But the LAWC is a government funded organization. They have no right to spend their time publishing extremist propaganda which discriminates against pole dancers, and is not reflective of the views of the majority of Canadian women (And no, I’m not saying that the majority of Canadian women love pole dancing, I’m saying that the majority of them would not support the statement that pole fitness normalizes men’s violence towards women.)

    Pole fitness does not normalize men’s violence towards women. Violent men normalize men’s violence towards women.

  • Bleeps

    OK… and why would pole-dancing be appropriate for a take back the night event?

    • radwonka

      CUZ LIKE IT IZ SO EMPOWERMENT IT GIVES SELF CONFIDENCE AND LIKE ITS HAWT TO BE OBJECTIFIED YAKNOW

  • Bleeps

    Why would it be appropriate to include pole-dancing in a Take Back the Night event?

  • Bleeps

    You (specifically you) have contradicted yourself commenting on this site numerous times.

    Pole-dancing is a way for women to get strong and love themselves and has nothing to do with men or sex. No, no, it’s about women reclaiming their sexuality but has nothing to do with stripping. No, no, it probably does have to do with stripping and is for men, but that’s OK because it’s always been that way.

    It’s so neat Joel, that you don’t see the pole as a penis when you do poling (maybe because that would be gay and you do poling to meet women?) but most men do — they even call their penises poles — and the association with stripping, and sexual performance for men, and the rape and other abuse that goes on in strip clubs, is why pole-dancing is not appropriate for Take Back The Night. TBTN is what the event was about — women being safe at night — not self-promotion, not sexuality, not sexual displays, not workouts, not even women-owned businesses such as pole-fitness studios.

    I wouldn’t feel comfortable or safe poling, or working out, or whatever it is, with you around, Joel. Women and men cannot just get along while men continue to treat women as though they are part of a sex-caste, existing for men to get off to.

  • Meghan Murphy

    That’s kiiiiind of a crazy thing to say… Every single thing any woman does should be embraced? Because, feminism? What if a woman murders someone? Should that be embraced? Because feminism? What if she calls another woman a slut? S’ok! Feminism! You sound like an Onion article. http://www.theonion.com/article/women-now-empowered-by-everything-a-woman-does-1398

  • Bleeps

    Do you think women should be exploited for men’s entertainment? Do you think the feminist movement should stop trying to put an end to men exploiting women and just focus on… something else?

  • Meghan Murphy

    What is it you think feminism is?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah burlesque dancers say literally the same thing. Nonetheless, burlesque tends to primarily be about sexual objectification, just like pole dancing. The demonstration that would have happened at TBTN was no exception to that rule, if you look at their website and videos. I understand you feel defensive of a thing you like, but that doesn’t change the fact that, broadly, pole dancing is a sexist practice and it would certainly have been an inappropriate thing to have at an anti-rape event.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Why is radical feminism ‘not good’?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Do you think I would deny my point about ‘polers’ hating feminists? Why? And the reason I wrote this article in the first place is because ‘polers’ were attacking a feminist organization whose entire purpose is to support women escaping male violence. Because they *dared* to criticize pole dancing. Like, really, get your priorities straight.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I feel sad that you can’t tell the difference between *your*/women’s ‘sexuality’ and male-centered notions of ‘sexuality’ imposed on women through socialization.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Feminism, as I’ve been lead to believe through years of studying the subject, is about supporting people’s choices, being male or female, without placing judgements up on them.”

    You are mistaken.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah. *We’re* regressive. Says the man telling feminists to find their ‘feminine essence’….

    • Mindi B

      Is that all you can come up with? It’s getting boring REAL fast.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I agree!

    • FakeFeminist

      The only non-mythological thing I can think of that might be described as “feminine essence” is my vaginal discharge. Which I can assure everyone I have found, a lot. Am I allowed to critique misogynistic cultural practices now?

      I hope there’s a certificate. I’ll hang it on my wall.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I would never call a woman a ‘slut’. Also, your opinion is dumb.

    • Sarah Roos

      Well that is a very adult reply.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I’m not sure how you expect people to respond to being called ‘bigots’ for holding opinions you don’t like or understand?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Believe it or not, feminists have better and more important things to do than join ‘pole dancing communities’.

    • Lacey Houghton

      So you can’t possibly know whether we hate feminism or not. You’ve just completely wiped your own argument.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Of course I do. I read the hundreds of comments you all left on LAWC’s page, because your egos are more important than an organization that exists to help women fleeing male violence. I also know a ‘poler’ called LAWC, screamed at the woman on the phone and called her a ‘cunt.’ I have also seen the various other names feminists have been called, due to their simple disagreement with the idea that there should be pole dancing at an anti-rape event. You people are anti-feminist narcissists, plain and simple.

  • Meghan Murphy

    !
    !!

  • Meghan Murphy

    You want me to join a cult before criticizing cults?

  • Meghan Murphy

    lol to this whole comment. It is absolutely perfect.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Obviously! It couldn’t possibly be to defend a feminist anti-male violence organization from attack or to point out that sexualization/objectification doesn’t = empowerment, if it makes the individuals doing it ‘feel’ good…

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t think you understand what ‘power’ is or how it works.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “I’m confused why you had to attack and mock pole dancers in the beginning of the article? Ok, you’ve never heard of pole dancing as a hobby before, you aren’t familiar with terms that we use. But why mock us?”

    Because it’s funny? You should respect my choices to be funny. That’s what feminism is all about, isn’t it? Respecting and celebrating everything a woman does ever? This means that the only feminist response to this article should be applause. I’m waiting…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Do you know what radical feminism is or no?

    • Mindi B

      Of course I do. In theory I DO agree with it, but I feel it’s been twisted with a lot of anger – some of which is most definitely justified, but some of which I feel takes things to a counter-productive extreme and hurts feminism.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Tell me then. What is radical feminism?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Why the fuck would I waste my time doing ‘pole’? Why don’t *you* spend some time learning about feminism, since you seem so interested in it? I don’t find pole dancing interesting. I find feminism interesting. And important! Pole dancing is not an important thing. I choose to focus my energy on the feminist movement for good reason. Maybe check your priorities, eh?

  • Kris Mac

    actually, the pole dancers did not “organize up a pole-dance show at a rape protest event”. they were approached by the Women’s Events Committee, who suggested it would be a good idea. the pole dancers simply agreed to perform if they were asked to…the performance was never even confirmed. the LAWC then withdrew from the event, and created that meme. please get your facts straight.

  • Bleeps

    The ‘male gaze’ isn’t literally men looking at a woman in any moment.

  • Elizabeth

    Im sorry to hear your guy friends would instantly sexualize you the moment you touched a pole, I hope you find some male friends that would still respect you no matter if you are touching a pole or not. They can be hard to find, but they do exist.

  • Bleeps

    This has been bothering me a lot. Thanks for offering this explanation. It makes a lot of sense to me. I wonder, too, if it has something to do with their own beliefs about ‘prudish’ women’s views.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I find the suggestion that performing to the male gaze could somehow help rape victims ‘with their sexuality’ to be enormously misguided and offensive. Patriarchy, male entitlement, and objectification are why rape happens — *that* is what we need to fight. Suggesting that women can somehow fight rape culture through pole dancing is ridiculous.

  • Bleeps

    OK, it is your passion. Why does it belong at Take Back The Night events?

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Pole is part of feminism.”

    No, it’s not. You really need to get out more.

  • radwonka

    “Isn’t one of the points of feminism that we should do what we like regardless of how it is viewed by men?”

    No. Feminism is about ending patriarchal institutions. Feminism is the opposite of patriarchy basically.

    • Phoebe Alys Ryan

      Yes and part of the patriarchy is telling women how they can and cannot express themselves, what they can and can’t do.

      • Wren

        express yourself however you fucking want, just don’t call it feminism. Do you understand that much???

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Actually, you made no mention of the meme in your article, despite the fact that it is the main source of upset in the pole community. It is an integral part of the story that you intentionally overlooked.”

    No it’s not. I mean, I agree with the point it is making, but I’m not going to reiterate every single argument LAWC made in the article that I agree with — I don’t have space for that.

    I’m sorry that so many of you have misinterpreted that meme, hopefully you understand their point a little better now?

  • Bleeps

    I do have passions. I would only need to defend them if someone were trying to prevent me from being passionate about my, er, passions. I mean, people are passionate about all kinds of stuff, but not everyone believes they have a right to demand space anywhere/everywhere to, er, practice their passions. I am honestly passionate about feminism, because it has given me the tools to understand and speak about what the fuck is going on. I wouldn’t demand to be allowed to rant about it at any/all places, though.

    So again, I don’t understand why polers are so upset that they were not given the right to, like, sponsor a Take Back The Night event.

  • radwonka

    “I see women using their sexuality to control men. ”

    Lmao yeah right. Men who objectify women are soooooo controlled by them.

    • Lavender

      I’m pretty sure advancing the MRA argument that women are seductresses that ensnare men with their sexuality isn’t the way to go about feminism.

  • radwonka

    The article is not about “enjoying your body”. Just sayin’ cuz straw man are really boring.

  • radwonka

    lmao my thoughts exactly. They can’t even explain or contextualise, it’s all about “me like it so it is gooooood”.

  • Bleeps

    So (and this is a genuine question), was sponsoring or promoting pole-dancing at a Take Back The Night Event a way to try to legitimize pole-dancing at a public event because people are passionate about it?

  • radwonka

    “You should respect the CHOICES that other women make.”

    Then respect women who choose to oppose patriarchal norms first.

  • Bleeps

    Oh FFS. Feminists trying to make Take Back The Night about men’s violence against women are worse than men who are violent towards women.

  • radwonka

    “Beneath the surface of this obsession there is, no doubt, a whole lot of desperation, exploitation and greed.”

    yeah, and even the yoga /pole dancing/whatever their name is cult is very superficial, they talk about enlightenment everyday, and then use material norms such as “feel beautiful”/”feel sexy”/”545 positions to please yo man”/etc. I just read an article in Elle magazine explaining that women choose yoga because the positions are “sexy”. Enlightenment my ass.

    They really are not deep at all. And ironically, what is supposed to be “hella positive and inclusive” is just a bunch of arrogant and narrow minded people.

  • radwonka

    “You should respect the CHOICES that other women make.”

    1. don’t give orders
    2. the topic isn’t about choice
    3. if you are that much into supporting choices, then you should include choices you don’t like, like women who oppose patriarchy. Period.

  • radwonka

    I think it’s my first I couldn’t read all the comments on FC.
    But I wanted to mention some things, logical fallacies, that I find truly hilarious:
    – people talking about choice when no one talked about choice: derailment (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non_sequitur_(logic))
    – people who said that something is good because it existed for years (without proof): Appeal to tradition

    – people who think that something is good because it had another meaning long ago, in another country they probably don’t know shit about AND completely ignore the fact that people don’t “like” it because it was some kind of deep mystical dance or whatever but because it has a different meaning TODAY.
    – the racism: shameless cultural appropriation to “”have self confidence””, bastardization of another dance to fit objectiffication norms, and people of color used as a “gotcha” and reduced to some cliché stereotypes into some kind of weird science.
    – they have no argument so they’re evasive as fuck: “it’s mysterious… hmmm it’s indian…. hmmm 0,01% of men don’t wear high heels like doing it…. hmmm you mean… it’s like boxing… i like it”
    – the dishonesty: they talk about others cultures, other times, other people but… pole dancing is just pole dancing. Like it’s amazing how they can’t even justify it.
    – they’re unable to politicize society (why to women need to be feel sexualised to be self confident huh?)

    like even the rape industry activists don’t pretend that their institution is some kind of deep mystical powerful self confidence tool or whatever. lmao.

    • Wren

      Great comment, but I would argue that the rape industry activists and pimps actually use the exact same myths of empowerment or agency. So the polers are literally just using the same jargon and relativistic dribble which is why they are all just completely fucked up and dangerous.

    • ptittle

      Add the equivocation of autonomy with feminism.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Well, that would be libel, because you would be publishing a false statement about me in writing. The meme didn’t imply that anyone in the picture thought anything at all, never mind what LAWC was saying. The individuals in the picture aren’t identifiable, in fact. It just looks like a generic image of a bunch of random pole dancers, and which LAWC used to make a point. Like, they were making a point about the imagery, not about the specific individuals or the personal thoughts of the individuals in the image. Making up lies about people’s words or thoughts is not the same as criticizing imagery.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Um, I am aware that pole dancing exists. My argument was not that it is irrelevant in society, my argument is that it is not an important thing for me (or anyone, really) to spend their time doing. Arguing that I should spend less time doing feminism and more time on the pole is silly AND offensive.

  • Lavender

    Right, so all jurisdictions where male sexual violence against women and girls is an epidemic. The huge number of desperate women trafficked out of Eastern Europe alone makes it pretty clear the kind of culture this “sport” has emanated from. Pot calling the kettle black.

  • Mira

    Behind on the times?

    You guys are WITH the times. Didn’t know that women self objectifying AND being objectified by society was a thing of the past.

    Someone hold me, this conversation is making me angry.

  • Mira

    Omg, I shared what you said on facebook. BRILLIANT SISTER! <3

  • Rebel13

    OK I just hit peak pole.

    • Cassandra

      LOL!

  • Lavender

    Oppressive practices are oppressive by their nature because they produce and support a dynamic of domination and submission between two unequal social classes. A female sexuality whose template is the male gaze retains its context in a power hierarchy as long as the conditions that brought about that practice remain (and stripping as a form of female sexual objectification is still widely practiced, so the connection is hardly historical or irrelevant). You can’t reform or rebrand oppression, or by extension, any of the activities that grew out of it. An artisan handcrafted organic turd-crusted panini is a shit sandwich no matter what you call it.

    • Just Passing Through

      “An artisan handcrafted organic turd-crusted panini is a shit sandwich no matter what you call it.” LOL, love this!

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t think anyone has any idea who the people in that meme are, and to say that the meme perpetuates a message that pole dance studios incite violence against women fails to really understand the point being made. The argument being made in the meme is that objectification and violence against women are intricately connected. They are trying to show why pole dancing would be inappropriate at an anti-male violence against women event. Understanding that pole dancing is complicit in perpetuating sexist ideas may be hard to ingest, but it doesn’t mean you should go about harassing and attacking feminists who make such arguments, does it? Perhaps just try to better understand the arguments being made instead.

    • lullabri

      the woman in the meme is marlo fisken, and most pole dancers will know who she is. the studio in the picture is body + pole which is here in new york city. Whats really funny, is body + pole is known for its gymnastic style before anything else, and is famous world wide among pole dancers. Aside from the whole stolen image thing, it just doesn’t go with what they were trying to say. body and pole is very far removed from “normalizing violence against women”, as LAWC put it.

  • You could just do bodyweight training without the sexual objectification? There’s actually an exercise done with a pole called the “human flag” (a bit extreme TBH):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V1vjvt_GpA

    There’s no limit to exercises that can be done simply on the ground or with a regular pull-up bar. I don’t see the point in getting so attached to a very specific type of bodyweight training that’s based on a creepy sexist practice.

    • MarineRoudot

      You are SOOOO right. Except that……it’s already what a lot of “polers” already do! The most famous exemple has to be Oona Kivela, who is both pole dancing and street-workout world champion! And by the way, her pole routines are not sexy at all!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Are you blind? What, exactly, do you think feminism was born out of? Do you have any idea what feminists have accomplished over the past century? Good god, you people are incredibly ignorant.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Making a goal of “reclaim[ing] their sexiness FOR THEMSELVES” is a purposeless goal, because the ‘sexiness’ you speak of is something invented in patriarchy, FOR MEN. “Sexiness” will *never* be “for women.”

    In any case, if polers are such big feminists, why is it that so many of them spend so much time harassing feminists and calling them misogynist names? Why is it they don’t seem to understand the goals or history of the feminist movement at all? The only interest of ‘polers’ appears to be ‘polers.’ You people are only here, on this site, because you wish to defend your cult (which, no, I do not wish to join — thanks for the invite, tho). It’s ok for people to criticize your hobbies. I really like yoga, but do you think I FREAK OUT every time I read an article that’s critical of yoga? Do you think I feel personally attacked when I read feminist critiques of makeup and the beauty industry, despite the fact that I myself wear makeup? I myself am critical ALL THE TIME of the beauty industry, despite the fact that I consume some beauty products. This is why people keep calling pole dancing a cult and pole dancers narcissists — because of the insistence that there couldn’t *possibly* be anything sexist about it (despite the obvious imagery attached to pole dancing) and the absolute unwillingness to think critically or even allow others to voice critical opinions about your hobby.

  • Lavender

    lolololol yup, Mallakhamb jumped right over from ancient times into a misogynistic society to plant itself into modern pole dancing; so it used to be practiced mostly by men, but for SOME REASON it’s now overwhelmingly done by and marketed to women, we dunno, and oops, most strippers also happen to be women but there is NO CONNECTION, NOTHING TO SEE HERE, FOLKS!

    don’t you liberal feminists get tired of jumping through hoops and ending up in exactly the same spot? looks like the best gymnastics on display here are the mental sort…

  • Meghan Murphy

    I have been harassed privately more by pole dancers than I am by MRAs and called a ‘cunt’ (and other various names) in equal amounts.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Based on my research, ‘polers’ are ignorant, sexist, narcissists. Happy?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Seriously.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I do hope you take you own advice.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I fail to understand what your comment has to do with any of the arguments I have made in my piece. If you “could write a thesis about all the things that are wrong with this article,” why haven’t you actually addresses any of the points made instead of just going on and on about how sexy and great your pole dancing friends are? (And yeah, I know what it feels like to walk in heels. I wore heels every day for years. There are reasons I don’t do that anymore.)

  • Sammy Wong

    I’m a male pole dancer and generally find that there is little marketing for pole fitness studios because of the kind of “slut shaming” for the art that has occurred here.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Wait, are you saying pole dancing isn’t marketed to men because of ‘slut-shaming’? Because there is an awful lot of marketing of pole dancing to women… It seems ‘slut-shaming’ hasn’t stopped women and girls from supporting the industry….

      (All that said, where is all this ‘slut-shaming’ happening? The only people here who seem to believe there is such a thing as a ‘slut’ are the ‘polers.’)

    • Wren

      more good news

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ummmmmmmmmmm you are aware that I am opposed to the institution of marriage and to legalized prostitution, right? You aren’t *that* clueless about feminism, are you? (And, actually, yes — LAWC would pull out of an even run by Christians who support genital mutilation or who are, say, anti-abortion, for example.)

  • Meghan Murphy

    Can you answer the question or no?

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Cunt” is a misogynist name. So is “bitch.” Both of which I’ve been called by ‘polers!’

    Also, the pole community *is* saying “we like what we do, leave us alone, everyone should try it.” Like, over and over again.

    Sorry you feel condescended to, but maybe next time consider *not* launching a full-on attack against a rape crisis centre/anti-male violence against women org because they dare to point out how inappropriate it would be to have POLE DANCING (ffs) at Take Back the Night. Have some perspective, please.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It appears you all have chosen to hide away in the pole studio rather than confront reality or engage with political movements for some time now. I mean, why change now?

    • Amie

      This reply doesn’t even make any sense. What evidence do you have that the thousands of polers all around the world do not take part in political movements? Again you are just talking from ignorance with absolutely nothing to back up YOUR opinion.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Well, because ‘polers’ have shown themselves to only be interested and involved in ‘pole.’ None of you seem to be aware of the history or ideology of feminism. My opinion is based on your own behaviour and comments. Maybe ‘polers’ just need better representation?

  • Meghan Murphy

    So you *don’t* know what feminism was born of? (Hint: it wasn’t ‘compassion’ or ‘love’.)

  • Meghan Murphy

    I am amused to be called ‘single minded’ by someone who is aligned with a group of people with only one interest.

  • radwonka

    lmao

  • radwonka

    That’s not what the article said.

  • Cassandra

    But that’s not what she’s saying.

  • FakeFeminist

    Yep, to paraphrase: feminists are women who aspire to be more like men. So much more revealing of them than us, but they refused to actually introspect, so they’ll never see it.

