When Booty Shorts Are More Important Than Anything Else

Booty shorts are critical to pole dance.

booty shorts in dance

You need shorts to dance, but sometimes that’s the only thing people see.

They are also a sign of everything that’s wrong with attitudes about feminism in America, and a key sticking point in the (debatable) desire for pole to be separate from stripping.

It’s a big deal for a teeny tiny piece of fabric.

Case in point: I was talking to someone I care about a while ago about pole. No surprises there. I was explaining how creepy and fun the story line for my performance would be (this was for the Oogie Boogie song performance).

The answer: that it would be “hot” because of the booty shorts.

I found this answer pretty deeply disturbing, because what that really means is that nothing about pole dance matters except the fact that women are in booty shorts. If you think about the implication of this, it’s even more disturbing. The work that went into preparing the performance? Irrelevant. The strength to be able to do the moves in the performance? Irrelevant. Flexibility training? Irrelevant. The message I was trying to get across in my dancing? Irrelevant. My sense of humor? Irrelevant and slightly distracting. My story, ideas, opinions, and humanity? Worth far less than my fantastic ass in tiny shorts.


This is not an issue that is confined to the world of pole dance. It’s common to all sports, and many other facets of life, particularly entertainment. If I had a dollar for every time, during the summer olympics, I’ve heard someone say that they watch volleyball because of the shorts, I would be retiring somewhere warm right now.

Some men argue that the only way to make it worth it to pay to watch women doing  mixed martial arts fighting would be if the women do it topless. I’ve heard the same argument applied to basketball, soccer, and many other sports.

I read a blog about Orange is the New Black. I don’t watch tv., but the blog discussed how great the show was for dealing with real issues that impact women. Then it discussed how all the men at the blogger’s work only watched the show to see an actress topless.

I could go on. And on, and on.

No wonder people can’t see pole as being anything more than a “nice girls” way to try out stripping. All they see are booty shorts and body rolls, and nothing else that makes pole so awesome. It is disheartening, particularly since this is a culturally acceptable response that spans all of sports and entertainment, and particularly since the people who feel that way don’t think they are doing anything wrong.

Look beyond the toplessness. Look beyond the booty shorts. See people as people. Recognize the achievements people have made for themselves. When you hear other people saying these things, call them out on it. Ask them why they feel that way. Make sure that if you are admiring the ass in the shorts, that you are also admiring everything else that makes people who they are.

Leave a comment


  1. One of my problems with the whole bootyshorts stigma is that I keep hearing women talk about how “degrading” it is, or how they don’t wanna try pole because they like keeping their clothes on, thank you very much. Yet no one ever questions a woman’s right to wear a bikini or swimsuit to the beach! Why is it so much “worse” to workout in bootyshorts, than it is to tan or swim or grill or enjoy life in a bikini? I don’t get it.

    • It’s not. My problem in general is not with booty shorts, but with the fact that women are judged on their bodies more than on any other characteristic.

  2. Women who are active are more fit. Fit women are biologically more attractive. Many sports and arts require less clothing than a woman would wear in a casual, formal or business situation. They also require more physicality than is normally expected in social situations. Why are you surprised at men voicing a biological reaction? Do you not mention to your girlfriends when you see an attractive man? I do. Do you immediately wonder about how smart he is, or how much self worth he has, or anything else about his actual worth as a human being? Or are you more concerned about whether he is single and what he does for a living and how much money he has? If you want a man to see you as a creative, intelligent, thinking human being, you must compete with him on that basis. If you wear booty shorts and they look good, that is what he will see, and what he will respond to. Either way, why are you ladies who are brave enough and skilled enough to get up and dance around a pole and make it look good, in booty shorts no less, the least bit concerned about what anyone else thinks? Least of all men for whom you have no respect because they are looking at your ass instead of your soul, despite the fact you are showing more of the former than the latter? Face it, pole is not a style of dance socially associated with culture, self expression, or art, even if those are the reasons you have taken it up. Why not embrace the fact you have chosen to develop this art because you LIKE the way it makes you feel, namely, sexy, and attractive. Don’t bitch about the result when you know full well what the cultural associations are. If you are trying to change those perceptions, the best thing you can do is be that intelligent, creative soul while dancing or doing anything else, and anyone who is actually important to your life will understand that.

    • I think I’ll take this comment as a compliment, particularly the part about fit women being more attractive… but you are missing the point entirely. You are also making a lot of judgements about my character for someone who’s never met me- for the record, I don’t talk about men like hunks of meat, and I don’t judge my potential mates by their salary. The main problem, and the reason that this prompted me to write this post, is because it implies that it is culturally acceptable to judge women based on their bodies. You talk about the associations with pole, but I’m talking about all of sports and most of entertainment. Want another example? Look at Miley Cyrus’s income before her sex object stunt and after. There is no question that society is valuing her more as a sex object than as a complete human. That bothers me. The fact that people value seeing my ass more than they value seeing anything else in my performances bothers me. It should bother you too.

    • As a side note, please come visit my blog tomorrow- I think the post I scheduled for tomorrow touches on a lot of things you mention in this comment.

  1. Pole Dance Is Not Empowering | poledancecompetition

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