Men

I feel like, considering all the stereotypes that surround pole dancing, I shouldn’t have to say this to my fellow pole dancers. But it’s obvious to me that it needs to be said because I see (or hear) it happening. Men who choose to pole dance should not be opening themselves up to speculation about whether or not they are gay. Taken on a more general level, you probably shouldn’t speculate at all whether or not any person is gay, because it’s none of your damn business. Because people are more than the sum of their sexuality. Because this is 2013 and I shouldn’t need to say any of this. But this blog is about pole. And I’ve heard people make comments about men who take up pole dancing. And it pisses me off. Pole dance is for everyone, and it has nothing to do with your sexual orientation.  So please stop judging people based on your own narrow stereotypes.

That being said, I feel like there should be more co-ed classes. If pole dance is going to be taken seriously as a sport, it should be open to all people. I occasionally attend one of two co-ed classes in my studio, and every time I’m struck by the fact that if men want to take up pole, they are really limited on options. For a while before my homework ate my life I was training at the studio ten or more hours a week- men don’t have that option. At many studios men aren’t allowed at all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvjHL5nPREQ

I understand why- part of it is that many women take up pole dance because they want to feel sexy. And most women don’t want to feel sexy in front of strangers of the male persuasion. Particularly not while wearing booty shorts. Part of it is probably practical- more dressing rooms would be required. More need to monitor and make sure men are there to learn and not to check out women in their booty shorts. More headaches. As a client, I enjoy being able to hang out with my girlfriends and not having to worry about men being there. I don’t have answers to any of these issues- maybe compromising and doing a few co-ed classes a week is sufficient. But I still feel like an opportunity is being lost. What do you think? Should all classes be co-ed? None of them? Do enough men have interest in dance for it to really matter one way or another?

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13 Comments

  1. First, sexuality should never be questioned. Period. Now, men in pole totally matter and it’s more complicated than I’d like. I wrote about it once but don’t have the link handy. Two main thoughts. 1. Shouldn’t they feel strong and beautiful and empowered by their own selves and others? 2. If we want a better society where women are respected in full, shouldn’t men get to (need to) participate in that learning process? That said, I do understand the challenges a studio faces in being open-minded about it while still giving women a safe place to explore and grow. I think it’s up to the STUDENTS to let the instructors know what they want so that the instructors can accommodate EITHER need – broad social development or deep personal safety. Both are worthy and needed in our world and there’s no one right answer for everyone. Excellent topic!

    Reply
  2. I’ve only seen one man at my studio and he would dress in drag. He definitely wasn’t making anyone uncomfortable! I actually draw a lot of inspiration for my moves from male pole dancers. I’m always in awe of their strength. I would hope that the men who are there are there for the love of pole, not for the love of ladies’ bums in booty shorts. However, those little shorts on men don’t leave much to the imagination either, hopefully they don’t feel uncomfortable from leering eyes from the female population. I guess what I’m trying to say is, pole is something that either sex should be able to enjoy equally. Yes, we women are used to having our little female haven at the studio but it’s time to make room for the men.
    But…Angela said it way more eloquently than I did

    Reply
    • That’s what I hope too! And it’s a good point about men being in equally revealing clothing. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  3. Ellie

     /  June 21, 2013

    As a noob, I’m glad that my class is women only. Individuals who identify themselves as women understand the particular brand of body self-consciousness that goes along with that identity. I think that as I get more comfortable I wouldn’t mind co-ed classes. I mean, as some point I am going to perform and there will certainly be men in the audience.

    Reply
    • Yes, I think I agree that at least level one classes should be kept separate. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  4. Since I take ballet, I can definitely the different sides of this topic. While I love the athleticism of ballet, I’ve always been in love with the grace and beauty of it, and how I feel about myself when I dance. I felt that way even when I danced as a teenager.

    The longer I’ve danced, the more I’ve fallen in love with other dance forms as an artist and loved the videos here and with Angela’s link. It looks pretty cool, and yeah, if I knew of a studio around here that accepted guys, I’d probably give it a try. I live in Alabama and take ballet, which is already out of the Southern box anyway.

    But as for women wanting a women’s only class, I can fully understand. That was one of my concerns when I returned to ballet as an adult. The first couple of years I took class, I had a woman teacher and my peers were soccer mom types, and clothing in ballet can also be pretty revealing. That first class, and a few afterwards, I really worried and hoped my presence didn’t make any of the women uncomfortable. And the first time I wore tights to class, I worried about my body image in front of them!

    One of the amazing things, though, was I was encouraged to stick with it by my classmates from the first day on. They understood I wasn’t there to leer, but to dance like they were.

    Reply
  1. Pole Dancing and Men | February Blop Hop | Pole Dancing Bloggers
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