  • Cassandra

    Playboy and corporate feminism have indeed succeeded spectacularly. Any MRA’s and liberal d00ds reading this thread are laughing their asses off.

  • Cassandra

    Male opinions about feminism are irrelevant.

  • FakeFeminist

    Hey Kris, do your views reflect the views of all feminists? Do they reflect the views of all women? Women aren’t a hive mind, and we’re allowed to share our views before seeking universal consensus from the rest of the vagina people. That’s actually what this comment section is for — for other feminists to discuss their views about the post. If Meghan believed her post reflected the views of all other feminists and women, the existence of a comment section would be completely redundant.

    Have you ever criticized a man because he spoke his mind before asking all other men if they agreed? If not, why not?

    Also, can you please explain to me, in a well-articulated and fact-based argument, why a pole-dancing show is appropriate entertainment at a rape-prevention event where many women will be triggered and/or made uncomfortable by such a show? Please focus your essay on why your personal empowerfulment takes priority on the needs of the average victims of sexual assault, most of whom are either former sex workers who were abused on the job or women who associate pole dancing with the sexualization of women, and why it’s even appropriate to showcase women’s “sexual empowerment” at an anti-rape protest. Be sure to explain, in this essay, how and why the needs of a few polers who found “empowerment” in pole dancing somehow supercede the needs and comfort of every other woman at the event.

    PS: Learn what “fair use” means. Copyright is not protection from criticism.

  • Cassandra

    “There are definitely women who may not “choose” to become strippers, but maybe it is their only option as a means to make a good amount of money when they “run out of other options” so to speak.”

    You come very close to maybe understanding what we’re saying here. Do you understand how exploitation works?

  • FakeFeminist

    Wait, are you talking about the empowerfulment paragraph? Do you guys seriously literally describe yourself as “empowered” on a regular basis??? Because that’s hilarious. “Empowered” has been a common joke in the feminist community for years and years, because it is almost exclusively used by women who are defending the porny things they do that just “happen” to align with the sexual gratification of heterosexual men. It never describes the acquisition of any real, tangible, actual power. (Can you explain what actual power pole-dancing bestows on you?)

    “Empowerment” is a joke. If you think pole-dancing is feminist simply because someone said it “empowers” you, you’re very misguided. Anytime someone tells you something is “empowering” you should stop and ask yourself if anyone actually gained tangible power from doing that thing. The answer is always no.

  • Meghan Murphy

    If I went around demanding that every article that included ‘factual errors’ about feminism be removed from the internet, that would leave for some slim pickings, eh? I mean, we’d have to say goodbye to entire websites!

    Anyway, ‘entire communities’ attack me all the time. You all haven’t behaved any differently than MRAs or the burlesque ‘community’ or pro-prostitution advocates. If I changed my mind about feminism/retracted my arguments every time a ‘community’ attacked me, I’d just say nothing at all.

    You can’t just silence people you disagree with or don’t understand. Well, you can, but that’s certainly not the kind of society I want to live in. If you disagree, respond, argue, explain WHY you disagree. That’s what intelligent people with well informed opinions do. They don’t just go around demanding the opinion be censored.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m not seeking an opportunity to feel superior, I’m challenging your claim that my arguments are not ‘feminist’ by asking you what it is you believe ‘feminism’ is.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m still confused. Because pole dancing is marketed to women and girls like crazy, and according to you lot, it is women and girls who are being ‘stigmatized’ in pole dancing.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Pole dancers *can* be feminists. It’s just that ‘polers’ are behaving in very anti-feminist ways, and have shown themselves to have a deep distaste for feminism.

  • Cassandra

    I like killing little kittens. I skin them alive and dance around a fire chanting, “Choices! Choices! Choices!” and it makes me feel very empowered and super sexy. If you say anything critical about this practice, I’ll have every cause to scream bloody murder and call you a sexist anti-feminist bigot who’s against women expressing their sexuality.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Sexuality does not = sexual objectification, no. Performances of ‘sexuality’ that exist to please men, though, do not = ‘sexuality’. Sex is not a performance and female sexuality is not a thing that exists to be consumed by men. Pole dancing as ‘sexuality’ is a perfect example of the way we’ve confused sexualization/objectification for ‘female sexuality.’

  • Meghan Murphy

    Cool argument, brah. v convincing.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I should respect their choice to call other women cunts!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Two whole days of this now. Thank god we got so many smart commenters here to counter the ‘polers’ — all this would be too depressing/crazy-making otherwise.

  • lullabri

    there are a lot of women that are into martial arts more and more lately…kickboxing is a good example. And also, pole dancing is still a very very small thing, I think you are overestimating the amount of women that take pole classes rather than going to yoga, the gym, etc. also literally lol-ing at how you just called a pole a giant dick. its ok to acknowledge the stripper history in pole dancing, and even questioning whether or not it is a feminist act because of its roots. but i assure you, most pole classes today are not “sexy”, and is way closer to cirque du soleil type of gymnastics. in fact, many pole dancers also do aerial silks, aerial hoop (lyra), spanish web, ropes, etc etc etc. let people enjoy things.

    • JingFei

      I have seen the Pole classes that focus on fitness, and I’m sure what you’re talking about would take a lot of strength (I’ve seen some of it irl myself), but there is also a very large part of it marketed to “be sexy for your husband/bf while losing weight” and things like that. And if you ask most people, they associate pole dancing with the sex industry universally the world over. I think that’s what makes it inappropriate for a protest against sexual violence.
      I have to say though, after reading through hundreds of angry comments I appreciate you’ve been trying to discuss it reasonably and at least tried to understand another perspective and the article.

  • Cassandra

    Aw, thanks, Unjaded. I’m finding this comment section really depressing, but it’s also heartening to see more rational radfems commenting here.

  • Cassandra

    We want to smash the patriarchy. If there were no patriarchy, there would most likely be no pole dancing.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Hmm, no… I don’t ‘have more people telling [me] I’m wrong on this.’ You all are so incredibly insulated in your Land of Pole you seem to have no clue what others think.

    • Lacey Houghton

      Very mature response. Every time you respond to people’s comments your attitude further proves how petty you are being. You may think you’re doing some good to the world with this article, but it’s obvious that many women see it as lashing out. We dont need that kind of hate, we don’t want want women to be our own greatest enemy. We should all be sticking together, but if you’d rather spread hate then that’s your own agenda.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Then why are you attacking women?

  • Cassandra

    False equivalence.

  • FakeFeminist

    “Empowerment” is a joke. In the context of feminism, anyone who sells you “empowerment” is selling you snake oil. “Empowerment” is supposed to mean, “to bestow power”. But gyrating on a pole will not bestow you with any additional power. It might make you feel sexy or confident, for a little while. It might make some men jerk it to your image, for a little while. But there is no real and tangible transfer of power associated with the “empowerment” of gyrating around a pole or any other sexualized activity that women are told is “empowering”.

  • Cassandra

    “Enough with your explosive rhetoric. Write something constructive and discussive or leave it alone.”

    OKAY DAD!

    • Mindi B

      Great maturity.

  • Melanie

    I’m amazed by the miraculous healing powers of pole dancing. If only I had known all this when I was homeless, on drugs, self harming, being abused and sexually exploited by my partner, being groomed into prostitution in strip bars … No. I got empowered with housing, counselling, social support from organizations similar to LAWC. Not from being sexy as fuck.

  • Wren

    I threw up a little.

  • Wren

    Men must think this is hysterical. I can’t blame them.

  • Cassandra

    Part of how revolution works is the oppressed class revolting against the oppressor and the practices that are used to oppress them. This comment thread, however, is unfortunately one big, sad example of False Consciousness, which has to be eliminated for there to be any real revolution.

  • FakeFeminist

    “Pole is power”

    Please explain to me what tangible real-world power pole-dancing has given you.

    Keep in mind that “I feel more confident” is not evidence of increased power. Because anyone will feel more confident after receiving feedback that society approves of them, and our society is much more approving of women who will put their bodies up for public sexual consumption. That’s not power. That’s capitulation.

  • Wren

    “And men are just petting themselves on the back at how young the new recruits are to eventually fulfill all their sexual wants.”

    Ok that gave me the creepy shivers. Cause it’s true.

  • Wren

    Can I get that in a poster?

  • Wren

    YES!! Great point and thanks!

  • FakeFeminist

    Lol. I enjoy my body pretty thoroughly without wearing an itchy-ass thong and gyrating publicly around a germ-covered pole. There’s nothing intrinsically sexy about pole dancing. It’s only sexy to people (ie women) who have been taught that their sexual worth revolves around the approval of other people.

  • FakeFeminist

    Women aren’t stupid, they should be allowed to decide for themselves how many calories and nutrients are in their fries and beer. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously treating them like stupid children. Also, I feel WAY smarter and sexier and more worldly after about five beers so like… who are these assholes to tell me that I’m not?

  • Cassandra

    “For the right people its a lucrative career and with the right mindset they are the ones getting the one up on the men, not the other way around.”

    This is pure patriarchal/MRA misogynist bullshit.

  • Melanie

    Why is it neccesary for you to assert that you’re businesswomen, STEM graduates and tertiary educated students? Are you trying to distance yourself from women in the sex industry who don’t do this for fun, but because they have to?

  • FakeFeminist

    Maybe I’m misreading, but it feels like you’re not actually thinking about what people are saying to you. It looks like just, “I read you, I disagree, thanks for the input, I’m moving on now! :)”. There’s no indication you’re actually going to take the time to digest and consider what’s being said and what it means. These women are willing to engage with you honestly, but you’re not willing to engage back in an honest or meaningful way. Doesn’t that feel a bit rude or disrespectful to you? If you’re not here looking for an honest discussion, why are you here?

  • FakeFeminist

    “Sexy pole” has nothing to do with sex, you guys. Stop being so backwards lmao.

  • FakeFeminist

    Most readers of feminist websites are women-hating men looking for feminist excuses to mistreat women. This is a 100% known true statistically-supported fact and not a common silencing tactic AT ALL.

  • Wren

    FakeFeminist, we are friends for life.

  • FakeFeminist

    Really, Meghan Murphy’s new ideas about how heterosexual men can get sexually aroused while watching pole-dancers is pretty revolutionary. I had never considered sexualizing women while watching them gyrate around a pole until I read this article by Meghan Murphy, the mother of misogyny. I hope she comes up with many more revolutionary ideas in the future. Perhaps we can next find ways to sexualize burlesque, or even pornography, which as we all know is a straighforward, factual, scientific depiction of how male and female humans engage in normal sexual intercourse.

    Thank you, Meghan Murphy, for liberating women-hating men everywhere. You are truly a blessing. XOXO

    • Meghan Murphy

      You’re welcome!

  • FakeFeminist

    She’s describing what’s actually happening in reality. A description of reality isn’t an implication that everyone involved in that description is Right, and I don’t know where you got that idea.

  • FakeFeminist

    Literally no readers of this site give a shit about your purposefully uninformed opinion, Tony.

    Anything a human being can do is associated with some “skill” or another. That doesn’t mean shit.

  • Pole O Rama

    Haha… You are such a fool… My classes are mixed, mixed sexes, mixed ability, mixed equipment… And everyone gets on just fine. We have some people doing pole, some doing Aerial Silks, some doing Aerial Hoop, we have a laugh, it’s laid back and mostly fun and sociable. People encourage each other to become stronger, more flexible, have more stamina etc and its great as EVERYONE gets fitter doing it. Why would confident healthy people need to be insecure about being fuckable? Must just be the reflections of how you would view yourself in that situation. As a man in a predominantly female industry… I did not get into it because I had insecurities about being fuckable, or did I want to control… I actually joined to keep a friend company… They lasted 3 lessons… It’s now my career. So say what you want but having a laugh with a group of good people who encourage each other sure is healthier than condemning people for doing something you don’t like.

  • Wren

    Did you just say that you were in a brothel??? Have you ever actually had trauma counseling??? No legitimate sexual trauma counselor would ever recommend anything inherently or suggestively objectifying for survivors of the sex industry as a means of “healing.” I’m getting really concerned that “polers” are actually targeting their recruitment towards sexual trauma survivors. Please, you need to talk to survivors who ARE NOT polers and who have healed from the industry. This is all just way more fucked up than I realized.

  • Cassandra

    This thread is unreal. I’ve decided to back away from it because it’s making my head hurt, but before I bow out I’d like to give Meghan Murphy a huge round of applause. Your tenacity and devotion are incredible. Thank you for standing for women.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Back at ya sister

  • Just Passing Through

    Thank goodness Feminist Current’s feminism is not her feminism.. If it were, I’d be jumping ship like right this minute!

  • LillyC

    Are you trying to be dense. COMPASSION didnt feed him, you giving him food did that aka you engaged in an actual Activity that produced change. Almost…like activism…but on… smaller individual scale huh?

  • V.

    Whoa there. Was with you right up until that little spot of transmisogyny.
    Unless I misunderstood? Please tell me I misunderstood.

    • amongster

      M2T are not women, they are men, so there is no such thing as “transmisogyny” as “misogyny” literally means the hatred of women. What anne wrote is right and if you are female it should shock you that males claim to be like you and get away with it.

    • Cassandra

      Misogyny is only done to female human beings, ergo there is no such thing as “trans misogyny.” Holy shit.

  • JingFei

    The message I got, that this article was written ( I think, Meghan can correct me if I’m off) as a direct result of people in the pole dancing community flooding an Abused Women’s center’s site with hateful comments because the center said they would pull out of Take Back the Night if a pole dancing demo was featured. The center felt it wasn’t appropriate as pole dancing is still symbolic of sexual objectification/exploitation. Even if some don’t feel like it is, many men and women still associate it with stripping and cannot separate that link.
    I believe this article was written to show support for the London Abused Women’s Center in the face of this. Many of course will claim that their pole-dancing is feminist, but not everyone agrees.

    • Meghan Murphy

      You are correct!

  • Karla Gjini

    they can’t ever be ‘expressing gender as they see fit’ as it’s based on the subordination of women…

  • Melanie

    I’m not criticizing strippers. It’s you who are trying to distance pole dancing from stripping and the sex industry, even though the pole community holds regular events that celebrate that style – what they term ‘sexy’ or ‘filthy’ pole (a term men have used to disparage women’s bodies and sexuality for centuries, funnily enough). Which is my point. You have the privilege to experience pole dancing as something other than exploitation and male violence. So please be sensitive to that and don’t bring it to events where women are not that lucky and are trying to end the sexual objectification, violence and exploitation that they’ve experienced in the sex industry or because of it.

    By the way, I just got cured of a serious, life threatening disease that I’ve had for decades as a result of being in the sex industry. I don’t need to do the flag to know what empowerment is.

  • Karla Gjini

    same
    the let downs wouldn’t have been so deep

  • Karla Gjini

    would love to attend this event can we pls organize v soon

  • Melanie

    War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Pole is power.

  • Karla Gjini

    what does it mean to feel sexy though?

  • Just Passing Through

    Where are the 7 inch heels? If they were women, I guarantee you they would be nearly naked. Interesting how men always seem to get to keep their dignity intact, fully clothed, and respected as ‘fine athletes’….such a different world men inhabit…

  • Just Passing Through

    Hmm I don’t think you are going to get an answer. Doesn’t look like it anyway.

  • Just Passing Through

    I was thinking that exact same thing when I read her post. The reason why she is feeling “empowerment” is more likely because she is around women that are being encouraging and helpful and maybe for the first time she feels a real sense of fellowship and bonding.

  • Just Passing Through

    You are the delusional one. Maybe one day you will awake from your slumber. I seriously doubt it though as you seem to be completely clueless about anything anyone is saying or has said.

  • Aude Callens

    Yes we are. Who are you to tell people what they should do or not? What they should choose as a sports activity? Btw, have you ever tried it to judge it?
    You know, in this world, there’s a whole lot more of people that don’t think like you. And there are loads of other causes that are really worth fighting for. This discussion is just time-consuming because you are narrow-minded. Polers have a ton of arguments that show you that you’re misleading here, but you don’t even want to listen to, you’re just working pretty hard to stick to your position.
    As a feminist, you’d better be standing up for women’s rights when they actually are violated.

    • Anthocerotopsida

      Who is telling who to do or not do what?

      The answer to my question requires direct quotes.

    • Wren

      “Who are you to tell people what they should do or not?”
      This argument is one of my favorites.
      I guess I should stop telling people to stop raping, stop abusing, stop speeding, stop doing drugs, stop buying sex, stop smoking, etc. I mean I must be the bossiest person ever.

  • amongster

    So true. I went through the same to figure out that BDSM is no way to heal. I wish the voices of true feminists would be listened to already so that victims of rape and abuse would not have to live through more of the same under the guise of “empowerment”. I certainly wished I had heard all of this critique of objectification when I was looking for help, but instead I found the “sexpositive” crowd who are either manipulative or brainwashed themselves.

  • Lula Geddes
    • Meghan Murphy

      You are posting this here why? As a reminder of the misguided, dishonest ‘politics’ of ‘polers’?

      • Lula Geddes

        Because, as you argued for your meme of pole dancers in the article, it is funny!

  • Lula Geddes

    I love to go up to men and tell them I do pole dancing classes and kickboxing – you should see their faces!

    • I bet they ask you about the fabric composition of your outfit… or maybe they all engage in a long, thoughtful debate about the importance of holding ‘Take Back The Night’ events in every city and how to be the best ally they can be.

      That’s their reaction, right?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Seriously and exactly.

  • Morag999

    “Are you insane! To the woman who said that pole can help you heal,OMG yes! I’ve seen women escape abusive relationships and take control over there own lives because of the confidence Pole gave them. I could write an thesis about all the things that are wrong with this article but I will finish on this …”

    Please don’t write a thesis. Because I’m already convinced!

    After reading literally hundreds of testimonials to the Power of the Pole, right here in this discussion, I know it must be true: the Pole changes women’s lives in the most A-mazing ways (and, let’s not forget and be meanie misandrists: it changes men’s lives, too!).

    So, right: the Pole is obviously a totem, an emblem of power. But it’s more than a symbol, more than a stylized object, isn’t it? I mean, I think it’s actually a fetish object, and, thus, contains actual magic which bestows material gifts upon those who properly use/worship it. It truly “gives” stuff to women. Wow. I want in on this. And I trust that you, a teacher/spiritual leader, also want me to be confident, sexy, powerful, incredible, wonderful, amazing, etc., etc., etc.

    OK, here’s my question, though. I’m poor as fuck, and can’t afford even the lowest Pole Fitness tuition. Plus, I much prefer to keep my clothes on (please don’t judge me, call me names, or boss me around about this; it’s MY choice, using MY agency, and nobody tells ME what to do). So, I was wondering. Do you think I could get the same healing and empowermenting benefits by just (respectfully, faithfully, erotically) touching the Pole?

    Or, would I have to firmly grasp and swing on it a little? Please note: I’m on the wrong side of forty. Maybe there’s an ergonomic, non-ableist, non-ageist version of these rituals, like, say, chanting some words while just circling the Pole? But, how many circles around the Pole, exactly? And how many people need to be watching for this to work? Please advise! Thanks!

    • Elizabeth

      There is no wrong side of forty, I’ve trained with people in their high 50’s and they could do more complex tricks than I could in mu early 30’s.
      We are not forcing it on everyone, we are just telling you that your idea of pole dancing is very limited and that there is a whole set of options out there that have nothing to do with normalizing violence against women. Plus, reminding you that women who choose to pole dance deserve as much respect as those who choose not to. And the only reason we are here is because the meme and this article are promoting a negative image that we have been fighting to change for years.
      There are many ways to express that you dont think a pole dancing demostration is appropiate for an event without making fun or labeling any woman who engages on it by choice.
      And all this says nothing about any other activities that we engage in to help women, so you can’t really judge and say that we only care about our silly hobby

  • Wire Bead

    Why would any woman want to “claim ownership” of a sexist activity which has been used to exploit and harm other women, for decades?

  • Meghan Murphy

    It is *that* easy!

  • Meghan Murphy

    And how does that strength upend systems of oppression? Does the fact that you are in good shape and that you can control your emotions men that men won’t sexually harass or abuse you (or other women)?

