This past weekend, I went out to dinner with my fiance’s parents and some friends. Dinner started out great, until I had to share how I got the burn on my arm. It is a pretty harmless story really. I was baking pumpkin seeds and as I was taking them out of the oven, my sassy little kitten decided that was a great time to attack my toes. He scared the living day lights out of me, so I jumped and burned my arm with the pan.
After sharing how the burn happened, everyone decided to chime in on how they hate cats. How could I possibly want a cat!?! They acted as if it was unusual for someone to want that kind of pet. They even went as far as saying, “That’s why all cats are useless and should be dead.” This hit home pretty hard. I have and always will be cat person, along with a dog person, well….. Really, I am an all animal opportunist! I love all animals! But here I sat at dinner being belittled by some of my closest family and friends because of my pet choice.
This wasn’t the first time that cat shaming had happened. This was thought, the time where I had had enough. So I stood up for myself. I told them that I did not need to sit there and let them make me feel bad for wanting/owning a cat. Then they proceeded to tell me that I was over reacting, which I very well know I was not. In no way shape or forms should I have to explain or defend why I want a certain type of pet. That incident got me thinking of all the ways that I have been shamed for being a pole dancer.
Being a poler for over 5 years has taught me that pole shaming is a continuous monster. It is not something that has gone away and it is something that I continue to have to defend and explain. How I choose to express myself and my pet choices…… should not affect how others view me, but the sad truth is that it still does……..
Every day I have to justify why I pole dance. It is ridiculous that we have to explain ourselves to others. We don’t ask regular gym goers to do the same. We don’t shame them for making healthy choices. So why is it okay for them to shame us? It’s not….. BUT, They think that it is okay, because they are afraid of different.
Pole dancing has impacted my job. Who decides to be my friend. It even when I was single impacted the men I went on dates with. (Not in the “Oh! it is hot to date a stripper kind of way.) A guy ghosted me because he was not comfortable with my choice to pole dance. Grow up and good riddance to that guy! I am a strong advocate for pole dancers. We work hard to build our strength, our skills, and most important of all pole teaches us to embrace our bodies. We learn to love ourselves!
I can promise you this, I will continue to educate people with all the amazing aspects that pole has to offer. Pole is one of my passions! It has helped me grow in so many ways that I cannot even begin to put it into words. That is why each and everyday I work to end pole shaming by educating those who speak with out understanding.
Until Next Time,