Dear Fellow Pole Mama,
I share your struggles, I know your burdens, I feel you worry, hurt and frustration.
I was talking with a friend of mine about my pole fitness the other day when she asked why I chose to continue to pole dance after having my daughter. I explained how it’s helped me heal and recover from the biological stress carrying a baby had on my body. I talked about the sisterhood I have in my pole community. I shared how beautiful and confident my sport makes me feel. And, after talking about how it’s nice to have some “Me Time” to just me myself and not a wife and mother, she said, presumptuously, “Well, at least you don’t dance in front of her. You wouldn’t want her to be exposed to erotic, sexual or provocative things like that at her age.”
My first instinct was to be offended. Even after all this time of knowing I do pole and watching the videos of my performances, you still see me as a stripper and don’t see pole as a sport?!? My second emotion was defensiveness. It’s my home, my daughter, my sport, and you don’t even know what I do in class! You don’t genuinely care about my daughter, you’re just judgmental and prejudice. But my third emotion won out – heartbreak. You have no idea what you’re missing out on and you want to rob my daughter of one of the most amazing parts of my life!
After a few moments of silence to process these emotions, my response went something like this, “While I agree that I don’t want my daughter exposed to things inappropriate for her age, you should know, I do pole dance in front of my daughter. I even have her join me on the pole occasionally when her Daddy is there to spot us. She loves sitting on my lap as I practice my sits and I often do my conditioning moves or practicing my spins and poses with Charis in the room.”
She was simply aghast. “Why on earth would you want to encourage your daughter to dance like that?!? What if she uses it to be a stripper for college?!?” she exclaimed.
“Why should she associate my sport with stripping?” I asked. My friend looked at me with this look of Are you serious?
“Who’s going to tell my daughter what a stripper is? Where is she going to see that? I’m certainly not going to take my toddler to a strip club and we don’t watch those kind of movies in our home. If we raise her that pole is a sport, being considered for the olympics by the way, she won’t have the view of stripping, just of strength and flexibility that she sees me learning. Yes, eventually, as she gets older and is exposed to more of the world, Luke and I will tell her about the other view of pole, but if her first impressions are that of fitness and beauty, that’s the perspective she’ll have – sport not stripping. Yoga was once a sacred religious ritual and that’s now a form of exercise. Tai chi was used to train Chinese warriors and is also now taught in fitness studios. Pole, at least, started as a Indian sport, and wasn’t even considered burlesque until the 1950’s and then put in clubs for strippers in the 1980’s. But regardless of who views it as what, my sport makes me feel strong and beautiful and I hope to pass that onto my daughter. I hope that she finds a sport that makes her feel the way pole makes me feel and I hope that I’m able to teach her that she is gorgeous, powerful and valuable, just the way God made her.”
To all my other Pole Mamas out there who have had similar conversations or are struggling to defend your sport to others not willing to try it, I hear you, I feel you, I see you. Know that you are not alone. Together we can inspire our children as we stand strong, dance gracefully, and fly confidently!