    • Day C Keller

      So, as a woman, I’m only allowed to do something that stops men from harassing me sexually? The point here has been that your view of pole is based on a stereotype and that pole is not all about stripping and objectification. There is a side to it you failed to acknowledge, a side that’s healthy and it’s the reason why it became so popular. We are trying to show you this side, the side of it that DOESN’T perpetuates sexism. Yes, pole has been used and gone very popular in strip clubs, but man, seriously? What’s up with the shaming and generalization of people you don’t even know?

      • Meghan Murphy

        My point is that personal ’empowerment’ doesn’t really ’empower’ women in a meaningful way, in the context of feminism.

        • Day C Keller

          Seriously? Do you even listen to yourself?

          • Meghan Murphy

            Yes! Often!

      • Why do you think Meghan is trying to tell you what you are allowed to do? The point of this article wasn’t about what you are personally allowed to do. The point was that pole dancing had no place at an event like Take Back the Night.

    • Polly Hanna

      She’s strong enough now to get on a pole and display her body in ways that are sexually-gratifying men. That is what her strength enables her to do. It upends her belief that she is not a female worthy of the male gaze.

  • Meghan Murphy

    haaaa

  • Meghan Murphy

    2) “And you can’t generalise for the entire pole community. That’s just not fair. You can’t say all polers really don’t like feminists because you haven’t spoken to all of us.”

    Can I also not say that men are perpetrators of rape because I haven’t spoken to all of them? Can I not say that men objectify women because I haven’t spoken to all of them? Can I not say that men who go to strip clubs are entitled, sexist, assholes because I haven’t spoken to all of them? Can I not say that dogs like to chew bones because I haven’t spoken to all of them?

    I made an assessment, based on ample evidence (and my assessment has proved to be true, many times over, in this comment section). One can make observations without directly speaking to every single person connected to the group being observed.

    3) Ooooh! “Pleasers!” Those sound empowering!

    Women who work in strip clubs are not ‘sluts’, so please stop with this ‘slut-shaming’ garbage.

    5) People can “find the same or different things sexy,” but they don’t… What people tend to see has ‘sexy’ STRANGELY and COINCIDENTALLY seems to almost always be male-centered/connected to the male gaze. We are not as special and unique and individual as we imagine ourselves to be.

    6) This question was not directed at the ‘pole community’. Why do you all think everything is about *you*? The question is to the WEC but is also commentary on third wave ideology more broadly.

    7) The point is that you people are incredibly disrespectful. “Take Back the Night” is not a cute joke to be used as a marketing ploy.

    10) Learn to read. I didn’t ask you when the last time was you saw a man in heels. My point is that men don’t need heels in order to gain (maintain) power.

    “I can see why someone who seems to have little enjoyment of physical activity (I’m basing this on your comment that you’d prefer beer over any of the sports demonstrations you listed) finds it hard to empathise and understand how sports can make you feel. It’s not just pole that makes you feel strong and empowered. Other sports do, too.”

    I can see why someone who seems to have little enjoyment for jokes finds it hard to understand or like jokes. But jokes feel fun for the joker! And feelings of fun are what make the world go ’round.

    Sorry my list is all over the place, it was hard to follow your points so I just found a few I thought it might be fun or useful to respond to.

    All the best.

  • Rocio

    And the rave scene makes me feel very fulfilled. Similarly Sports does fulfills many other people. OTOH I’m not going out there being upset that maybe having a rave at a TBTN is not a good fit or trying to claim the rave scene is inherently Feminist. It is neither here nor there. Thing I like /= Feminism. Westerners are obsessed with making everything about the individual and their feelings. Social movements are collective movements for liberation. Whether you do or don’t pole dance has about nothing to with Feminism honestly. And I have pole danced at a party before and enjoyed it but that has nothing to do with Feminism and the only reason the pole was at that party was bc it is associated with debauchery. Not because it’s good exercise.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ya you know me! Meghan Murphy and her famed lipstick and your strapless tops!

  • Meghan Murphy

    As I’ve explained numerous times over, the meme did not say that pole dancers were literally causing men to perpetrate violence against women, it was to say that objectification is connected to male violence against women.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The meme suggested none of those things.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Whaaaaaaat are you talking about?!?!

  • Meghan Murphy

    “You have zero empathy and zero ability to see beyond your own horizon as your article proves.”

    Signed,

    The Hundredth Poler Who Has Told Me To Take Pole Dancing Classes Instead of Doing Feminism

  • Rocio

    I poled danced for a while once at a party with some friends. It was fun. Has fuck all to do with Feminism and Westerners need to stop thinking social movements for liberation are about their individual feelings.

  • Meghan Murphy

    So you don’t know what feminism is then?

  • Meghan Murphy

    xooxxo

  • Meghan Murphy

    *applauds*

  • Meghan Murphy

    ha.

    This is also amusing because ‘polers’ relentlessly attacked women who are *literally* fighting rape culture and supporting *actual* victims of rape ON THE FRONT LINES.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Hmm noooooo — the polers attacked LAWC, which prompted me to write this article. And this is not *my* perspective, this is a feminist analysis, communicated by me.

  • Meghan Murphy

    That was unclear. Apologies for misunderstanding!

    But yes, marriage exists on a continuum that is entirely connected to prostitution.

    Does that answer your question?
    xx

  • Meghan Murphy

    lol

  • Meghan Murphy

    #notallmen tho

  • Meghan Murphy

    My first clue was because you seem only to have taken interest in the plight of other women and the system of patriarchy, which affects pretty much everything we do, because pole dancing came up.

    • Sarah Roos

      And yet another assumption. You don’t know me nor do you know anything about my interests. I merely reacted to your article about pole dance because I thought it very strange a young, seemingly intelligent woman like yourself, could have such narrow minded opinions about something when she didn’t even take the effort to really investigate it.

      • Meghan Murphy

        “You,” meaning ‘polers.’

  • Elizabeth

    I understand your concerns of how it impacts women *as a class* and this is why many of us are encouraging more research and sharing our experiences to broaden your concept on this topic. How can you understand how pole dancing fits into a broad cultural narrative if you ignore a growing community of women who are working to separate the sport from the abuse? Wether you agree with them or not, how can you evaluate its impact if you completely dismiss it without researching, asking questions, listening to experiences, visiting a couple studios (you don’t even have to take a class, just ask!)?
    I see there are different ways of approaching this: one can judge every woman that choses to do it for a personal reason and in a safe environme and put “bad/antifeminist/ignorant/you are bringing us down/etc” label on her, or you can contribute to the idea that it is OK for women to do stuff like this for their own pleasure and that men/women should stop treating them like a piece of meat regardless of it. I have male and women friends that have switched their perspective on this and gained a whole different level of respect for the sport and that for me is a win for all.
    This is were we choose different roads and that’s fine, I wish we could find common ground but it is not always possible. I do think it is important to be open to talk about these topics with women with opposing views in a respectful manner and I strongly believe that one can share their oposing opinion while treating the women in the other side with the same respect as you would the women on your side, which has not been the case here.
    Thanks for engaging in conversation in a constructive way, this is how we all move forward as a class.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The thing is, feminism is a lens through which we view the world. So feminism is not limiting. It isn’t a hobby, a business, or a class one takes. Feminism isn’t an interest, per se, it’s a social/political movement.

    Also, my view of polers was shaped by their attack on a rape crisis shelter/anti-violence against women org. Commenters here have simply reinforced my assessment.

  • Day C Keller

    Which male gaze? Last time I checked there were no audience. What about the many women with self image issues that overcame it WITHOUT changing their bodies? You know, you’re only talking about exotic dancers. You have this narrow view that pole dance means only one thing: shaking your booty around a pole for male attention. It is not. Bother to research. I found pole through circus. Here is a picture of Cavalia, the circus show with a merry go round pole dance act performed by male acrobats. So, are the men you know jerking off to this???? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a210e199ea5040468a383edca78cc06c6ca760c7a1c8297c7baa5bf4ff896515.jpg

    • Meghan Murphy

      Here is a link to the business that intended to do a pole demo at TBTN. What do you see? http://www.thepolehouse.ca/#gallery

      • Day C Keller

        I see a perfectly fine pole dance studio. What is it exactly you think these women are doing there??? Taking their clothes off to a male audience? Seriously?

        Here is a video of this year’s atlantic pole champion. What do you see? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H0CDDCQ9dU

        • Meghan Murphy

          The gallery is full of women in stripper heels, dear.

    • Helen A. Handbasket

      I love the false equivalency — “…but look at all the men who do this!”

      Yeah, I don’t recall it being predominantly men who are bought and sold into sexual slavery, forced to work the massage parlors, backrooms, and yes, strip joints for their pimps.

      Pole fitness is the grooming of middle to upper-class girls and women (y’know, the ones who can afford the classes) to think it’s ok to gyrate half naked on a pole for “fun” (giving support to already oppressive sex/porn industry) because they may never have to experience the reality of those acts they do for leisure — the reality of many girls and women who have to work the pole in order to survive homelessness, hunger, addiction, abuse, and sexual slavery. You cannot “take back” something that is currently so oppressive to so many girls and women.

      But I guess how YOU feel about pole fitness’ (mis)representation is more important than the disgusting REALITY behind the act.

  • Elizabeth

    I can agree with most of this. My only note would be that this article and the meme do not acknowledge that difference and treats the whole community as the offending party. I do believe more research and a less biased point of view would have made this much more useful for women as a group.
    If the problem is how it is still viewed and marketed as sexy and as a perk to men, then I would rather keep fighting to change that view rather than slamming and judging everyone who engages on it by Choice.

  • Rocio

    Power is NOT subjective. Says somebody of two cultures who has lived in two other countries.

    People don’t seem to get it. When I lived in East Asia breasts are relatively non-sexualized, so you know what that means in practice? Women hardly wear V necks or plunging necklines. Not that magically tons of women wear v necks randomly just because. Legs are hyper-sexualized there and so you see a lot more more miniskirts that are smaller than you’ve seen before than in the West.

    Pole dancing that doesn’t involve heels or bikinis looks like fun and I did it at party once but I can tell you that as Cultural Studies major “cultures evolve. get over it” couldn’t be more wrong way to understand culture. You know what you learn in Cultural Studies? “Everything cultural is political.”

    That many women enjoy pole dancing does not mean that it belongs at a Take Back the Night. Lots of women enjoy getting shitfaced and doing coke doesn’t mean they should be doing that at TBTN.

    • Gaiauchis

      Another example : when Pamela Anderson was a sex symbol, big boobs were trend and a lot of women wanted breast implants. Now, with the Kardashians, it’s all about the butt and butt implants. The same with big lips, fuller eyebrows. Being feminine in our society is being artificial.

  • Wire Bead

    Pole dancing today is still viewed by society as inherently sexual because pole dancing today is still mainly a woman performing the male version of “sexy”, for a mostly male audience. Pole “dancing”, as such, will not eventually become part of the Olympics.

  • Wire Bead

    Pole dancing has made you realise that you are DAMN sexy? What do you mean by “sexy”? Do you think a performance which supposedly makes you feel DAMN sexy is appropriate for a Take Back the Night March protesting the sexual harassment of women, and sexual and other violence against women? If so, why?

  • FakeFeminist

    The name of the studio is The Pole House and the vast majority of the pictures in their “gallery” are young women in bikinis or hot pants. The logo is a silhouette of a slim woman with long hair doing a well-known “sexy pole” pose.

    I checked out those two dancers and while the athleticism is impressive, they still have very sexualized appearances, and some of the moves look like they are borrowed from the “sexy pole” camp. Even if there existed a performer who didn’t put any extra sexualization into their performances, vertical pole is an act that has strong sexual connotations in our culture.

    Nobody would have complained about nonsexualized acrobatics or aerial silks. It would be a bit odd, but I don’t think anyone would be upset by it. Why was it so important to them that it specifically be vertical pole? The only answer I’ve found is: because they’re claiming that women performing sexually for the male gaze is a good way to heal from sexual trauma sustained at the hands of men. If it was possible for there to be a nonsexualized vertical pole performance, nobody would ever think to have such a performance at TBTN, just like nobody ever thought to do aerial silks instead.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Did you not even read the article I wrote before commenting here? Because no, that’s not how things went down.

  • Gaiauchis

    You don’t have any power, sorry. Feeling sexy isn’t empowerment. And the fact you think criticizing a hobby you like is abuse just prove that you have a very weak mind. This isn’t abuse in any form.

  • Wren

    No, that isn’t the point at all.

  • Elizabeth

    To add to my previous post, do you know which power women have gained with pole? We created, expanded and are monopolizing a market that has allowed several women to start their own business and gain economic independence. Do you know how many women, who never thought that they could, have started successfull businesses? From developing new types of tools for the pole, clothing, accesories, creating/decorating shoes, teaching, developing certifications and training programs, online classes websites, international conventions, pole theater, pole art presentations, photographers, coreographers, dancers, gimnasts, etc.
    You see as a bad thing that this is mostly focused on women, but its really because this IS a community of women that has fought to create a space were they could grow and build with our without male approval.
    I’ll concede that this whole conversation has made me think about how positive or not this is for women as a class, but you can’t make that analysis without studying how much this industry has grown and how. I’ve been to pole conventions and pole expos and women are calling the shots, not men. That’s the dynamic that you should be interested in analyzing, and I would be very interested in that analysis, but for that, you have to break past the prejudice that there is only bad pole dancing.

  • Alienigena

    This is great!

  • Cassandra

    “Isnt that the point? To have a choice? To make our own decisions?”

    No. That is not the point. The point is to get out from under male oppression.

  • Elizabeth

    Seriously? I say “i prefer to appreciate and not be rude to people who support our cause” and you read that I base my beliefs depending on how friendly they are to men??

  • Cassandra

    “The condescension in this article has totally overshadowed what should have been the key message – that vulnerable / at risk women may not seek help due to some poor, knee-jerk behaviour.”

    What does this mean?

  • Hierophant2

    You say you are “empowered.” What ACTUAL power do you have? Physical, financial, political, ideological, or what? What power are you talking about? Can you actually name the specific ways in which you are actually “empowered”?

    (And yes, I am going to keep asking this until I get an answer IV)

    • Pero

      Pole dance empowered me physically. Before starting to pole, I have never in my life done a push-up and now I can do many of them as well as pull-ups, iron x and many other cool things.

      Some polers are also quite famous and can influence many people.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Who cares? Plenty of strong women are also objectified. You think female volleyball players don’t feel physically “empowered,” too? And yet, they are forced to wear booty shorts because (male) audiences like that.

        • Pero

          Having a lot od upper body strength is seen as masculine and women often avoid doing workouts which will make their arms “too big”. Many female sports are limited because of this, but pole dance is not one of them.

          I have been told multiple times that having a six pack is not attractive for a woman and that my shoulders are too big. But I’m not in it to be pretty so I don’t care.

          When I showed a video of a world champion pole dancer to my father, he said she looks too much like a man and my mother replied that ice skating is best for female body because it makes it the most desirable.

          Straight men usually don’t enjoy pole dance as a sport and we polers know it. The kind of poling you do when competing at most competitions will bring you zero dollars in a club.

          Pole dance does not have to necessarily objectify women same as volleyball can be done without objectifying women.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Buuuuuut pole dancing is always marketed as ‘sexy.’ Whether you like it or not.

      • Hierophant2

        Who exactly is famous for pole-dancing? I have never heard of a celebrity pole-dancer.

  • FakeFeminist

    “Empowerment” means “to bestow power”. It can’t be subjective unless power is also subjective. If that’s what you believe, then that belief is incompatible with feminism, which holds that power is an objective reality that is used to harm women and girls.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of people outside of feminist circles who use the word “empowerment” to describe a personal feeling of improved self-confidence, without any objective increase in power. Feminists do not care about this kind of empowerment, because it does not objectively increase the power of women as a class. The confusion between this kind of empty “empowerment” and real empowerment is harmful to feminism because it means that a patriarchal society can get away with giving women fake power while denying us the real power that we need.

    Getting the vote was empowering. Hobbies are typically not empowering.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empowerment
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_empowerment

  • Wren

    Yes, that is a perfect description of our country.

  • Wren

    SAME!

  • Alienigena

    And empowerment does not even align with the idea of political consciousness-raising which was a component of second wave feminism.

    http://www.womensliberation.org/priorities/feminist-consciousness-raising

  • Wren

    Thanks to the inane gibberish polers have expressed here, I no longer think it’s feasible that a pole dancer can be feminist. I think such identities are inherently antithetical.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’ma say that grown women stomping their feet and saying, “YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!” in response to explanations and critiques of systems of oppression that lead to literal violence, abuse, rape, and death is worse.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh good LORD! Women *can* wear heels if they want. That is not the point. The *why* is the point. No woman wears seven inch heels for fun and kicks in the privacy of her own home. The *only* purpose of these ‘shoes’ is to please and titillate the audience (yes! even if there are women in the audience! women internalize the male gaze).

    • Elizabeth

      Yes we do, and if you don’t do it that’s fine. But it doesn’t make me less of a woman or feminist if I actually like to wear heels in the privacy of my home or the pole studio (where there are no salivating men around).

      • Meghan Murphy

        What are you talking about? Did someone argue wearing heels made you ‘less of a woman or feminist’?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thanks Wire Bead.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh. I see. You’re just here to troll. Excuse me for thinking you were commenting here with any integrity at all.

  • Wren

    a pole is a big hard metal dick
    dick is power
    Now that about sums up reality.

  • FakeFeminist

    You know, nobody was judging individual people involved in pole dance until individual people involved in pole dance decided to prove that they reject feminism as a movement and that they think their hobby is more important than the issues of abuse and harassment. I now feel very comfortable judging those people.

    Just because someone says that an act is unfeminist doesn’t mean they’re saying that everyone involved with it is unfeminist. Feminists do unfeminist things too, and we admit that. But rejecting feminism does make a person unfeminist, because words mean things.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yes! Thank you FakeFeminist!

  • Wren

    OMG I love taking a good dump with a good book. Thoroughly enjoyable.

  • Gaiauchis

    How will you fight for your right of not being harassed? Because this is something women all over the world are trying to do for years

  • Gaiauchis

    What’s the purpose of heels?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, this would be really great, actually. It would save us all soooooo much time.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Are you? Because that’s not what anyone is doing or saying…

  • Gaiauchis

    Stop playing stupid. If women who have been raped are saying they don’t want a pole dance performance, you fucking respect them.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Meanwhile, you are defending a group of people who attacked a rape crisis centre, called staff of the organization ‘cunts’, ‘bitches’, and worse, and who smeared them across the internet, ALL for the sake of protecting POLE DANCING ffs.

  • Gaiauchis

    Too bad your husband don’t give a fuck if you find him sexy or not. He doesn’t need you approval, but you think you need his.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “When judgmental words like ‘ignorant’ pop up in this thread it’s (mostly, I hope?) in response to the things that polers are saying and doing, not a judgment on the fact that she’s a pole dancer alone.”

    It is only in response to the things polers are saying and doing, yes.

  • Elizabeth

    I’m going to bite and let you think that I know absolutely nothing about the topic (and get past all the condescending remarks).. So tell me: if this large community of women (many of them very well educated, college degree, masters, etc.) “misunderstood” the purpose of the image because they “ignore” your particular definition of radical feminism, don’t you think it is possible that many other non poler women can misinterpret it and that it can perpetuate a negative image against a portion of the female population? Isn’t that risky and irresponsible? If the objection is male violence why was there not a picture of a man on a strip club instead of women in a pole studio getting fit?

    Now, I keep hearing that the community is “harassing” this group and the LAWC:
    – If you saw your community was being used as an example of something that normalizes violence against women, you wouldn’t defend it or tried to clarify it?
    – I can’t deny that, like in ANY community, there might be people who might have expressed their views more strongly, but I can definitely say that the comments that I’ve read here by polers have been many times more respectul than the replies by this Community. I don’t think that sharing our experiences and trying to engage in conversation is harassment. Calling names, being condescending, calling people ignorant AF, feminist haters, etc, etc, that’s not cool.

