• The Feminist Times

Pursuing your Passion on the Pole



In 12th century India, pole dancing was a male-dominated sport. It spread to the United

States when exotic dancers of Egypt performed as part of a traveling circus. The sexual

aspect of the sport came into focus when dancers tried to attract audiences by dancing

erotically. It wasn't until the 1980s that pole dancing became associated with bars and strip clubs. Pole dancing has gradually reinvented itself as an underground fitness culture, blending dance and acrobatics at studios and gyms, gaining the status of an excellent workout and even an official sport.

 The sports branch of this remarkably versatile pole dance has serious athletes performing demanding acrobatics and displaying unfathomable muscular strength. Then some appreciate what the artistic side of the pole has to offer in terms of creativity. Some pole dancers like to wear heels and move in a more sensual, seductive manner. The Pole transcends gender and age. Thanks to the popularity of pole sports, there are now a

plethora of studios that teach children and teenagers how to participate in this athletic

discipline, with pole dancing lessons becoming a viable alternative to traditional workouts. The growing popularity of men doing pole dancing, pole sports, and even exotic pole dancing has also led to the formation of men's divisions in competitions. The ancient Indian sport of Mallakhamb has historically been a male-dominated activity where the practitioner executes yoga postures on a wooden pole. 

Despite its accomplishments, pole dancing still has a reputation that does not necessarily

appeal to the general public, owing to some grave misconceptions about the profession. Often this artistic activity is viewed as demeaning or disparaging. While many people believe exotic dancing has a nasty side, women typically turn to it when they suffer from financial problems or have run out of alternatives. Others choose to make it their career, claiming benefits such as flexibility, fitness, and high earning potential.

Despite its accomplishments, pole dancing still has a reputation that does not necessarily appeal to the general public, owing to some grave misconceptions about the profession. This artistic activity is often perceived as demeaning or disparaging. While many people believe exotic dancing has a nasty side, women typically turn to it when they suffer from financial problems or have run out of alternatives. Others choose to make it their career, claiming benefits such as flexibility, fitness, and high earning potential.

 However, pole dancers have sometimes been misunderstood as sexually open-minded, horny women rather than performers or sensual dancers. Even though some view the profession as taboo, pole dancers of various races, faiths, cultures, sizes, and ages form a unique camaraderie, with each supporting the other. It is more than a feat of athleticism; it's about learning to appreciate ones body all over again through the art of pole dancing. It's about unlearning the patriarchal indoctrination that teaches women to see all pleasure, joy, and self-love through patriarchal lenses.

 Pole dancing is more than just a workout. It's a movement style that is used to increase internal strength, as well as a vehicle for self-discovery and development. It's a community of people who are equally devoted to one another and themselves, searching for love and validation as they rediscover their bodies and the beauty of femininity. They're a movement that's altering the way women think about, feel about, and talk about their bodies in defiance of a culture that wants them to conceal. It is a beautiful fusion of dance and sport into a vibrant athletic art form.


-Nimisha Dutta

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