Over the last 48 hours, the pole industry has been shocked and disgusted by:
A.) a meme featuring pole star Marlo Fisken stating that ‘pole dancing is an action to normalize men’s violence against woman.’
B.) a statement by the London Abused Woman’s Centre supporting this claim.
If you missed these posts here they are:
Upon researching the matter, these are the facts we have found so far:
- The London Abused Woman’s Centre was to support an event named ‘Take Back The Night’.
- Take Back The Night in Ontario, Canada contacted a local pole studio named The Pole House to participate in the event by demonstrating pole fitness.
- It is still unsure as to why The Coalition Against Human Trafficking Australia shared the post by London Woman’s Abuse Centre, or what their involvement is.
UPA has reach out to each organization mentioned here to request a statement. At the time of printing this article neither has responded to our requests. We will update the article if they do decide to comment.
We spoke to the owner of the Pole House, Emily Kelman and Senior Instructor Kris Mac and they had this to say:
“We decided at this point that the best course of action was to respectfully withdraw from the event. The media coverage was creating a fiasco, which was overshadowing the Take Back the Night Event. We have chosen to withdraw from TBTN in hopes that it will help refocus the public on this very important event. While The Pole House will not attend in an official capacity, our instructors and members will attend as individuals to support the cause.
Rather than performing at TBTN, The Pole House will be hosting an open house and showcase on October 1st, appropriately entitled “Take Back the Pole”. There will be free classes during the day, followed by a more formal showcase featuring performances by pole and aerial artists from numerous studios in the region in the evening. This event is free, but donations will be accepted for a women’s charity. The goal of this event is to educate the public about pole fitness, while raising money for a great cause. Please head to The Pole House Facebook page to get all the details at www.facebook.com/thepolehouselondonontario“
Pole dancers have shared these posts, hundreds of times over the last 24 hours.
So where does this leave the pole dance community? Many have expressed their anger, their hatred and their disgust towards these women’s groups and articulated such on their Facebook pages.
At United Pole Artists we would like to educate these groups rather than attack their ignorance and lack of knowledge of the pole industry. We hope that all pole dancers will join us by helping us educate these groups. If you can share your valuable information in the comments, we will be sending this article and the comments directly to the woman’s groups in a hope to give them a different perspective of the pole industry, not what they assume what it is based on the surface.
Let’s start with the history of pole dance/fitness/art etc. According to the IPDAF “Modern day pole dancing has evolved into exercise form practiced by not only professionals and performers, but by everyone from casual students and gym-goers to national and internationally recognized pole athletes. The world of Western Pole dates back a lot longer than many would imagine. Pole is practiced today by both men and women alike, and is a fusion of Chinese pole, Indian Pole or ‘Mallakhamb’, other circus-based (eg Dutch and French pole), exotic dance of various international influences and pole dancing as seen in the traveling fairs of the American Depression.”
The complete history can be viewed here: http://ipdfa.com/about/history-of-pole/
Next let’s talk about the largest gathering of pole dancer’s in the world that happened this past weekend, Pole Expo.
Pole Expo is an annual event that attracts thousands of pole dancers from all over the world. During Expo, attendees have the opportunity to learn form the world’s best athletes, shop in hundreds of vendor stalls and connect with people that will become life long friends.
United Pole Artists have been attending Pole Expo since 2010 live streaming the Pole Classic Competition. In the first year, there were 100 computers that logged in to watch the live stream. This year, in 2016, UPA had almost 25,000 computers, which equated to over 56,000 viewers!!! Why is this relevant? This demonstrates the enormous growth rate of the pole industry as a whole. This year there were viewers from over 50 countries in 3000 cities that watched the Pole Classic Competition.
Let’s not forget that the Pole Classic Competition is not only a competition for women, but there is a men’s division too. Following the competition was a showcase that was the most diverse we’ve ever seen. It included a one armed woman from Australia, a 70 year old woman from Japan, a doubles act from Ireland and a male contortionist. To watch the entire competition and showcase, head to http://live.upa.tv/pole-expo-2016/ where you can watch it on demand for free. We hope that each of the women’s groups mentioned in this article take a moment to watch part of it, if not all of it.
The next point of discussion is empowerment. At UPA we hear and see so many posts and articles about the broad topic of empowerment. How many of you have heard a story of how pole classes helped a person through a difficult time or saved a person from a difficult situation? Yesterday, UPA came across two such posts about this very topic.
Holly “Honey” Miely
Both of these posts show just how powerful pole dance classes can be. There are thousands of stories like this that we at UPA have seen over the years and we hope to continue to hear about these situations as this gives us our purpose, to be ‘United By Pole.’
To the women’s groups: these are just a few facts and narrative pieces about pole dancing that we hope you read and seek further information. UPA would love to sit down with you to discuss any aspect of the pole dance community. We also hope that you become UPA’s number one reader of our articles, blogs and stories and we hope you watch every live stream we produce. We want you to understand what our industry is about as your opinion is merely a puppet reaction based from mass media coverage. Talk to us, learn about us and understand us, don’t just presuppose us. And last of all, take a friggin pole class! It may just change your life and give you perspective.
Here are a few more facts for you: This meme discriminates a group of people. It has offended a large group of people from all over the world. Pole dancers are not the problem when it comes to violence against women by men. Pole dancers are not the problem when it comes to ANY violence against ANY one what so ever. The people committing violent acts towards women or men or anyone are the problem. Education and communication is the key to change. Affect by teaching, not shaming.
Let’s teach these organization’s about pole dancing and pole dancers. Give us your insight into what they should know. Let us know in the comments.
And don’t forget to use #UnitedByPole in everything pole related