    I do not think I can fully agree with the “radical feminism” that I’ve found in this community, but definitely these last exchanges have been more positive and informative. Thank you for that, I’ll check out those articles.

  • Elizabeth

    That’s partly why I keep saying the article needed more research, I don’t think the problem was that they pulled their support, the problem was that they did it by using an image of women in a pole studio saying THAT was normalizing violence against women and it got worse when they deleted and blocked respectful comments and then when this article mocked the whole community. I’m glad you could interpret it differently, I don’t think it is needed to make fun of the pole community or claim that they dont like feminists to get that point across and I still think it is biased and under researched because it does not show the whole picture and tried hard to make the pole community look ridiculous and as a bad thing. We are sharing our stories to tell you: it is not entirely a bad thing, not to tell you “it should be put on every single event”.
    The image was a poor choice and the harsh judging against the community, without knowing anything about it, is what I object to.
    I think in the end we all come from different contexts and we have been arguing while focusing on different things. I appreciate the time you took to write this.. After two days of snarky comments, I am finally getting positive conversation and learning in all this.

  • FakeFeminist

    “ladies”

    gross

    “We are all beautiful, we are all entitled to our opinions”

    What if I wasn’t beautiful? Would I still be entitled to my opinion? What does beauty have to do with it?

    “we are all allowed to express ourselves in whatever form we like.”

    I express myself by drowning babies. This was my free empowerful choice, so I’m allowed to do it. If you want to criticize it, I suggest you try it before you bag it out. I hope you’re not going to tear me down. You should empower me to do it instead.

    I express myself by cutting.

    I express myself through anorexia.

    I express myself by yelling at random strangers I meet on the street.

    I express myself through public masturbation.

    I express myself by running a dog-fighting ring.

    I express myself by making snuff films.

    I express myself by smearing feces on the walls in public restrooms.

    I express myself by unexpectedly setting off fireworks around my neighbor, who has PTSD.

    There is a really, really long list of modes of expression that are NOT valid and should NOT be supported. I know you know this. You even know why — because they are harmful. You do not disagree with us about the nature of the choices women should make. You just disagree with us about whether this particular choice is harmful. Don’t tell us that “all choices are valid” when we BOTH know that’s a lie, and try to make a real rational argument that supports what you ACTUALLY believe.

  • Alienigena

    Listening to the pole dancer lobby inundate this story with accounts of how they feel abused by mean feminists and the staff of a women’s shelter is like having to listen to a lecture on empathy from Chanel Oberlin, the pre-eminent ‘Chanel’ of the television series, Scream Queens. Mind bendy.

    http://scream-queens.wikia.com/wiki/Chanel_Oberlin

  • Kendall Turtle

    Lol seriously? Please read about actual feminism. This blatant ignorance on feminist theory is baffling!

  • Anthocerotopsida

    I’m a huge fan of heavy metal. I’m going to a metal festival this weekend, gonna see my very favorite band for the first time. I can’t fucking wait (yes, I’m bragging). Fans of heavy metal are called “metalheads”. It’s going to be a gathering of metalheads (and some poseurs, pff.) If someone told me that the term “metalhead” sounded silly, I wouldn’t disagree. Because, believe it or not, I have a sense of humor. I’m a grown woman calling herself a metalhead. It sure does sound silly. If someone told me that violently misogynist lyrics in some metal contributes to a culture of violent misogyny, I wouldn’t disagree. They would be right. It’s a short, straight line to get from *singing about the joys of rape to be “funny” or “provocative”* to *believing deep down that the purpose of women is to be used for sex*. I still like some of that music, and I’ll continue to listen to it as long as I can stomach it, but it sure does hurt women and girls in the long run.
    It’s a short straight line to get from *dancing in a way that looks very much like what happens in a strip club, and het men sure as hell can’t tell the difference* to *this thing promotes a culture that sexually objectifies women*. Nobody’s perfect. A little perspective, that’s all.
    (Sorry, I feel bad for repeatedly posting. Moderator is a busy woman in a fast pased world I’m sure, and this thread has gone on far too long. But it’s fun.)

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’ve presented many facts over the years about the harms of the sex industry, of objectification, and sexualization, as have many other feminists. Did you miss all that?

    Also, in this case, ‘polers’ came at feminists en masse. There have been hundreds. This isn’t just a few individuals. Apparently the whole ‘community’ is like this.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The point is that the women in the photos are quite obviously performing for the male gaze. Pole dancing *is* clearly a gendered, sexualized practice, and we need look no further than these photos to see that. Do you understand now? Or are you just being purposely obtuse.

    • Elizabeth

      You really think that you don’t “need to see further than a photo” to understand exactly what’s going on in a place/situation that you know Nothing about? Your definition of “journalist” is really skewed, there is really no point on trying to have a useful conversation if you think like this.
      Lucky for your cause, a few people did provide useful information and engaging conversation and this has not been an entire loss of time.

      • Meghan Murphy

        OH MY GOD. So, when I look at porn, or when I see sexualized women dancing around in music videos, I am not allowed to name that imagery as sexist and objectifying unless I what? Look ‘further than the imagery’? How the FUCK do you think people analyze media and imagery? Jeeeeeezus.

  • Meghan Murphy

    As I’ve already explained, women internalize the male gaze. The male gaze still exists, even if there isn’t a literal man gazing. Women wear heels because they learn that it makes them appear sexier/more attractive. This really isn’t that complicated.

    • Kendall Turtle

      The ignorance is strong with these Polers.

  • Bleeps

    Do you see how much harassment this site has gotten from pole-dancers for this article? Where are all the comments from them on the other articles, feminism-loving-feminists that they are?

  • Bleeps

    I’m watching the Golden Girls right now and those hussies are wearing LIPSTICK. I’m going to call the head of the Feminazi Conspiracy and get that shit shut down! All Your Femininities Are Belong to Us.
    Muahahahahahaha.

  • JingFei

    I was making the point that a great number of people associate it with sexual objectification in reply to her comment that most “pole dancing classes are not sexy”. Quite a few are, and are marketed as such.
    I wasn’t making a judgment on men and women having sex. You really have to try hard to read that into it. I couldn’t care less what husbands and wives do. That’s their business.

  • jdndcus

    A woman can think she isn’t pole dancing for men’s entertainment, but I guarantee every man will think she is.

  • Bleeps

    What happens when ‘people’ who cat-call you decide they don’t like you standing up to them? What if some of those ‘people’ are bigger and stronger than you, don’t see women as anything other than sex-toys, and decide to retaliate? Are you empowered through the law to punish them? Will the police be helpful to you, or will they too decide that women aren’t fully human and that cat-calling is a right of ‘people’, that any woman who stands up to that deserves what she gets?

  • Bleeps

    Your goal is to normalize pole-dancing, to separate it out from stripping. What you need to do is shut down strip clubs, not feminists. Then you will be on your way towards making it a sport, instead of a tool to make women sex-meat for men.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Well, you certainly are a good example of what women should be doing… I mean, feminism really is just all about ‘bitching’ amirite?

    • Melissa Kelly

      A personal attack, awesome! Proof that you can’t reason with radicals. Seems like anyone that voices a different opinion gets attacked. Whatever.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Um. I was responding to the literal words you said. Also, that’s an odd thing for someone who entered this ‘conversation’ by accusing feminists of simply ‘bitching’ and by accusing me of being ‘bitter and nasty’….

        Top notch trolling though!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Under patriarchy, men see women as ‘things’ and as property. This is how objectification works. Women are seen as ‘things’ that exist ‘for men.’ Pole dancing connects to violence against women as it treats women as things that exist for men — to be looked at, consumed, fucked. Pornography does the same, so does prostitution, etc. That is not the same thing as saying that prostituted women ‘contribute to violence against themselves.’ Normalizing the idea of women as objects normalizes violence against women because objectification = dehumanization. Do you understand?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Well, I manage to live a very interesting, full, and fulfilling life outside the pole cult.

  • anne

    An excellent lecture by Lierre Keith exploring the issue of self-policing and forced consent as part of any pervasivelly oppressive system, such as patriarchy. On how the powerful get the oppressed to internalise the values of their oppressor – which is what’s really going on here. 30 minutes, less than how long most of the ‘Polers’ spent on here utterly misunderstanding the feminist analysis of their hobby. http://youtu.be/RAMm_JIUoQE

  • Meghan Murphy

    1) I delete the most offensive comments.
    2) You really haven’t been paying attention, then.

  • Meghan Murphy

    ‘Polers’ have literally told me to remove this article and apologize.

  • Meghan Murphy

    notallmennotallmennotallmennotallmennoooootalllllmennnnnnn

    • Anna Gesine Marie T

      I said ‘not all pole dancers’ to you and you gave me the comparison about all dogs liking bones and all men being rapists, right?

      • Meghan Murphy

        I’m making a joke. “Not all men” is a common response to feminists who talk about male violence being a thing that males do.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Well, you’re victim blaming and you’re slut-shaming people who you consider sexually exploited.”

    No. No one is doing that. Also, please stop calling women ‘sluts’.

    • Anna Gesine Marie T

      You’re the one making assumptions here. I said you’re slut shaming pole dancers and those include men. So I’m not exclusively referring to women. But if it makes you happier: you’re shaming a group of professional or recreational athletes who enjoy a sport you do not identify with and you’re doing so because of the way they’re dressed – high “stripper heels” as you like calling them.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Honestly, if you are so obtuse that you continue to insist that the issue here is “shaming” of women “because of the way they’re dressed,” despite the fact that the purpose of this article is clear and the analysis has been explained/articulated many times over again, in the comment section, I really don’t see the point in engaging with you further. It seems clear you don’t *want* to understand, but rather that you prefer to misunderstand.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Gaiauchis hasn’t decided you have no power, patriarchy has.

    • Anna Gesine Marie T

      What would patriarchy’s symptoms of my powerlessness be, on which this decision is made?

      • Cassandra

        Here are a few symptoms of female powerlessness:

        Not having complete and total control of your own reproductive system — forced incubation and birth — being prosecuted for a miscarriage — not being able to talk about your own reproductive reality without being called a TERF and “exclusionary” to misogynist men who want to wear high heels and lipstick — being unsafe at night because of male violence — being represented as a subhuman fucktoilet in porn, which hurts all women — not being paid as much as a man in your same position — not being able to drive a car in Saudi Arabia — female genital mutilation –honor killings –gang rape — individual rape — prostitution and the fact that prostitutes are killed all the time — the fact that the #1 search term on the internet is “teen porn” because men want to jack off to sexually abused children and runaways being raped on film — incest — men raping their own daughters — being talked over and talked down to by men your entire life –unwanted sexual advances — being followed down the street –being stared at, leered at, your appearance commented on by everyone, including women — if you ever get pregnant, being constantly policed and having strangers touch your belly without permission — men touching you without permission — being told you’re worthless and treated with contempt once you start aging…

        Should I keep going?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Femininity and masculinity are very much alive and kicking. So is sexism. Of course, if you don’t actually *care* about sexism, which it sounds like you don’t, we probably won’t get very far in this discussion…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Who are you calling an ‘idiot’ and why?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Um. You are the one who thinks gender roles are not only irrelevant, but exist on an individual to individual basis.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ha. You got me! This whole feminism thing was just a ruse!

  • Kendall Turtle

    You’re individualistic approach is specifically why what you do isn’t “feminist” regardless of whether you feel personally empowered by it or not. feminism has specific goals for women as a class. Many women feel and felt “empowered” by not being allowed to vote and other misogynistic practices (they think it’s embracing true femininity), does that mean it is feminist? No, of course not.

  • Kendall Turtle

    To sum it up “feeling” empowered is not the same as ACTUALLY being empowered.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “It’s a shame that in the name of feminism women like yourself find it necessary to criticize other women for their hobbies/sports/jobs just because there could be men who would find what they are doing attractive.”

    Have you forgotten that the reason I wrote this article to begin with was because hundreds of ‘polers’ were attacking, harassing, and smearing a rape crisis shelter/anti-male violence against women org? All in defense of pole dancing? But, yeah, we’re the meanies…

  • Meghan Murphy

    I am talking about the attacks on LAWC. Not just those who came here. Also, for the umpteenth time, NO ONE said that women are to blame for the violence men inflict on them. This conversation is about something much broader than you are willing to admit to or understand.

  • Alienigena

    My problem with the pole lobbyists who comment on the rudeness or profanity of some of the posts is that the focus on politeness is an attempt at deflection … from the real issue (which was discussed in the original article) … violence against women.

    “Take Back the Night began in the 1970s as a feminist protest against male violence against women”

    People who refuse to acknowledge violence in society and in interpersonal relationships always seem to emphasis politeness, specifically a lack of politeness over actual violence. People who are impolite are not on par with people who are violent. My mother always emphasized politeness but never really held my father to account for his emotional and sometimes physical threats/body language and violent behaviour. What would the neighbors or her friends think?

    Politeness is not a shield, it won’t protect you from violent men, it does not defuse the situation, women who defend themselves against violent men or express themselves profanely aren’t ‘asking for it’, they are responding sanely to an immediate threat and repeated abuse. I often wonder if the women who just don’t get it have lead sheltered lives, have never encountered violent or abusive men, or are just gullible. But then I read comments about how poling helped them recover from abusive or bad relationships. So the only conclusion I am left with is that the response of women who pole and defend poling is that they have chosen to identify with what I call ‘the winning side’, the oppressor, violent, abusive men.

    I see this behaviour in my sister and my mother. They adopted the individualistic, libertarian worldview, the pull yourself up by your bootstraps approach, a kind of feminized machismo. I don’t feel much in common with my mother or sister on this front or women who respond as they did to male oppression. To me someone can’t be a feminist if they adopt this macho attitude … the idea that only the strong should survive and that the only response is to align yourselves (which is itself ultimately loosing proposition) with your oppressor by presenting to the world in a way that doesn’t challenge that oppressor.

  • Meghan Murphy

    When I wrote (rather tepidly) about burlesque, something similar happened, yes. I think there were possible *more* comments this time, on the pole dancing piece, but also when I wrote about burlesque it was at least a few years ago, and our audience/readership/reach was smaller.

    Needless to say, the responses were similar — people going on and on about how supportive the ‘burlesque community’ is, how much they like burlesque, how ’empowered’ it makes them feel, #notallburlesque, some men do it, there are women in the audience, etc. Unfortunately comments went missing from older posts when we redid the site a couple of years ago… http://www.feministcurrent.com/2013/09/23/responding-to-critiques-of-burlesque-cheat-sheet-crazy-making-edition/ http://www.feministcurrent.com/2011/02/04/burlesque-they-tell-me-its-just-for-fun-except-im-not-having-any/

  • Meghan Murphy

    I “said it was funny to make a meme of women who practice pole dancing”??? Where on earth did I say that?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Men in this world have power regardless of their personal self esteem. You don’t understand how power works.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “First of all pole fitness is NEVER marketed that way by any studio…becasue frankly…. seduction is not what studio based pole fitness is about.”

    Noooo never ever ever….

    http://cherryblossomstudio.ca/strip-camp/
    http://www.tantrafitness.com/classes-workshops/pole-fitness-classes/exotic-dance-beginner/ http://www.tantrafitness.com/classes-workshops/pole-fitness-classes/exotic-dance-intermediate/ (this studio offers lap dancing classes, twerking classes, and a number of other ‘erotic’ dance classes)
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWcne8F6NpOTSiUoKfdvvcQ
    http://www.avafitness.ca/exotic-classes.html

    etc etc

    Pretty much *every* pole dance studio markets ‘sexy’ or ‘erotic’ classes and uses sexualized imagery of women in stripper heels to advertise.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Here is what you wrote:

    “many women choose to marry for financial security, is marriage sexist? legalized prostitution?”

    Then you wrote, “Some Christian communities around the world practice female genital mutilation, is christianism sexist per se? would the LWAC pull out of an event because a christian organisation was taking part?”

    I responded as best I could. I have no idea whether LAWC would pull out of an event solely because it included a Christian organization, if that organization was invested in promoting feminism. (If it wasn’t, they obviously wouldn’t partner.)

    Pole dancing promotes objectification. There are, though, faith-based organizations that promote feminist goals and oppose objectification and violence against women. You are doing false equivalence here. Including feminists who are Christian in an anti-male violence event is not antithetical to the goals of TBTN, whereas promoting the sex industry and objectification is.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thank you will.

  • will

    So THAT explains all the stilettos in yoga and gymnastics!

    No, wait…

    • Elizabeth

      1. There is a longer response to this, this was just one example
      2. They use bands in yoga for the same purpose, its just much more difficult to get a band in place when you are upside down holding all your body weight from only a couple pressure points between the pole and your body.
      3. It is an option, not a rule.

  • Anna Gesine Marie T

    Cool will read the article shortly to discuss further. Thank you for more thought fodder!

  • will

    So you’re cool with it, clearly. How are you with “youth sex workers”?

    Actually, please don’t answer that.

  • Meghan Murphy

    What happened was that one woman on the WEC suggested it, behind closed doors, LAWC opposed the suggestion, privately, then the woman went ahead and posted the idea to social media, disparaging, misrepresenting, and direspecting LAWC’s position in her post. That is why and when LAWC pulled out and explained why they opposed pole dancing at TBTN. At which point the ‘polers’ attacked LAWC en masse.

  • Anna Gesine Marie T

    I can think of exactly five things that are good for ALL women:
    1) Food/Water
    2) Shelter
    3) Education
    4) Freedom to do as they please
    5) Education

    By saying “Women shouldn’t pole dance or shouldn’t enjoy pole dancing because my personal opinion is that it objectifies women which encourages male on female violence.” you are limiting Number 4: Freedom to do as they please.

    You can’t determine things which are good for ALL women (I count the right to vote under Number 4 – Freedom to do as they please). Even on the simplest level (biology) we are all so different that you can’t determine anything beyond “food” that is good for everyone. Some are celiac disease sufferers, some like vegan food, some have allergies…our bodies are all very much alike and yet you can’t specify what is good for ALL women. It’ll end up with someone having an anaphylactic shock.

    Similarly on social things like hobbies (pole, pottery, painting…). It’s impossible to find things good for ALL women. Except for maybe “generic exercise of your choice to keep fit”.

    How would you define something that is good for ALL women? And how do you know that it is good for them?

    For example, is it good if 100% of women are happy with this something? Or are 90% good enough? And how happy should they be? 9/10 happy? Or are we aiming for 10/10 happy?

    If something is good for all women, surely that something must be decided by all women not just by a few.

    • Andrew Cole

      I think people like you are misguided, and I say that because I used to think like you. When you change contexts it becomes pretty obvious that choices are not always choices and that ‘freedom’ is often used as a tool by oppressors to justify their actions.

      The idea that, for example, people have the freedom to work where they want, even if they are forced to stay to keep insurance. The fact that people may have worse choices, or even just worse to them, does not automatically make the better choice ok. When the culture legitamizes strip clubs or prostitution, it sends a message to women that selling their bodies is a choice they must consider.

      Yes male strippers/prostitutes/whatever exist, but let’s get real here, the pressure and expectation is only on women.

