Pole Dancing: Exploitation, or Discovering Your Inner Tigress? Make up Your Minds Ladies!!!


A few months ago I saw a report on TV about pole dancing: You know, the kind that erotic dancers/prostitutes do at strip clubs to arouse the carnal instincts of males everywhere.

In the report they mentioned that this activity was now being taught as an elective, for-credit course at certain universities across Canada, and that young university-age women were flocking to these courses to learn how to dance like the best erotic dancer/prostitutes in the country.

I was flabbergasted. On the one hand we have the women’s lobby often decrying prostitution as a crime against women, and describing women who engage in prostitution as poor helpless victims of male violence and exploitation.

On the other hand, here was another branch of the women’s movement marshalling all sorts of intellectualized and bohemian arguments in favour of teaching young women this type of behaviour: It was a form of ‘empowerment’, a way to take ownership of their bodies and their sexuality, a way to unleash the hidden sensuality or ‘tigress’ within all women, feeding their inborn desire to be admired for their physical attributes, and to be desired by others in general.

Well, this didn’t exactly jibe with the reality that exists for women who actually work in this field. In my 8 years of volunteer work in the field of addictions counselling and mental health, I’ve met people from all walks of life, including at least one former erotic dancer/prostitute. She managed to extract herself from this hellish life by the skin of her teeth, not before being raped numerous times during the course of her life, witnessing friends and colleagues being murdered in cold blood before her eyes, being compelled to perform sex acts for members of the law enforcement community, sometimes when they were on duty, as well as for high-ranking politicians and business people, becoming addicted to alcohol and freebase crack cocaine, and otherwise engaging in a whole variety of sordid sex acts including sodomy, Sado-Masochism, domination, etc…

All of this because she thought she could make some quick money dancing up on stage and flirting with the men in the room. I can tell you right away that most if not all of the stripper bars are owned by the Hell’s Angels now, and once you start to work for them, they own you, and you pretty much can kiss your sweet ass and your soul goodbye, sister.

So who’s zoomin’ who, as the Pointer Sister so eloquently put it? The women’s lobby should get their story straight and their communications strategy on the same page, if you ask me. One side says that it’s exploitation, while the other side says it’s empowerment. If you ask me, if I were a woman, I don’t think that I would want to emulate that kind of behaviour. The Bible says that your body’s a temple, created by God. What on earth are we doing condoning our future leaders to engage in such an activity, as if by doing so, we are validating its moral rectitude. I think if any of those sassy little university girls sat down with my ex-prostitute friend and had a good long talk, they’d either drop their pole-dancing 101 course like a hot potato, or never even bother to take it in the first place.

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