  • Elizabeth

    I understand this and thank you for sharing. The point(s) where we disagree is :
    – you really dont know what happens on a sexy flow class, what is being taught, how it is being taught and what are women learning from it. You are making assumptions based on what you think it is and some pictures and some select videos you have seen. Many women here can tell you that the impact of what you are imagining (for each woman) is different than what you think.. i would at least ponder on that to try to learn more (even if you disagree) instead of dismissing it
    – the message that I keep hearing is that we can’t feel sexy because we have only been taught how to be sexy for a man and any “original” idea we think we found through our practice is stupid because it all still revolves around a man. And I understand you have your “studies” and understand that it is not the same for many other women in the world and that we should fight for them too (which btw, you have no idea if we do or do not beyond this post) but I dont think this is the “universal truth” we have to accept or that we are forever stuck in it, and until you decide it’s ok: women cant feel sexy or beautiful because its a stupid idea that men created, even if you feel beautiful or sexy for your own pleasure. That limits us more as a class, doesn’t gets us out of men’s power zone.
    Women here have mentioned over and over how they discovered and learned to appreciate their sexuality, and you keep dismissing them because its not the “right kind”? How do you know what they’ve learned and what has changed in them if you don’t listen to them and immediately assume that they are stupid and selfish? If so many women have discovered something that makes them talk so fervently about feeling more powerful, accepting their bodes, feeling beautiful and or sexy for themselves (not necessarily according to the current beauty standard).. Something that took the shame out of being sexy and is letting them enjoy it… Why won’t you take a step and investigate “what’s this crazy thing these gals are defending, what have they discovered, what are they learning… How can we use this ?” . Instead of saying: “you can’t do it until all men change and all women are free and you are stupid if you think it is helping you and you are selfish because you only care about your stupid hobby and all the female race is waiting for you to be smarter”. (And by the way, at this point you must understand that if we are defending a stupid “hobby” its because we found something valuable that we don’t think it is stupid. )
    There are many different ways of creating change, telling women they cant do stuff (or they can’t be feminists if they do) because its too sexy or enjoyable for men (when you don’t even have enough information to know who is getting the most benefit out of this particular community) is not the way I would chose. And no, I’m not talking about the TBTN event, I’m talking about the sweeping generalization and assumption that all pole dancing should stop.

  • Meghan Murphy

    No, it’s not committed by all men, but all men condone male violence by participating in and perpetuating patriarchy. The point is that male violence is systemic, and functions on various levels, some overt, some more subtle. This is why ‘not all men’ is not a useful response, nor is pointing to the exception rather than the rule.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, that too.

  • Elizabeth

    I think more than one person has actually argued that there are different flavors of it, and that NOT EVERYTHING is about fetish and sexyness.. + even the sexy classes are not necessarily what you think.

    Getting caught on the roots is pointless for me because each flavor/style/trick is closer to one thing or the other (probably why you see people talking about different roots).

    There are lots of options if you don’t like heels or sexy spins.. it is not just about girating sexily around a pole and… we don’t judge the women who do enjoy the sexy side.

    Oh, and women invent these tricks. There are poses, tricks, spins, named after (or by) the pole athletes who created them.

  • Kpoler08

    I tried other activities and everything else made my hip worse. I would be unable to tie my own shoe within a few months. If I quit right now, it would be like a piece of me has died. I have had many of those women who would have disagreed with me come try a class and every single one left with a completely different view of Pole. Instead of changing what women do, we have worked on (and succeeded) with changing how men and women in our area view Pole Dancing. Yes there are some that still struggle. However there are many more that have learned to respect Pole as an art or a sport. I also have straight male students. There is also a national martial arts instructor who has made it mandatory for all of his male and female students to take a couple Pole classes as part of their martial arts program. I have had at least 50 students who have told me Pole has changed their life for the better. In fact, I plan on using Pole and other Aerial Arts to encourage others with disabilities around the world to follow their dreams. There has been a lot of progress with Pole being recognized as a sport and there is more coming. Men walk through our studio and treat myself and my students with respect just as they do with gymnastics, martial arts, or any other respected hobby. It has taken time but it has been worth it for all of those that it has helped.

  • Cassandra

    That’s an excellent Time article/link, JingFei. (I’m mad at Time right now though because they published the misogynist loser Jim Norton talking about how he feels no shame about raping prostitutes. It’s horrible.)

    • JingFei

      Omg! I don’t actually follow Time very much, but I came across this once and saved the link.
      That’s disappointing though :[

    • Bleeps

      OT, but this is actually the reason I have a problem with Amy Schumer. Jim Norton is an open, very proud misogynist and Amy has put him on her show in a public-facing — and therefore promotional — role many times.

  • Cassandra

    “Well, you’re victim blaming and you’re slut-shaming people who you consider sexually exploited.”

    I’m sorry, but you really, really, really, don’t understand this site or feminism if you think this.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Erasing the gendered reality of male violence against women doesn’t support men who are non-violent. And, personally, I’m not all that interested in applauding a man who decides not to be violent or misogynistic. Having humanity should be expected, not something that is rewarded with cookies.

  • Cassandra

    I love this comment. Feminists *do* try to get these points across, but the silencing and opposition are brutal.

  • Wire Bead

    Go for it, if that is what you enjoy. But just because you enjoy an activity does not make that activity immune from critique.

  • Melanie

    So women not achieving roles in leadership, secure jobs etc. is down to their own feelings and attitudes, not the systemic sexism and discrimination that holds women back and funnels them into low wage, dead end jobs and exploitative situations, such as ending up in a strip bar?

  • Cassandra

    “Sexual imagery does not normalize violence against women.”

    Yes, it does. Acceptance of that violence is just the next step, and it’s accepted because men still run the courts, the laws, the judges, the sentencing, etc. They’re not gonna do shit about it.

  • Cassandra

    Nobody is trying to stop you from doing anything. Pole dancing demos just didn’t belong at Take Back the Night.

  • Melanie

    It’s such a repulsive, mysoginistic term. Do these people hear themselves?

  • Hierophant2

    “I see myself as powerful because I control my behaviours, my achievements and my capacity as a human being.”

    That’s… not what “power” actually means. That’s called will, self-control, drive or determination. Personal attributes. Power is not a personal attribute.

    Do I have to teach English to you people as well?

  • Kendall Turtle

    I was in an abusive relationship and had great self esteem, I was beautiful and strong and I knew that. Abusive relationships aren’t as simple as you like to believe, there’s a lot of psychological shit going on there.

  • Melanie

    The reason that women stay with their abusers is because they’ve had their self esteem systematically shattered by violent men and because they’re scared for their lives. I know formerly confident, self assured women who have been in that situation. They didnt get out of it by going to a pole dancing class and gaining new found confidence. They got out of it because it reached the point of no return, they feared for their lives and they got help and support from friends, family, the legal system and organizations like LAWC.

  • JingFei

    For someone so offended by the very thought of others telling you what you should/shouldn’t do, you seem quite enthusiastic to make things up about anyone who disagrees with yo even slightly. Not ONCE in this comment section have I said women shouldn’t pole dance. I have only said I think it is inappropriate for 8 year olds, and events designed to raise awareness for causes like sexual violence against women. I have stated over and over, that if grown women enjoy it for fitness, or at home in their private lives, then whatever. I think I might have even said this directly to you in fact.
    The whole idea that pole dancing is NEVER marketed to women for “being sexy” is a flat out lie. Either that, or you are delusional. This is not only disproven by a quick google and being alive in modern society, but disproven by your fellow pole dancers in this very comment section.
    Your answers continue to be nothing but dishonest , so I’m not going to engage with you anymore. All you do is throw out baseless accusations because you’re mad that anyone would dare look at your hobby differently than you do.
    But for the record; other than the ones Meghan found;
    “Vixen Classes” “Booty Classes” “Temptress Classes”
    http://www.polefitnessstudio.com/class-descriptions/

    “Learn Pole Dancing from Sexy Las Vegas Strippers”
    https://www.stripper101.com/

    Oh, here’s an article in a main stream fitness magazine about Pole and what the first two amazing reasons women should try it?
    – “It’s risque and alluring!”
    – “It’s like role-playing a sex siren! You can mimick the sexy dancers you see at strip clubs!”
    http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/8-reasons-you-need-try-pole-fitness

    I mean this took 5 minutes.

  • Just Passing Through

    You are so very wrong..good grief all you have to do is just google the words “pole dancing videos” or just pole dancing… and most of the words related to it is “erotic, sexy, world’s best stripper, erotic pole, get fit and feel sexy, turn him on, world’s most erotic dancer, turn on”, blah blah blah… but no, not marketed that way at all. Sure.

  • JingFei

    It’s nuts. I think I’ve repeated the same things over and over and over. Like, I can’t simplify this more or repeat it enough. They are fixated on “You evil women want to take away my recess for no reason except you’re bad!!” .
    There have been a scant few that are actually reading our comments and attempting to discuss, and I appreciate them- but wow is there a lot of unnecessary aggression.

  • Bleeps

    There was a news article a few years ago about EMT’s assaulting female passengers in ambulances who had called for help. I don’t know how widepsread it is, but power in that situation would look like what? There is a 3% rate for conviction of rapists — what would empowerment for rape-victims, 90%+ of whom are female, look like? (Hint: testing rape kits would be helpful — who decides not to test them? or why do they get shelved?) Colleges and universities have an epidemic of sexual violence against women and reporting often does little — why is that? Are those women at fault for just not being personally empowered enough, unable to make men cower before them? Or is something bigger going on? Is there a mentality about ‘college girls’ that men have?

    I mean, I could go on and on and on, but It think you actually get it, but are trying to defend pole-dancing against imagined enemies and it seems there’s just no reasoning with that. And certainly there isn’t going to be much common ground between feminists who don’t think self-objectification is good for women, and those who think self-objectification gives them social rewards or status.

  • Anna Gesine Marie T

    But how do you personally or the people on this page actually do any real changes or fights to help any of the the things you described?

    And again, my question:
    You can’t determine things which are good for ALL women. Can you?
    How would you define something that is good for ALL women? And how do you know that it is good for them?

    For example, is it good if 100% of women are happy with this something? Or are 90% good enough? And how happy should they be? 9/10 happy? Or are we aiming for 10/10 happy?

    • Morag999

      “For example, is it good if 100% of women are happy with this something? Or are 90% good enough? And how happy should they be? 9/10 happy? Or are we aiming for 10/10 happy?”

      Fool. You have feminism confused with hedonism.

  • Anna Gesine Marie T

    What about people of other genders? What about non-binaries? Male-to-female trans people? And if we can raise one subgroup of humans out of poverty, why not end poverty for all humanity?

    • Gaiauchis

      The site you’re looking for is : Tumblr.com

    • Polly Hanna

      HAHAAHAHA “people of other genders.” Mere fantasy and delusion brought to us by patriarchy gaining steam and mowing everything down in its path globally.

  • Anna Gesine Marie T

    I agree with your point (comparison to slavery etc.).

    But this still leaves me pondering: How do we decide what’s best or right for women? And how do we know that this is best for women? And does it have to be the best thing for ALL women or is 90% of women enough?

    And in this case we must not forget that not all societies are equally bad for women. I get that the US are a nightmare in many ways, I mean they’re the only global player who doesn’t have paid maternity leave. Come on! Other countries do more and better. Not consistently of course but yeah…look up the case of Gina Lisa Lohfink, her case makes Brock Turner’s conviction like a fair, just sentence…

    • Polly Hanna

      Oh it’s all so difficult, it’s making my little lady brains hurt….

  • Zuzanna Smith

    I am a Pole and this offends me. I do not want to be sexy as fuck, sounds really tiring.

  • Zuzanna Smith

    Calling a male a male is not violence.

  • will
  • Gaiauchis

    since this thread has so many comments and visibility. Check out this: https://www.reddit.com/r/Hookers/comments/53rtef/are_any_of_you_concerned_with_sex_trafficking/
    The real face of men who pay to rape women.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah… There are literally hundreds and hundreds of comments here from angry ‘polers’ — your arguments are not being suppressed by any means.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Many of FC’s supporters work on the front lines with and on behalf of women all around the world. We have successfully advocated for the Nordic model in more than one country around the world, including Canada. Organizations like LAWC and VRR, who are our sisters and allies, work with abused and raped women every single day. FC has supported women’s work and activism all around the world and has changed minds, with regard to things like prostitution and the broader impact of the sex industry on all women. FC is one of the only sites out there that is actually directly allied with the independent women’s movement. We show up at talks and demonstrations. Women here put on festivals, events, and protests. We push back against the status quo and provide alternative perspectives that are generally suppressed by mainstream media and even liberal and so-called leftist media. If you listened to the podcast or read the site, you’d probably understand all this…

  • Meghan Murphy

    Saying ‘there are assholes everywhere’ does not excuse or negate the behaviour of ‘polers’ towards LAWC/feminists.

  • Meghan Murphy

    ha. Fair point

  • Meghan Murphy

    So you don’t think that imagery that sexualizes violence and/or dehumanizes women harms women?

    • Mar

      Not in the sense that it normalizes violence. We are in a poor position in society as women. Degrading imagery doesn’t cause us to be dehumanized we are already dehumanized and degrading imagery is created as a result. Before there were any strip clubs, brothels, or pornography we were already viewed as less than. In other parts of the world where there is no inundation of sexual imagery and women are restricted from expressing themselves sexually they are still objectified and violated, why? because there is little to no consequence for the perpetrators of these crimes.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Oh. Ok. So sending the message that violence is sexy and that women aren’t fully human doesn’t normalize violence or misogyny. Got it.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I have no idea why your post was supposedly removed. It’s possible that if you just left a link, and no comment, it looked like spam. Or, perhaps you were just spamming the comment section with links? Anyway, there are numerous comments here that are show/say the exact same thing you are trying to show/say here so I really don’t understand your point or concern.

    • Mar

      You don’t understand? Big surprise there

      • Meghan Murphy

        Oh gee, it’s a real surprise that *any* of your comments would be deleted, considering your polite and productive engagement!

  • Meghan Murphy

    Keep being willfully obtuse…

  • Meghan Murphy

    What is the purpose of saying, “there are assholes everyone,” in response to the point that hundreds of polers attacked and smeared a rape crisis centre?

    • Day C Keller

      Did you read the comment? I’m saying that people are assholes, they attacked LAWC not because they are pole dancers, but BECAUSE THEY ARE ASSHOLES. In any moment it meant it was ok. There are assholes in my community, there are assholes in yours, there are assholes in every single community in this world. IT DOES NOT DEFINES THE COMMUNITY, that’s my point. I’m not here to attack you and I haven’t. It seems to me you can’t see past what these people did and are treating all of us like shit because of that. If you are willing to lower your guard and actually listen, maybe you would see that some of us are only here to have a healthy dialog.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Buuuuuuut they were all polers. And no, feminists do not behave in this way. Sorry. This behaviour *does* in fact define the community, because this is how the community behaves.

        • Day C Keller

          Wow. Good luck to you, Meghan.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Thank you!

  • Meghan Murphy

    That’s a funny thing for a person who is incapable of reading words to say.

  • Morag999

    “Being free from male violence would be good for all women.”

    Yes, that’s the obvious answer to the question concerning what would be good for ALL women.

    But it seems that Anna doesn’t like obvious answers. She is concerned with questions about what kinds of super-unique, most-favourite things might make individual women “happy” and whether we, as feminists, could realistically aim for a happiness score of 9/10.

  • Wire Bead

    Not going to debate your strawmen. Feel free to continue arguing with yourself, setting them up and knocking them down. Can’t be that challenging or informative, but go for it, if that’s what you enjoy.

  • Elizabeth

    We obviously know that.
    Fun fact.. When you are doing tricks on the pole, you are mostly flying, hanging or upside down, there is little walking on them.

  • Wren

    Do you actually lean any self-defense in pole dancing?? Cause just being “strong” doesn’t actually have anything to do with defending yourself against an attacker. You know that, right???

  • Wren

    well that’s a lot of pretty bullshit

  • Wren

    Yes, she also think some man “cowered” before her. Pretty fucking delusional. But that’s what happens when you’re in a cult.

  • Wren

    “I think the reason I perceive myself as powerful as a result of my
    confidence/courage is because they have prompted me to “reach” for
    power. And because people have always told me “This is in your power.
    Decide as you will.”

    OMG THIS IS SO FUCKING CULTY I JUST CAN’T.

    • Morag999

      “OMG THIS IS SO FUCKING CULTY”

      It really is! And like all the other positive-thinking schemes that offer simple (and dogmatic) formulas to deep-seated and complex human problems, they are inherently victim-blaming. Because the focus is always on the self/self-improvement, and how everyone creates her/his own reality. Of course, the paradox is that this leads to utter conformity to the group, and to never challenging the status quo.

  • Elizabeth

    Can you please explain what do you consider a “valid” “female sexuality” expression? Or feeling? Or is “sexy” a word that women can never use?
    I am honestly curious and no one has elaborated on this.

    • Cassandra

      You know, that’s a fair question and one us feminists often ponder. We are all so poisoned and socially brainwashed by the messages and images we are surrounded with from the time we’re born that nobody really knows exactly what female expressions of sexuality would be in regard to not serving the male gaze — not being sexy *for men* — at least I’m not so sure. I have read lesbian women talking about it in certain ways, but even gay men and lesbian women can’t get away from heteronormative dynamics and influence. I’m heterosexual and fully willing to admit that I don’t have an example of what it is, and I imagine that it might be different for different women. I do know that *my* natural sexuality is most likely not about being sexy for men, and I certainly don’t enjoy being dominated and/or degraded. Maybe I feel it when I’m attracted to a man (a very rare occurrence) and I notice his beauty? But there’s nowhere on earth that patriarchy doesn’t exist, so it’s hard to say.

  • Wren

    WTF??

  • Wren

    Why the fuck did you come here then??? It certainly wasn’t to listen.

  • Wren

    These are not the brightest bulbs on the tree.

  • Wren

    Why are they called “tricks”??? Is it MAGIC??

    You do know that “trick” is also prostitute lingo for a john. You do know this, riiigghhht??

    • Elizabeth

      Circus stuff is also called tricks… Don’t get hung up on a single word.

  • Wren

    Why do you lump yourself in with strippers???
    Strippers I respect for being survivors.
    You I don’t respect at all.

  • Wren

    more word salad

  • Wren

    omg stop

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh my god. Stop trolling. You are being ridiculous.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I agree. But there is more to the issue than only holding men accountable. Obviously feminists are constantly holding men accountable for their behaviour, but men’s behaviour is also influenced in other ways, and sexism exists because of systemic power imbalances, and is normalized through media, not solely because of the choices of individual men.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Pole dancing has nothing to do with female sexuality. It is a performance.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I have closed them from time to time, yes… I generally try to leave them open because I find that the evidence from the ‘other side’ is useful, in terms of showing how ridiculous or shitty they are (whoever they may be — MRAs, pro-sex industry folk, etc), but yes, if this continues for much longer I may consider closing it… I know it’s annoying and tedious for regular commenters (i.e. intelligent feminists) and I do appreciate your efforts and patience!!!

    • Gaiauchis

      This discussion is exausting. :/

      • Meghan Murphy

        I know. I’m sorry 🙁

  • Elizabeth

    And what does that have to do with my comment?

  • Cassandra

    You really just don’t get it.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You keep talking about being or feeling ‘sexy,’ and we are talking about this idea within the context of pole dancing. You write:
    “Women here have mentioned over and over how they discovered and learned to appreciate their sexuality, and you keep dismissing them because its not the ‘right kind?'”

    My response is that pole dancing has nothing to do with female sexuality. I don’t know how I can possibly respond to your question, because it begins from a false premise — the idea that pole dancing is connected to women’s sexualities, which it is not.

    Under patriarchy, we all have confused sexuality with ‘looking sexy’, which is something that has been defined by the male gaze.

    Genuine female sexuality would be about female sexual pleasure. It doesn’t (or shouldn’t) have anything to do with performances for men. Anyway, dancing around a pole in seven inch heels has nothing to do with sex. It’s been sexualized by men, because men have learned to feel turned on by objectifying women.

  • Cassandra

    LOLOLOLOL!!

    You don’t know how hard this made me laugh. I have been riveted to this thing for days now because it’s such a perfect example of what neoliberal corporate feminism-as-a-peronsal-feeling has done to feminism.

  • FakeFeminist

    I see you have still not read any of the materials I gave you to help you understand feminism 101.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t think that this is about ‘policing gender expression’… I mean, the ‘gender expression’ of lesbians and gay men is ‘policed’ all the time, if you want to put it that way. People are supposed to stay inside their boxes (according to patriarchal society). Violence against trans people comes from men, not feminists who point out that sex and gender is not simply a personal identity or expression. Gender itself is the harmful idea, not the women who argue that gender is socially constructed, oppressive, and not innate…

  • JingFei

    The Facebook post attached to that meme isn’t joking. They are literally claiming it to be true, with no intended at cheekiness at all. That type of dishonest smear tactic can actually affect *real abused women who use their services*. I can’t believe some people in the pole community think these women’s lives are just cannon fodder to toy with because their having a tantrum. The lack of thought for them is bloody shocking.

  • Bleeps

    One of the biggest reasons women stay in abusive relationships is because of lack of finances. Pets and children are also another common reason.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh my god PLEASE. As if ANY man doesn’t have ‘gender privilege’ just because he says so. The fact that you believe so strongly that you *don’t* have male privilege simply because you say so, goes to show how much privilege you actually do have.

    “Part of the goals of feminism should be to eradicate an ‘us vs them’ mentality when it comes to females and males.”

    No that most certainly is *not* one of the goals. The goal is to end the system of power called patriarchy.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m not sure anyone is saying “trans people are rapists” and I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “commenting on their genitals”….

    I mean, of course women fear all males are potential rapists, even if those males identify as women? Is that what you mean? Or am I missing something?

  • Meghan Murphy

    It’s an expression used by sexists. Stop tone policing women who are not polite to sexist men.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You are sexist if you believe gender is innate, which is what one who talks of ‘feminine essence’ believes. Gender was invented in order to enforce patriarchal oppression. Feminists, therefore, are opposed to gender. Gender is sexism.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Must be nice to live in a bubble, Mindi! Oh wait, there’s a name for that: male privilege.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I can’t speak for other people, but think the first comment is pointing out that it is offensive to treat a vagina as simply a hole that exists for a penis to enter… I also don’t necessarily think it is a problem to challenge bodily mutilation and plastic surgery. Feminists have always been critical of cosmetic surgery, anyway.

    And the second comment, well, of course I don’t believe that all transwomen seek to hurt women, but there are cases of transwomen raping or abusing women. Like I said, male violence is something women fear from all males, even males who identify as transgender.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I feel our readership/sisters/commenters intelligence shines bright in these kinds of threads too… It’s such a relief. Especially when many of us often feel surrounded by dumb liberalism…

  • Melanie

    Who knows what female sexuality would look like if we weren’t groomed from childhood onwards to believe that our primary purpose is to please and cater to men and their desires, and if our lives weren’t so heavily influenced by pornography and the sex industry. But that’s not the point. It’s not about female sexuality or how we express it as individuals. You can express it however you like. Pole dancing is not female sexuality. It’s a form of sexual objectification, sexual exploitation and violence for countless women and girls, regardless of how other, more privileged women experience it. And many women in the pole dancing community embrace and celebrate those origins. You can’t deny pole dancing’s links to the sex industry, which is a form of male violence and exploitation. That’s why it doesn’t belong at TBTN. That’s the point.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Buuuuut you *don’t* ‘support the same cause’ as we do. You support sexist gender roles, we do not. Why are you so invested in your status as ‘Good Feminist Dude’ if you refuse to actually listen to what actual feminists are saying?

  • Melanie

    We’re not saying that women in the sex industry normalize male violence. We’re saying that the sex industry, including pole dancing, is a form of sexual objectification, male violence and exploitation itself and is therefore not some harmless, neutral activity or hobby that belongs at TBTN.

    • Mar

      The violence issue and its contributing factors is not something I will be able to co-sign on so I will agree to disagree and that’s it for me!

  • radwonka

    ok but do you have anything else to say besides “you are hateful/atrocious/bigot/asshole/bullshit/rubbish/mean/awful/negative/aggressive/[insert personal attack]/” ?

    You didnt prove others wrong, you just labelled them as monsters.

    For someone who claims to be neutral, you are quite close minded yourself.

  • Melanie

    Pole dancing, stripping and prostitution are forms of male violence against women in themselves. They’re not just something that make men do bad things. They are bad things that men do to women and girls. We’re not saying that you as a pole dancer are responsible for what men do. We’re saying that those activities are not neutral, they have strong connotations of harm to women, of sexual objectification and exploitation – regardless of how you personally experience pole dancing – and hence don’t belong at TBTN.

    • Cassandra

      “Pole dancing, stripping and prostitution are forms of male violence against women in themselves.They’re not just something that make men do bad things. They are bad things that men do to women and girls.”

      This is the core truth/root that many here cannot seem to understand.

    • Mar

      My disagreement is not based on my personal feelings towards pole dancing. The issue of what actually normalizes violence is where I have my objections but I will leave it at that as continuing to agrue this would only be for the sake of arguing.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    Read the whole goddamn comment thread (nearly 2000 comments). Everything you’ve said has been adressed a thousand times, you’re boring and adding nothing new to the conversation.
    Thank you. Bye bye.

  • uursulaa

    lmao not being able to pole dance at TBTN is CENSORSHIP!!!!1!1!11!!

    what about the rape and abuse victims who will stay home and not attend the TBTN march because the presence of pole dancing is there? have they been censored? is that not more important than hurt feelings of some women (and men! whataboutthemen!) who can’t accept the fact that an activity they enjoy won’t earn them head pats from feminists?

    what of all the women currently trying to escape abusive situations? trying to escape the sex industry? are they being censored when they see TBTN supporting pole dancing? what about when they see the organizations that support TBTN as tacitly supporting pole dancing as well, and subsequently decide these organizations can’t help them?

    are you all too self-absorbed to realize there are women out there less privileged than you? or maybe you do realize it but just don’t care, because hey you got yours, amirite? it’s all about self-esteem and feeling validated, after all.

    shouldn’t an event about violence against women prioritize women who
    have experienced said violence, and not, ya know, women who want to take
    their privileged, sex industry-inspired hobby to the masses?

    • Polly Hanna

      I have been in abusive relationships with men. Porn was a part of the abuse. I would not attend a feminist event that included pole dancing of any kind as an example of “empowerment.” Goodbye forget it.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    Don’t forget ”CHINA” and ”BUT MEN DO IT DO” and “SKIN CONTACT TO THE POLE” and ”SLUT SHAMING”, with a bonus of ”YOU’RE NOT A REAL FEMINIST” and ”FEMINISM MEANS DOING WHATEVER I WANT ESPECIALLY IF I FEEL SEXY IN A MALE-APPROVED MANNER”.
    There. I think this just about covers it all.
    Now I’m gonna go get drunk.

    • radwonka

      “SKIN CONTACT TO THE POLE”
      lmao I missed that one

      • Leilia

        Please visit ‘Your Logical Fallacy dot Com’ and point out your own flaws of logic – since someone like Me is sure to get it wrong…

        • radwonka

          I didn’t find any. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

        • FakeFeminist

          The laws of logical fallacies apply only to attempts at logical arguments, not parody or mockery. If someone’s arguments were declared bad because people found the speaker personally laughable, that would be ad hominem. But this is a case of people finding other commenters laughable because their arguments were bad, which is pretty logical after all.

      • cocopop133

        It’s not ‘the Pole.’ It’s Pole. Like, ‘ I study the ancient Chinese method of Pole, except I’m half naked, wear stilettos and hopefully will get thrown some tip money, should I be feeling empowered enough to pick up bills with my teeth’ .

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    Of course not. That would actually require thinking about it, which would lead to unpleasant realizations.

    I’m still somewhat hoping that this article and comments may have laid the ground for self-reflection in the future, by shaking up well-established beliefs about female sexuality according to liberal rhetoric ? I mean where else would people get a different point of view that challenges ”sex-positive” mantras ?
    I know, I’m hopelessly naive.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    That could be it.
    Or you know, just not wanting to have sex at all. But that’s *gasp* NOT POSSIBLE ! Women must be free to *express their sexuality* ! Not expressing sexuality at all is not a option, ladies.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    ”An extensive analysis of my psychological profile”… ahem… that would take days, I believe, as humans are quite complex. I cannot speak for melissa but I think she was merely drawing conclusions based on what YOU said of your childhood. Those conclusions may be wrong, but nothing is impeding you from respectfully correcting her in a rational manner.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    Who has said that assholes were a pole dance exclusivity ? They are most certainly not. That doesn’t change or excuse anything.
    Have you read this entire comment thread ?
    (Yes, I have, I must be crazy)

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    I don’t know anything about you and I don’t care. I’m just observing that all the pole-defendants here, including you, have not once deigned to comment on any other of the hundreds of articles on this website dealing with male violence against women and girls. It seems you only care about defending your hobby, that’s all.
    No one is judging you as a person because nobody knows you. We are however judging the ideas being put forth in this thread.
    Also, it’s ok to use sarcasm and satire.

    Again : have you actually bothered to read this website ? If you were better acquainted with Meghan’s work, and actually took the time to understand the arguments that have been made over the years, maybe you’d understand.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    There is no such thing as slut shaming. It’s a misogynistic term.

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2012/12/07/its-not-slut-shaming-its-woman-hating/

    Seriously. Educate yourself, please.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    If they actually felt confident and good about themselves, I don’t understand what they would be doing here, desperately trying to justify their hobby and convincing feminists that pole-dancing is empowering.
    Confident people don’t give a shit what others think about what they’re doing, usually.

  • Kendall Turtle

    “Women in sweatpants, pointing at their crotches.” I have done this with my husband.

  • Melanie

    Reducing women and girls to a set of sexist stereotypes and gender roles – which is precisely what ‘gender expression’ does – contributes to a culture of violence towards women and girls. Women all over the world are beaten, imprisoned, raped and murdered for not conforming to their supposed roles as females. Terms like ‘gender non-conforming’ are harmful because they reinforce the idea that there are roles that women (and men) are meant to fit into. That’s why feminists critique gender.

  • cocopop133

    Yeah, and you get bet the Chinese had some really awesome Pole (capitalization intentional) stripper heels. BTW, the only square missing in the fabulous Pole bingo card is ‘take a class!’. Almost done with this thread. It’s been fun.

  • Polly Hanna

    LOL – “like what is and is not ladylike” – of course pole dancing is for “ladies” to perform. Who says women can’t be objectified for the sexual pleasure of men? Of course that’s what it MEANS to be female, duh! Boo-hoo, somebody applied political analysis to the choices I made in life. Those meanies. It’s just not fair. I’m female, I’m a lady, I like to display my body parts, and FU to anyone who thinks anything beyond my wittle pleasure matters.

  • Polly Hanna

    Pole accessory stores. There ya go. Finally, women’s liberation for realz. LOL “tell your boss you deserve better because you suddenly feel better” from hanging on a pole and displaying your body. Certainly.

  • Polly Hanna

    Slut-shaming is actually thinking-woman-shaming. When women think things through, come to the logical conclusions, and express them, this makes plenty of people unhappy – including thoughtless women who don’t think things through, come to no conclusions but memorize a bunch of jargon and hip terminology, then unload said jargon/terminology on any thoughtful women around them. Most important jargon to sling around is, “slut shaming.” But really that’s just a stealthy slick way of bashing other women for using their brains – which unfortunately you can’t hang off a pole and turn men on with, so well, there you go….life as we know it.

  • Polly Hanna

    LOL. Nobody commenting here has the POWER to decide whether or not YOU have POWER.

  • Polly Hanna

    I would know I was empowered if someone like Donald Trump could not in a million years EVER get near the White House. But golly, there he is – spewing misogynist bastard – neck and neck with Hilary Clinton. So therefore I conclude politically I am rather UNempowered. Same with Bush Senior and Junior in White House. Obama is pro-trans and also did NOTHING with “card check” to make it easier for Americans to unionize. So again, I am relatively UNempowered politically. Nothing I do on a pole would change that.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The connection between pole dancing and sexuality is that it is meant to turn men on…. I think we need to stop conflating performances for the male gaze and male-centered visions of sex and sexuality with ‘female sexuality.’

    • mail_turtle

      But isn’t it unavoidable that female expression of sexuality caters to the desires of men (and vice versa), since sexual expression is based on sexual attraction? It seems to me that to sexually attract a partner, you will naturally (even unconsciously) use a type of movement that is arousing for potential partners. So how do you decide what forms of sexual expression are male-centered, and which expressions are truly a part of female sexuality? (if such a distinction is even possible)

      • Meghan Murphy

        Do you find it at all odd or telling, though, that everything men do is not connected to ‘sexuality’ or ‘expressions of sexuality’? Men’s sports are not seen as a sexualized performance that exists primarily to titillate women. I actually *don’t* see that men must attracted women through sexualized performances… I mean what would even *be* a form of male ‘sexual expression’?

        • mail_turtle

          I see the asymmetry, yes. Men seem much more obsessed with the female shape than the other way around. Still, that does not make female dancing an expression of male centered sexuality.
          Some examples of male sexual expression would be rappers wearing gold chains (sign of wealth) and repeatedly pointing at their chests (sign of male muscular strength), breakbeat dancers showing off athletic skills while acting very cool (to make what they are doing look even more impressive), drummers with sleeveless shirts (showing off muscular arms) and electric guitar players making faces and gestures when soloing.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Yes, those displays are connected to masculinity (and therefore to power), but I wouldn’t call them sexualized performances. “Female expressions of sexuality” always appear to be connected to passive sexualization — women become things to be looked at and to titillate. I don’t think, in our culture anyway, connections between dancing and ‘female sexuality’ are only seen as such because women are seen as/portrayed as sexy things to look at. Dancing is not innately that and doesn’t need to be that, but pole dancing is generally that…

  • Elizabeth

    I think I’ve said a few times that I dont think its exactly the same thing; some people discover their own version of their sexuality through the practice (which includes training, practice, bruises, getting over some fears, falling and getting up again, etc), How each one expresses it is the personal journey that some people here have talked about, how exactly does it look like? that probably depends on each woman, though I assure you, it does not mean that it revolves around being wanted by a man.
    From the few examples that were given here of what would be an expression of “female sexuality”, the constant was that it should be something that a woman would do for their own pleasure. You don’t believe that a woman can find pleasure in dancing freely for herself (not for a man) because there is a pole involded, by experience in pole dancing/pole fitness classes, I do not agree with that. My classes were far from focused on what a man would want and entirely focused on what I wanted to challenge myself with. It’s not the *only* way and it may not be for everyone, but I don’t think it should be dismissed or that women who experience it should be cast out and told that their ideas are plain wrong if you don’t understand or agree with them.
    I understand your use of “empowerment” and I take that with me for the future, I understand your concerns regarding the “sexyness” when sold as a “need” and take that with me. I do not entirely agree with many of your arguments and think that a bunch of us deserve much more respect than what has been offered, but I part in peace also hoping that at least one person here got a little curiousity or will to try to understand what “polers” where trying to share with you.

    • radwonka

      Ok, but last thing before you go.

      I wanted to mention that you still depoliticize things when you say “its a personal journey”. Politicizing something means contextualising it (culture, socialization, education, history, different norms, psychology, etc etc). So I think that means you’re OK with gendered norms because people feel “happy” with it? But that’s not important, I just wanted to focus on the fact that I consider gendered norms oppressive and unfair (too much indoctrination and creates insecurities), and I think that people can be happy without it (if they were not socialized into it), and that pole dance is really gendered (I mean it’s really difficult to deny that it is linked to the objectification of women and that men do sexualise it. That’s not a coincidence). And it’s not because there are exceptions that an institutions becomes powerless or inoffensive, it’s the reverse: since there are exceptions, people dishonestly focus on it to hide the fact of what it means for the majority and what it says about men, women, our definition of sexuality, etc. It’s like a red herring: “something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue.[1] It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences towards a false conclusion.”
      Another thing about exceptions: many still conform to gendered norms, what changes is the sex of the person or the environement, but the idea (like “feeling sexy”) is still intact. So it doesn’t really change anything in the end.
      And I still know why we should think that it’s “female expression”. It makes it sound as if women were born to do that or as if women can’t live without that or as if it’s the only way to do that (Im not saying that you said that, I’m just explaining why I’m not convinced by this idea). But anyway, I already said what I think about concepts such as “feeling sexy” and “sexual expression”.
      Also we can’t erase men, a class that was socialized (meaning they were educated and encouraged) to see women as nothing more than sex objects or reproductive tools. I don’t know why we should erase them or pretend that they have no power over culture. We just can’t pretend that they don’t exist or that their behavior has no consequences. They influence norms, especially since they’re a powerful class (Burlesque was (and still is maybe?) used poor women who needed money for example, here you can see that clearly take advantage of women’s vulnerability to create new institutions, institutions that solidifies the hierarchy of gender and thus their entitlement). Those institutions once banalized, become a part of culture, and what is part of culture will be teached to children, etc. That’s how socialization works.
      And “internalizing the male gaze” doesn’t mean that you just want a man to watch, it means that you internalized norms created by men for men.
      I think it’s quite interesting to question how and why our actual norms are like that. I could mention cultures that didn’t sexualise nakedness or didn’t feel the need to perform this or that to prove that theyre sexual (or not) for example. I mean when I read you, it’s as if everything is just natural as long as you have a positive emotion. And this is where I disagree, since it doesn’t make really sense for me (I think culture plays a huge part)I don’t think the idea of liking something makes it entirely good and those who disagree “shamer”. Beyond the fact that we can’t reduce what we dislike or like , into a good/evil opposition, you can perfectly like something and still be critical of it. And people can change too, I don’t think we were predestined to fit certain norms than others, otherwise we wouldn’t be animals that need repetitive norms, but that’s another topic. Let’s take a simple example: I like anime series, but I still recognize that they often promote gendered norms. Another example: I like some ideologies, but I don’t say “I like it” to prove that they’re better than others, I demonstrate why I think that way.
      The same goes with the idea of “choice”: I choose to oppose patriarchy, but that alone is not enough to be a pertinent argument. I contextualise my position. Likewise I can’t say that my position has no consequences: individuals influence each others. I guess that you would find it weird too if I just said “I disagree with you because I like my opinion, it’s personal, and you’re shaming me”.
      I mean saying that you like something is great, but it’s not a logical deduction, it’s just a statement, a mantra.
      But that said, good for you if it gives you self confidence. I think there is a confusion between political criticism and personal self confidence (not that it is not interesting, but I think we can go beyond these mantras or learned roles, to promote self confidence. Why not after all?)
      About the respect, I wanted to say that many here accused us of being pro rapists and pro victim blaming (among other things) which 1. Has nothing to do with what people said and 2. is clearly defamation. It is as if no one actually read the article (which answered many “arguments” made in the comments). Many were still polite even though others reduced our words to some kind of pro abuse bs. And just as many did explain why they think that pole dance is gendered, it would have been great to prove us properly that we are wrong instead of shouting “sexy! empowerement! you know nothing”. I think we deserved more than that too.
      Lastly, many of us are survivors and do know what we are talking about, we are not ignorant, or misunderstanding, because we’re critical of something :))

      Peace!

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Maybe if we just let trans people exist without calling the ‘authenticity’ of their genitals into question, some would feel less pressure to get surgery?).”

    I doubt that would be a problem for most feminists, so long as we weren’t being forced to pretend as though being a woman was nothing more than an internal ‘feeling’ or personal identity. I think the only reason genitals are brought up (by feminists, as opposed to, like homophobic men) are because we are being told that biology isn’t real and doesn’t matter anymore, when of course it does, and is still at the root of our oppression as women.

    “Transphobic attitudes being touted as ‘feminism’ have been debunked by feminists many times.”

    The problem with this statement is that what ‘transphobic’ means is still contested… I mean, many of those who accuse others of ‘transphobia’ do so when anyone challenges or questions trans discourse, much of which can be very sexist, in that it naturalizes gender roles. I think it’s more helpful to use other words besides ‘transphobic’ when discussing these issues, because ‘transphobic’, from my perspective, has become largely meaningless. I mean, what DOES it mean? Does it mean people who are afraid of or hate people who identify as trans? Or does it mean people who understand that biology is real and matters? Does it mean people who don’t believe that ‘woman’ is defined solely based on personal feelings and identity?

  • Leilia

    I dunno about China, but I’ve seen videos of pole dancing in India – nothing but undies on those gentlemen, showing off flexibility that would make a porn star jealous…

    …so that must mean only female nudity is sexualized, in this context. How backwards from what Gender Equality ought to look like…

    …also, men should totally be competing in this event, as well, j/s.

  • Leilia

    Have you ever held on to a pole with your back and dropped down, catching yourself without your hands?

    …then don’t tell anyone that wearing skimpy clothing is optional, unless you want to see a broken leg.

    • Cassandra

      “Have you ever held on to a pole with your back and dropped down, catching yourself without your hands?”

      No, I try to avoid situations like that.

    • Wire Bead

      There are fabrics available used by athletes and some acrobats which are wicking, breathable and grippy and are not PVC or any fabric which looks like “fetish wear”. These fabrics may even be safer for pole acrobatics because, unlike bare skin, they do not become slippery when the body heats up with exertion and sweats. Skin burn is also avoided or reduced.

  • Leilia

    Well, youths performed the Olympics naked and oiled, I don’t see you getting your signs and picketing High School Greco-Roman Wrestling…

  • Leilia

    So, what about Lesbians who like to watch women dance? Am I internalizing the Male Gaze, or is there a biological reason why curves and undulations are a turn-on for Me?

    • Cassandra

      “…or is there a biological reason why curves and undulations are a turn-on for Me?”

      I don’t know, is there? Do you have some research to share?

    • radwonka

      Answering questions with another question I see.

      “The creation of an objectifying lesbian sexuality will increasingly lead to the
      use by lesbians of other women[…] It is possible for a small group of lesbians to have access to some of the male privilege that is expressed in the use of women as expendable sex toys without
      offering any threat to male power. Lesbians can identify with the male gaze and
      sexual position towards other lesbians. They become an honorary and co-opted
      part of the ruling class, but they will receive no privileges save a share in the
      degradation of other women. Their feeling of power inspired by their treatment
      of women is not real power in the world vis-a-vis men.” -Sheila Jeffreys, Lesbian Heresy

  • Leilia

    I like to pole dance and I haven’t shaved below the neck since March of Last Year… am I going to rip a hole in the fabric of acceptable labels for women?

    • Bleeps

      I have no idea. Probably not. Which labels? I don’t see me using any labels?

      BTW, I haven’t shaved my legs in a couple of years, at least. I also look like I am about 18, despite being in my early 30’s. I haven’t worn makeup in I don’t know how long. Am I doing something subversive? Men don’t give a shit. I have tried gaining weight for the past couple of years, as well. I cannot, apparently. It doesn’t work. So, to men, I am a thin, young, fuck-and-suck-stick. Oh, how very empowered I should feel!

      I don’t want to be sexualized, by anyone, at all. I have done everything I can think to do, at this point. Would it matter if I could actually succeed at desexualizing myself? Probably not. Men don’t give a shit. They don’t give the tiniest little shit about how uncomfortable I obviously am with their clearly unwanted ‘appreciation’ for my ‘sexuality’. They don’t care how I feel, what I think, how afraid I seem of even the ‘good’ ones, how clearly my clothing communicates NO SEX HERE…

      The battle for freedom for women won’t be won on an individual, apolitical level.

  • Katie Johnston

    Really great comments here. I pole dance and now realize how it can be problematic. Thanks for sharing everyone

  • Meghan Murphy

    Unfortunately using academic jargon is unlikely to fool anyone here into believing you have an intelligent point to make or that you have any idea what you are talking about. All you have made clear is that you are very impressed with yourself. Good luck with your BA.

  • Mar

    I will still have to disagree primarily where normalizing violence is concerned and I will leave it as that.

  • Sarah G

    The earliest documented type of athletics involving pole was actually Chinese pole, which pre-dates strip clubs by over 1000 years, and is still a practiced style/circus art. Secondly, you’re assuming that all pole performed by women must be sexual, which is actually not at all true. Even it it was, I don’t have a problem or feel the need to look down upon people who do it for that reason. Both men and women currently do pole fitness at the national and international level competitions, so no it’s not just women who pole dance in seven inch heels and bikinis. People also do pole for dance and fitness in China, Wold Pole Dancing Championships 2015 were hosted in Beijing, so I really don’t know what you’re getting act by asking me how I think it looks. It’s like asking me what I think swimming, soccer, or skating looks like in China, I don’t know like swimming, soccer, or skating? I assume you’re just trying to make the general implication that it’s frowned upon by most people because it’s seen as solely as sexual expression. In that case I don’t care that’s never stopped me and I hope it doesn’t stop anybody who loves the sport. Secondly, what you said is irrelevant to the original point of making that comment which was to point out that it didn’t originate in strip clubs.

    • radwonka

      “Secondly, what you said is irrelevant to the original point of making that comment which was to point out that it didn’t originate in strip clubs.”

      No. Talking about how it objectifies women is not irrevelant at all.

      “It’s like asking me what I think swimming, soccer, or skating looks like in China, I don’t know like swimming, soccer, or skating? ”

      You didn’t answer her question though.

  • Meghan Murphy

    That is a ridiculous claim. Of course I haven’t said that assholes are exclusive to the pole dance community.

    • Day C Keller

      Good. No point in being defensive then. =)
      Let the readers decide.

      • Meghan Murphy

        lol. You straight lie about what other people are saying/arguing, then say “let the readers decide” as though there is something to decide?

        Top notch trolling. Top notch.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You use context and your eyes to determine these things.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Wheee!

    • Kit T.

      Gotta take your fun where you can find it, these days. -_-

  • Meghan Murphy

    What is your point, exactly? That I should not respond when people misrepresent me or lie about my words?

  • FakeFeminist

    The male gaze is not just about men looking at women. It’s about that societal expectation that sex is men looking while women perform. Even if a man is not in the room, women raised in our culture internalize the male gaze, which means they internalize the idea that female sexuality is about performance instead of desire. The status quo of mainstream ‘sexuality’ involves the man watching the woman while the woman watches herself through a hypothetical man’s eyes. This is how women can end up “feeling sexy” despite doing things that can be uncomfortable, annoying, painful, embarrassing, humiliating, or even dangerous, and which don’t actually offer any physiological pleasure. Like wearing heels, or getting breast implants that numb nipple sensation.

    I nicked a bunch of quotes from Naomi Wolf’s “The Beauty Myth” because I think she explains it better than me in parts. If you have more questions about her words, the book is on Amazon for $10. “Beauty pornography” is a reference to media that objectifies women. “Beauty myth” is the standards women adhere to in order to meet the approval of the male gaze. AFAIK those aren’t common terms, she coins them within the book so she can keep referring back to them without getting wordy.

    “The influence of pornography on women’s sexual sense of self… has now become so complete that it is almost impossible for younger women to distinguish the role pornography plays in creating their idea of how to be, look, and move in sex from their own innate sense of sexual identity. Is that progress? I do not think so.”

    “We all know about the sexual desire of adolescent boys. But scenes of young women’s sexual awakening *in themselves* do not exist except in a mock-up for the male voyeur. It is hard to imagine, in a cultural vacuum, what solitary female desire looks like… Each woman has to learn for herself, from nowhere, how to feel sexual (though she learns constantly how to look sexual). She is given no counterculture of female lust looking outward, no descriptions of the intricate, curious *presence* of her genital sensations of the way they continually enrich her body’s knowledge. Left to herself in the dark, she has very little choice: she must adopt the dominant culture’s fantasies as her own… Little girls for lack of anything better learn from what comes to hand.”

    “The link between beauty pornography and sex is not natural. It is taken for granted that the desire to have visual access to an endless number of changing centerfolds is innately male, since that form of looking is taken to be a sublimation of male’s innate promiscuity. But since men are not naturally promiscuous and women are not naturally monogamous, it follows that the truism so often asserted about beauty pornography — that men need it because they are visually aroused while women aren’t — is not biologically inevitable. Men are visually aroused by women’s bodies and less sensitive to their arousal by women’s personalities because they are trained early into that response, while women are less visually aroused and more emotionally aroused because that is their training. This asymmetry in sexual education maintains men’s power in the myth: They look at women’s bodies, evaluate, move on; their own bodies are not looked at, evaluated, and taken or passed over. But there is no ‘rock called gender’ responsible for that; it can change so that real mutuality — an equal gaze, equal vulnerability, equal desire — brings heterosexual men and women together.”

    “Women understand that there are two distinct economies: There is physical attraction, and then there is the ‘ideal’. When a woman looks at a man, she can physically dislike the idea of his height, his coloring, his shape. But after she has liked him and loved him, she would not want him to look any other way: For many women, the body appears to grow beautiful and erotic as they grow to like the person in it. The actual body, the smell, the feel, the voice, the movement, becomes charged with heat through the desirable person who animates it. Even Gertrude Stein said of Picasso, ‘There was nothing especially attractive about him at first sight… but his radiance, an inner fire one sensed in him, gave him a sort of magnetism I was unable to resist.’ By the same token, a woman can admire a man as a work of art but lose sexual interest if he turns out to be an idiot. The way in which women regard men’s bodies sexually is proof that one *can* look at a person sexually without reducing him or her to pieces. ”

    “‘Only God, my dear,’ wrote Yeats blithely, ‘Could love you for yourself alone/And not your yellow hair.’ This quote is meant as a bit of lighthearted verse. But it is an epic tragedy in three lines. The beautiful woman is excluded forever from the rewards and responsibilities of particular human love, for she cannot trust that any man will love her ‘for herself alone’. A hellish doubt inheres the myth that makes impersonal ‘beauty’ a prerequisite for love: Where does love go when beauty vanishes? And, if a woman cannot be loved ‘for herself alone’, for whom is she being loved? Auden knew that what is ‘bred in the bone’ of both women and men is to crave ‘not universal love/but to be loved alone’. The ‘love’ the beauty myth offers is universal: this year’s full-lipped blonde, this season’s disheveled tawny nymph. But we long to be loved the way we were, if we were lucky, as children: every toe touched, every limb exclaimed upon with delight, because it was ours alone, incomparable… The beauty myth, though, gives us the opposite prospect: if there is a set of features that is lovable, those features are replaceable.”

    “Some men do get a sexual charge from a woman’s objective ‘beauty’, just as some women feel sexual pleasure at the thought of a man’s money or power. But it is often a status high, a form of exhibitionism, that draws its power from the man imagining his buddies imagining him doing what he is doing while he does it. Some men feel a sexual thrill upon smelling the leather interior of a new Mercedes-Benz. It is not that the thrill is not real, but that it is based on the meaning assigned by other men to that leather. It is no deep psychosexual attachment to the leather itself. There is certainly a reflexive — not instinctive — male response to the cold economy of the beauty myth; but that can be completely separated from sexual attraction, the warm dialogue of desire.”

    “‘Femininity’ is code for femaleness plus whatever a society happens to be selling. If ‘femininity’ means female sexuality and its loveliness, women never lost it and do not need to buy it back. Wherever we feel pleasure, all women have ‘good’ bodies. We do not have to spend money and go hungry and study to become sensual; we always were. We need not believe we must somehow *earn* good erotic care; we always deserved it.”

  • will

    “I’m just trying to understand your arguments.”

    If you have read through and considered the comments here, searched and read other posts about objectification on this blog as well as on other feminist sites and you still can’t understand the argument, then I’m not sure what anyone can do for you.

  • Meghan Murphy

    When I talk about ‘sexualization,’ within a context of patriarchy, I’m not just talking about ‘evoking sexual feelings,’ though. I’m talking about the way women are objectified and turned into sexual objects that exist to be looked at. People dancing with each other may well evoke sexual feelings, but those people may be interacting with each other, as humans. Dancing need not be equated with sexual objectification (something that is gendered). The objection to pole dancing from feminists is about normalizing and promoting images of women as sexual objects that exist for men. Yes, men will objectify women everywhere, but that does not mean that we should promote or accept, uncritically, the kind of objectification that happens in media, in strip clubs, in pornography, etc. Certainly we don’t have to accept it as somehow empowering.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    But the point has been made over and over again…

    Also, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that a woman doesn’t care about men because she’s a lesbian. Matter of fact, I think caring about men and what men think is something that exists in all women, due to being raised in a patriarchy and internalizing misogyny. Lesbians may be attracted to females, but they still have been raised as women in a patriarchy, with the male gaze ever present : taught that men’s opinion is what matters in this world.
    Caring about men (read : about they think, how they view us, and desiring their approval) has little to do with being attracted to men, really. It’s not about attraction, it’s about fear and validation. I don’t know if it makes sense, but this how I understand it, anyways.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Lula, I just checked and one of your comments was removed because it was a link with no comment attached so it just looked like spam. Please try to avoid just posting links without any comment or context and you’ll be fine.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You are oversimplifying. There are deeper reasons why men see women as objects — things that exist for their use and pleasure. I mean, this is the basis for patriarchy itself. Because we live in a patriarchy, things like strip clubs and pole dancing and prostitution exist — they things that exist for men and that objectify women.

  • radwonka

    The point is that: pole dancing will never stop men’s violence.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I think that part of the reason we’re not seeing eye to eye on this is that you are looking at objectification and oppression as based solely on the individual behaviour of men, whereas feminists see this as a systemic problem. Despite the fact that *some* men treat women with respect, we still live in a system that positions women as inferior and treats them as pretty objects to be looked at.

  • radwonka

    MTE. Who gives a fuck if it comes from ancient China? It doesn’t change the fact that it objectifies women.

  • JingFei

    Why, was the Hive mind informed that someone committed wrong-think? Like, a watch tower signal to the Leader; “Descend on them my pretties! FLY! Fly and re-program them and their blasted refusal to accept our Orthodox!”
    Geezuz, it’s one point of view on a Canadian feminist website. A point of view that happens to differ from yours.
    Believe me, 2000+ comments is enough when all we’re getting is the same arguments a hundred times over. If any content was removed, it’s probably because it so repetitive that it’s spammy.

  • Anthocerotopsida

    “Because how human beings are wired…”
    Ummm, are you sure about that? Just because something makes sense to you doesn’t mean that it’s a biological truth. I’m rarely if ever aroused by the sight of people shaking their groove thangs, rhythmically or otherwise. Does that mean there’s something wrong with my wiring?

  • Anthocerotopsida

    ” It seems that radical feminists are proposing to ban displays such as pole dancing”

    Umm, you sure about that, bucko? Who said anything about banning anything?

  • Melanie

    Pole dancing isn’t just something that women choose to do. It’s a thing that men choose to do women, as in sexual objectification, exploitation and violence. Why are men’s choices completely absent from your analysis?

    • FakeFeminist

      Ya know what, never mind. I’ve thought on it, and I’ve decided this is on you, not me. I never claimed to present a full “analysis” in my comment. I was just responding to another comment filled with moral relativism and fallacies, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

      If I had featured “the patriarchy” more heavily in my comment, polers would have come away with the idea that we were a bunch of conspiracy theory nutters. Not because the patriarchy is fake, but because people don’t like the idea that they’re not in control of their own actions, and telling them that they’re powerless is just going to make them angry. I would personally rather present someone with 50% of an argument they might actually read & consider than 100% of an argument that they think is insane.

  • Cassandra

    But that’s NOT what the meme is saying.

  • Cassandra

    “And transwomen are not males.”

    Yes, they are. That’s the point.

  • cocopop133

    Note: I’m not trying for nunance, honey. No desire to make you or any other blind handmaidens of the patriarchy safe and warm in your denial, as you naively put radical women’s liberation in reverse.

  • marv

    “Some men will treat women as subordinates, which is bad enough, but still very different from treating them as objects.”

    Subordination is objectification despite exchanges of respect and kindness in classed societies. There is a huge chasm of power separating the rich and poor in determining social political economic life. The affluent may be charitable in many ways to those beneath them but donations and warm feelings rationalize class divisions, making them appear legitimate. The improvisations keep the hierarchy afloat.

    Patriarchy is sex classes. It instrumentalizes women through things like pornstitution – pole dancing. Why aren’t men the majority of people wearing stilettos, naked, twirling and claiming self-valorization? They have class power to appoint.

    If there is no class abolition, respect is phony.

    • mail_turtle

      By saying that subordination is objectification, do you mean that men treat women with complete indifference to their well-being or suffering? If not, what do you mean?

      The class of all women has a lot of power. But unfortunately a lot of women with financial power – just like rich males – don’t care all that much about women in prostitution, or women on minimal wages. Radical feminist apologize for this by claiming that these women have been brainwashed by men (so it’s still the men who are at fault), but that seems backward reasoning to me.

      Many people (such as the polers in this thread, or the glocks-not-guns women) would be really good allies to improve conditions for women, but they are not agreeing to your class based analysis (because it does not fit the reality that they perceive), which ironically prompts radical feminists to place them in the camp of the adversaries. The bottom line is that you don’t need to abolish classes to make progress (and making progress will eventually help to abolish classes).

      • marv

        Keep in mind men constructed political and economic classes – genders, race, monarchies, slavery, feudalism, state socialism, capitalism – not women. Women and otherized men have been integrated into these systems in varied and similar ways. Plus, statistically there is no comparison between men’s and women’s financial status so to claim that women as a class have a lot of power is contextually meaningless. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/women-own-1-of-the-worlds_b_1076715.html

        Just because people don’t admit a “class based analysis” doesn’t mean they are exempt from it. Psychological compliance is driven into the psyche of the subjugated through the structural domination process. The subordinated are assimilated by a combination of coercion, affirmative action programs and public recognition for their capabilities and contributions to society. They become identified with the terms of reference, conditions and values of the colonizers. Many of the oppressed come to see their status as choice. Social and self recognition walls in the recognized by the containing gaze of those with power, causing the recognized to self-objectify albeit unconsciously.

        Respect is hollow when it is defined by these political conditions.

  • radwonka

    “My answer to how I think pole dancing and pole fitness looks in China: like pole dancing and pole fitness.”

    I think she meant that women are objectified, but he, if circular reasoning is your thing I can’t stop you.

    • Sarah G

      How is: “I don’t think the pole-fitness or dancing looks radically different in China or any other country anymore than any other sport practiced internationally would” a circular answer. When it’s the only answer I consistently gave to a poorly premised question. I’m sure the author of the comment was probably hoping for me to engage in an argument about Chinese culture, women’s rights, and pole dancing or something along those lines. Here let me ask you a similarly premised question: How do you think gymnastics looks in Austria?

      And you know that pole dancing is inherently objectifying how? Based on your extensive interaction with pole dancing? Or because some feminist blogger who also knows very little to nothing about the practice told you so?

  • radwonka

    “because females are known for doing it.”

    No, that’s Because females are objectified and sexualised, but men aren’t. That’s not a “double standard”, it’s just the same old conservative feminity/masculine dichotomy.

    It’s gendered, which is what the article explained quite well.

    • Sarah G

      Refusing to view or treat female athletes like their male-counterparts, and instead perpetuating stereotype those female athletes are just sex performers, then yes that is sexist.

      And you know females are inherently objectified by pole how? Because of your extensive interaction with the sport? Or because a blogger who knows basically as little as you do about the practice told you so?

      • Meghan Murphy

        Either you need to work on your reading comprehension or you are being willfully obtuse.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Did you not already post this same comment twice?

      • Natalie

        That’s not sexism.

  • radwonka

    She’s very dishonest too, she can’t even answer questions yet write essays about China. lmao, the whole thing is so ridiculous.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Many pole dancers such as myself are also feminists. You don’t have to agree with my dancing, nor is my feminist label up for debate.”

    Feminism isn’t a ‘label.’ It’s a political movement.

  • Hana Setsuna

    Okay… pole dancing, the exercise in the private studio in which on-lookers and leerers are not allowed, is NOT a part of the sex industry as many comments have suggested. Pole dancing is not stripping. Please get facts straight before criticizing an activity you haven’t actually taken part in. If you have a problem with pole dancing performances, that’s another issue. You are free to argue that the public display of the female body leads to further objectification (but of course this implies that we cannot wear a bathing suit at the beach, or shorts and a tank top at the gym) but arguing that pole dancing in your own home or a private studio is perpetuating violence then that’s akin to saying that people having sex in their own homes is as damaging as porn.

    I’m a feminist and I’ve taken pole dancing before. It’s very difficult and you need your arms and legs exposed so you can stay on the pole and do the acrobatics. I didn’t feel objectified in the closed, all-female studio however. I was not subject to “the male gaze.” It was just an exercise class, and similar to gymnastics. The women are generally barefoot, although some women reported using the heels to be an extra challenge to master. It was not a great evil. It was not a cult (in fact, I quit when I got busy doing “real life” things.)

    TBTN is maybe not the venue for pole dancing – yeah. But this article is uninformed and WAY off base (which the author would have realized if she’d actually gone to a class instead of “talking out her ass.”) It’s articles like this that keep people from taking feminism seriously, and close eyes and minds.

    • Cassandra

      “It’s articles like this that keep people from taking feminism seriously, and close eyes and minds.”

      Which people?

      • Meghan Murphy

        People who hate feminism people?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh I said that somewhere, huh? Like, literally? Maybe actually read my words before just making shit up, k?

  • Meghan Murphy

    LAWC withdrew because the committee disrespected and misrepresented them and went ahead and put the question to a public vote of sorts despite their opposition to having pole dancing at TBTN. Stop making us repeat ourselves. And lol at your “PhD.” You get it online?

  • Meghan Murphy

    It was removed because you’d already posted a comment saying the exact same thing so I assumed you’d posted it again by mistake.

    • Sarah G

      The earlier one tagged three hours ago was flagged as removed so I reposted.

  • radwonka

    smh @ some people who think that because something requires energy/strength it cant be sexualised or objectified.

  • ptittle

    I agree. While watching the last Olympics, I was struck by how women wear bikinis while men wear baggy shorts competing in the VERY SAME EVENT (sprinting, for example). Why don’t the women wear baggy shorts or the men wear bikini bottoms? Because, because, BECAUSE…

  • ptittle

    Thank you for posting this video. I had no idea. Pole sport IS quite different from pole dancing. You’re right, this is WAY closer to gymnastics (not unproblematic in its own right, though) than to striptease.

  • ptittle

    Just checked out some of your poling images. Very impressive! One question though, why don’t you wear (nothing but) a speedo swimsuit to pole?

  • ptittle

    “Lives in Vancouver with her dog” sounds like paradise to me.

    • Meghan Murphy

      🙂

  • ptittle

    Plus, I think ‘grip’ is the wrong word; skin ‘sticks’ (depending) — to grip one needs muscle and skin per se doesn’t have muscle.

  • ptittle

    Mindi, I think you should try harder to lose your masculine essence.

  • Sarah G

    If by “politicized” you mean taken something that you have no knowledge or experience with and inferred a bunch of stereotypical and stigmatizing assumptions about the women who do it then yes you’ve all done that.

  • Sarah G

    That’s what you’re perpetuating when you make the generalist argument and post pictures to demonstrate that women’s pole-dancing is just for the sexual entertainment of other people instead of a legitimate form of athletics.

    I don’t believe that becomes acceptable to perpetuate a gendered stereotype and double-standard about other women just so long as the person who perpetuates the double-standard and stereotype is also a female.

  • Sarah G

    You mean the plethora of arguments generally classifying women who pole dance as a bunch of oppressed, objectified, sexually exploited sheep because pole dancing is centralized for male pleasure. That one?

    I’m not denying anybody’s take on how pole dancing has been gendered on this thread. I’m expressing disagreement in that I think that view is ignorant, heterosexist, and demeaning to many women who pole dance.

    • radwonka

      You can disagree all you want, many here admitted that it was about “feeling sexy” and “appropriating the male gaze”. So/

      • Sarah G

        Firstly, stereotyping women who pole dance as sexual performers is still horribly inaccurate.

        Secondly, you’re acting as though admitting sexual empowerment is some terrible guilty admission that some pole dancers have made. There’s nothing wrong with somebody doing something simply because they like “feeling sexy”. It’s completely incorrect to make that synonymous with objectification. Female sexuality is not the fucking devil.

  • marv

    “If I contrast the message on this site to codepink.org, it’s strikes me that they claim that not men but *war* is evil, and that they see women as especially well equipped to fight that evil (though they invite men to join them).”

    Code Pink is a tepid organization that waters down the truth, making it more palatable to conventional minds. War is a male construct. Men make and declare war infinitely more than women do. It is an abstraction to refer to war as simply evil because it clouds the classes of men who are responsible for it.

    Regardless of accommodations and modifications, sex relations remain a class hierarchy. We can’t change what we refuse to accurately name. Code Pink is illustrative of delusion dressed up as powerful.

  • marv

    Ending patriarchy, capitalism and racism are the keys to ending war. Codepink doesn’t see it so they are typical in that sense to mainstream awareness. You are too.

    Why should women in Columbia trust decisions made by rival groups of men? The country’s whole system of power is patriarchal, the root of the violence. Let’s vote to end it in every country so progress can truly begin.

  • Sarah G

    Firstly, If you don’t want to respond to me that’s fine, but don’t continue to make jackass remarks about me or what I do, finish with “don’t respond”, and then expect me to passively accept your statements because you don’t feel like arguing anymore. That’s cowardly.

    Secondly, it’s not an exception. Many people who pole dance are not strippers. The existence of strippers or the fact that men pay for strippers doesn’t make pole dancing in and of itself inherently sexual. Pole dancing as a fitness industry/ competitive sport is overwhelming dominated and managed by women, arguing that it is driven by the “male-gaze” is unbelievably ignorant. Don’t believe me? Look up studio owners, online classrooms and instructors, international and national organizations and competitions, the winners and organizers of those competitions, then tell me all about how the “male-gaze” runs pole dancing.

    Thirdly, your argument was heterosexist not a denouncing of heterosexim. Your chorus refrain throughout this conversation has been that the normative of of pole dancing is women fulfilling “gender role(s)” for the enjoyment of men. The argument that women who pole dance to “feel sexy”, regardless of whether or not they do it for their individual enjoyment, are somehow inevitably dancing for the sexual enjoyment of cisgendered straight men is a heterosexist presumption.

    Fourthly, prove a negative? Until you prove to me that men don’t objectify pole dancing it stands proven that men objectify pole dancing? That’s just silly. I’m sure the same men who objectify women who pole dance (not pole dancing/it) are probably the same assholes who objectify women in general and not just women who pole dance. Pole dancing is not a causative factor of women being objectified. That’s like arguing that women are objectified because they wear short skirts, and then attributing the sexist objectification to the skirt and that person’s choice to wear the skirt. However, the subject of pole dancing does seem to serve as an argument base for hypocritical people who treat sex shaming other women as a viable solution to gender inequality.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Third wave feminism is not feminism, it’s a backlash against feminism.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I am currently writing a book about the third wave as backlash and the need to return to feminism’s radical roots. I have also been writing about this stuff for some time now. If you check out the site, you’ll find more on that. This might help clarify also: https://i-d.vice.com/en_gb/article/defining-the-f-word-why-we-need-to-be-radical-with-feminism

    In any case, by definition, radical feminism is not “dominant discourse,” so the notion that third wavers somehow wished to push back against “dominant discourse on feminism” makes no sense. In fact, what the third wave has tried to do is to turn otherwise sexist, misogynist ideas, words, and imagery into “empowerment.”

    It was indeed a backlash against the second wave, but as such it was a backlash against feminism itself.

    • Asterisk

      Does your book cover tactics on how to filter comments that conflict with your views and encourage responses that serve to silence those who do not conform?

      The cool thing about Disqus is that it tells me, and shows me the full conversation with my reply listed as “removed”, and I can share them. Neat.

  • JohnnyRotten

    You could probably just have printed that final sentence under the headline and left it at that. Brilliant stuff.

  • JohnnyRotten

    ‘Pole requires incredible strength, stamina, flexibility, and coordination’

    None of these skills are inherently moral or good qualities. What’s your point?

  • JohnnyRotten

    ‘Gymnastics in Greek actually means to exercise naked, and yet the same stigmas do not apply to them.’

    1) its not 776BC .
    2) TBTN wasn’t held in Greece
    3) Pole dancing is not Gymnastics. The only thing these have in common is that in both cases people are doing stuff.

    You may have overlooked this when ‘considering the current discourse on feminist social identity analysis’

  • JohnnyRotten

    …like the hundreds of pole accessory stores run by women around the world making millions of dollars.

    A celebration of Pole dancing, ‘choice’ empowerment, shopping AND excessive wealth capitalism in one short sentence.

    ewwwwwwwww.

  • Meghan Murphy

    As has been repeated numerous times over, I did not ask “When has a man worn high heels,” I asked when has a man’s power been connected to/dependent on his choice to wear high heels. Again, you people seem to have zero reading comprehension. It’s weird.

  • Ashley AnneMarie

    Pole exercise is misunderstood by many people. First of all, it has nothing to do with taking your clothes off. We DO NOT wear stripper heels while working out – it is all done bare foot (at least at the studio I attend). We don’t do it for men, we do it for ourselves. It is hard to feel objectified when you are the only one who can support your entire body weight horizontally on a pole. I’d like to see a man try it. It takes a lot of upper body strength. It’s not about “looking sexy” and rubbing your ass against the pole like you see in strip clubs. It’s about building strength and endurance. When I workout on a pole, I’m not thinking about impressing a man, I’m thinking about how proud I am of myself for finally building up the upper arm strength to get a move or pose down that I’ve been working on for months! What we do in pole fitness is very different than what I’ve seen in a strip club. It is going to be difficult to break the association but I hope eventually people will begin to understand.

    • marv

      Powerful feelings don’t undermine the organizational configuration of male dominance. They may actually sustain male institutions by shifting attention away from collective political action aimed at overthrowing patriarchy to a concentration on individualist gain within the system.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Um, yes…

  • radwonka

    Objectified “gymnastics” is still objectification. Read all the 2000 comments and the article if you want to know why. I’ve no time for your depoliticization.

  • Pero

    You do not make it an exact same thing. I once read an interview where a pole dancer who is also a stripper said she doesn’t do pole dance tricks in the club because men didn’t come to see that. Also, audience at pole events consists almost exclusively of women, gay men and family members of the dancers.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Pole dancing is, by the majority of todays studios across the world marketed as non-sexy.”

    Hmm no… That is provably untrue… Just google ‘pole dancing’ or ‘pole classes’ and see what kind of imagery comes up and look at how most studios market themselves.

    • Pero

      It is important to know that a part of polers use the name “pole sport” instead of “pole dance” in order to make it completely non-sexy. I’m not saying that I agree with them, but that pole community is a lot more diverse and complex than you could discover by googleing for a short time. You should Google for a couple of months, try some lessons and explore various competitions and showcases instead :).

      It is my impression that most polers nowadays consider sensual poling to be just one of many possibilities. You could even make a performance with a message about the harmful effects of objectification.

      I want to also add that pole studios exist in parts of the world such as Croatia, South Africa and Dubai.

      And even if many studios are objectifying women through their marketing, erasing womens part of pole world is not a constructive answer to that same as stopping women from playing tennis isn’t the best answer to the objectification of female tennis players.

  • Hierophant2

    Do you realize how ridiculous you are? I ask you what kind of power you get from pole dancing and your answer is that you can be famous within the community of people that pole dance. Without the pole dancing, the community wouldn’t even exist, so it’s a circular argument. What kind of power do you derive from it if no one but people in some made up community know about you?

    That’s like me saying that I am empowered because I’ve created a new ideology called “hierophantism” and fifteen people think I’m great. So what? That doesn’t have anything to do with the real world.

  • Natalie

    Because they lift weights. Women should feel just as empowered to lift weights.

    • Tired feminist

      And men shouldn’t feel as empowered to do pole dance?

  • Natalie

    What the hell is the conflictual nature of humans? I think that you mean patriarchy enforces rigid adherence to proscribed roles for women. By ” embracing” those roles even if they make you depressed and uncomfortable you start to feel conflictual. Or some gender studies fucking psycho babble

  • Natalie

    Complex nature of human beings: translated the men waz feeling bad and the mean feminists were to blame. Conceptuualization of a reality doesn’t even make sense.

  • Natalie

    Funny because most of these upper middle class white girls that can afford pole dancing classes never were strippers. I actually was a stripper for off and on for almost 2 years. It was the most fucking degrading time of my life. The only positive was that I met so many incredible women.

  • Natalie

    So when you are all alone you wear lacy panties and a corset and heels and full makeup just to “feel” not look but feel sexy? You don’t have ratty sweats you wear instead?

  • Natalie

    I am going to go rob my local bank and if I get caught I will emphasize that no choices are inherently good or bad. That is just some postmodern fuckery right there…..

  • Monica Jalapeña

    I agree with many points that you mention but I think it is simplistic to draw a line between what is empowering and what is not fit a woman. It may infact differ between individuals. I would also recommend to not state that poledancers are against feminism or feminists – this statement can actually cause more negative effects than positive. I am a poledancer, have not danced with heels yet, although I see no harm in it, and I am definitely a feminist. Also a victim of physical and sexual violence by men. And Poledance has in fact been for me one little piece in overcoming those traumas.

  • anne

    There is no such thing as ‘cis women’. Women are biological human females who are forcibly socialised from birth into an oppressed sex class within patriarchy. Transwomen are biological human males who, for different reasons ranging from body dysmorphia to sexual fetishism, choose to socialise as women. Considering transgenderism in men (because men are all we ever talk about in these discussions of trans rights, right?) this is the case of members of oppressor class using their sense of entitlement to demand membership in the oppressed class on their terms, and even attempting to redefine the oppressed class and speak on their behalf while neglecting all the real issues that affect the actual members of the oppressed class. This is nothing better than Blackface, in this case Ladyface. Trans rights are in over 90% of cases synonymous with rights of men to socialise as women NOT rights of women in any shape or form. It sounds to me like men’s rights activism, rather than feminism, is your actual ideology. Many a young woman is gaslighted into accepting men’s rights activism by simply relabeling it as ‘liberal feminism’, kind of feminism that exalts pole dancing, prostitution as ‘work”, gets women to call themselves sluts and campaign for pornography, instead of fighting to abolish gender and patriarchy, which are the actual mechanisms behind oppression of biologicla females, regardless of how they ‘identify’. Kind of like ‘national socialism’ aka nazism, shares none of the actual values of socialism, but has co-opted the term and won public support based on that reversal. It’s called gaslighting, and you have been a victim of it.

  • anne

    Your examples are absurd and not rooted in reality of majorityof women who work as pole dancers. You are performing mental gymnastics or shall I call it metal pole dancing? It’s designed to please men more than gymnastics would.

  • anne

    You have missed the part of my comment that states that cannabis has been shown to be beneficial as long as it ISN’T smoked.

  • anne

    You are the only person here that is playing the Oppression Olympics game, despite your reversals and proclamations. So because I’m.Not.Buying.It, I need to discuss several statements you made. First, despite the neoliberal lingo that would leave Orwel cringing, there is no such thing as “cis women”, to claim that is to claim that biological human females are masochists, fully complicit in their oppression under gender hierarchy. If you want to have any kind of conversation, you have to be respectful. If you continue to insist on using “cis” I will refer to all transwomen as “men in dressess” so perhaps you would prefer that conversation?

    Secondly, there’s nothing “same” about a biological females and a biological males (regardless of “bottom surgeries”, hormones and styling) being raped, beaten or even verbally abused by another man. If molested as children, biological females constitute a whopping three quarters of all child abuse victims, while almost all molesters are biological males. If raped, biological females will risk pregnancy, and all the health risks of it, legal risks of abortion and lifelong free labour and economic discrimination inherent in nurturing and raising a child. If beaten, biological women will have much smaller upper body strength to fight back with. If abused psychologically, biological women will lack male socialisation that would allow them to speak instead of shrinking back and becoming silent, and they will lack experience of support for their combative behaviour, because that is a trait that is praised almost exclusively in men and boys, and all transwomen were at one time, men and or boys.

    As for percentages, yes transwomen are much less numerous, but due to high incidence of sexual fetishism, combined with testosterone driven higher sex drive, transwomen will engage a lot more often in high risk behaviours, such as prostitution, and in prostitution, a huge number of biological women are hurt just the same. You need to compare murder and harm stats between women and transwomen prostitutes ie. two groups with comparable risks, to get a more accurate picture. What is the same about transwomen and women who are prostitutes is the fact they resort to it as a consequence of abuse, trauma and harrowing lack of better opportunities to survive.

    Judging by your excessive concern for biological male issues, total lack of empathy for women’s issues and scathing approach to actual feminists who are fighting the patriarchy (the main goal of feminism), you are not a feminist, you are a men’s rights activist. Whether you were gaslighted into it, or you are gaslighting others abut being a “feminist”, is the only thing I’m not sure about.

  • Chantelle Beasley

    There are men doing it. Many men.
    I have two male instructors, and many male participants.

    Maybe get more educated on the sport before you even make a comment like that.

    There are even male divisions in pole competitions.

    Watchu think about that?

    • Tired feminist

      What’s the male/female proportion?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Thank you!

  • Rebekah Ratliff

    Um they aren’t. There are guys in my classes and other women’s husbands sometimes sit and watch in the waiting room but these are more advanced classes. Usually new polers are so terrified and ashamed of their perfectly beautiful bodies that they can barely imagine wearing the tank top and shorts beginners are asked to bring. My instructor has had to console girls crying because the first day think they aren’t good enough, they aren’t skinny enough, they arent sexy. But over the course of a few months these women get to learn it doesn’t matter her cellulite is showing, an entire room of people, stick thin to obese are joined together laughing, sweating, and learning to do DIFFICULT things with our bodies, exercising and having fun. Maybe even learning how to money maker and shake our assess. Coz that ish is hard. So yeah beginner classes the instructor usually limits to females. Because the same shame that tells them they ‘can’t’ wear a bikini at a public pool tells them no one, male our female, should she my natural body, ‘flaws’ and all. Not a gynecologist. Not a personal trainer. Not a private one on one pole dance instructor. Pole dancing for fun, for competition, for money is a choice. And all of them have negatives AND positives. Pole has taught me I don’t need to show myself off, make sure I’m ‘made up’ every time I run to Wal-Mart got milk. But that I am amazing just the way I am. That I am sexy on my own. But heels and mascara are still fun. It’s my personal preference. Stop judging and telling others what to do. I don’t care sexual traffickers target strippers. Of course I want that to stop, but that doesn’t mean because I enjoy moving my body in a similar way they do I the privacy of my own home, alone, just me, that I am supporting the patriarchy. Confining women and their behavior to a level of ‘acceptable’ is what the patriarchy does…feminists don’t need to be joining them.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Which women are telling you your ‘freedoms should be taken away’?

  • Meghan Murphy

    No one asked you not to do whatever you want, Hillary. Opinions that you don’t like don’t actually prevent you from doing anything.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Sorry we live in a patriarchal culture that teaches women objectification = empowerment and sorry men think women exist to be looked at…

    • Hillary

      What a cute way to think of men. I like how you clump them in a group where you assume that they think you exist to be looked at. A very nice generalization of a gender. “Sorry women think men exist only to be providers for them in life…” Doesn’t seem to sound very good, does it?
      While we are at it with acitivities or behaviours that perpetuate sexism…I saw a belly dancer in my favourite Greek restaurant the other night. Crazy lady says she feels “empowered” by shaking her hips with coins and showing off her belly to everyone. Little does she know that she is a symbol of the perpetuating sexism out there. Why does she resort to belly dancing? She needs to ask herself how power REALLY works. Her sexual “fitness” only exists to give men the chubbies, am I right? Poor woman doesn’t even know it.

      • Meghan Murphy

        lol. I see we have an MRA on our hands. I mean, you are SO right that understanding how patriarchy works is actually just SEXISM! Against MEN!

  • Meghan Murphy

    I’m glad you figured out that you can read more about my positions on patriarchy and the male by Googling me. You can also just read this website. I’ve laid out my positions on women’s liberation pretty clearly, here, for years now. You take care, now.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Good lord. Do you truly not understand how systems of power work? You really need to do some learning, sister. In any case, we don’t use sexist language here, so that’ll be all from you. Goodbye.

  • marv

    Men are thrilled by what you say. They don’t care if women sexually perform out of self-empowerment as long as tits and ass are on display. Agency motives don’t deter male dominance. Redefining sexist traditions is basically whistling past the graveyard. No better than feminist Catholicism.

  • lillajapan

    Pole dancing originally was performed by men in China if I’m correct though?