Athlete and Vixen: Making of a Pole Dancer - Part II
by Melanie Lynch
I last posted about Pole dancing being a sport and that not all Pole dancers are strippers but I asked the question ‘what is so wrong with stripping anyway?’
When I started Pole dancing I found that I would get so frustrated with everyone implying I was a stripper. As years went by I started participating in more shows and met so many great women.
They were all out there trying to be brave, showing up in small costumes and hoping they would put on a performance. Some of these fantastic women were almost naked and some were actually stripping. I marvelled at them and loved them for the courage on stage but quickly learned that although they were strong on stage backstage they were nervous balls of energy getting their courage up and trying to remember their routines.
I discovered that there really was
nothing different between them and me.
So once again, let’s start at the beginning. When I started my Pole journey, I went to my first class and I was wearing full-length leggings and a tank top. To me this was revealing.
As we progressed I needed to climb and so the leggings changed to shorts. I learned to hold the Pole between my legs (yes, I am aware of how that sounded) and the shorts got a lot smaller.
Then the ultimate thing happened, I started to flip upside down and needed to position the Pole across my abdomen.
So my tank tops needed to turn into a crop top or sports bra. Let me tell you, after you have had three children, your first instinct is not to show off the stomach area.
As I stood there, I had to fight the urge to cover my stomach with my hands. But Pole is so much more than exercise.
It’s a community.
A loving, welcoming community that encourages women to not apologize for the way they look.
These ladies push you to grow, express yourself and be bold!
At the same time as I started attending Pole shows,
I also started going to Burlesque shows.
The first time I went to one, I was completely blown away. I had never seen anything like it.
These women came out with the most amazing, decadent, creative costumes and performed with such sublime beauty that it took my breath away.
They were stripping but the show was more than just removing their clothes, it was a celebration of beauty, whether it was the movement, the costumes or the woman themselves, it was simply beautiful.
I had the privilege to watch one performer named Coco Framboise who came on stage wearing the massive fur boa which she slowly undressed behind.
It was a cheeky tease because you would only see glimpses of her caramel skin behind the white softness of the fluffy boa. She was mesmerizing and the crowd absolutely loved her. There’s nothing like the crowds at these shows. The first thing you notice about these crowds is that they consist largely of women and these women scream, shout and catcall the performers in encouragement.
They show their appreciation for what is happening on stage. I was drawn to try this too and so signed up for the Coco Framboise School of Burlesque.
I wanted to learn how to exude
that kind of confidence and beauty.
I once read one of those Facebook postcards that said something like “some women feel empowered by covering themselves while others by taking their clothes off, who are we to judge” and it spoke to me.
There’s a lot of criticism about women taking their clothes off or objectifying themselves and I won’t go into all their arguments here.
You can’t take two steps without running into their voices and you can go read about it yourselves.
There’s something to me that just doesn’t fit about this mindset.
WE are strong and determined.
We do not want to be told anything about ourselves anymore.
We own our lives, our bodies and the way we choose express ourselves.
You are not qualified to judge me or others who enjoy this activity.
This is our choice.
Why is it wrong to be us? We are not hurting you or ourselves.
In fact we are having fun and life should be fun.
Maybe no one will understand what we are trying to do and that’s ok but all I ask is that the judgment stop, and that you just sit back and enjoy the show since we have worked hard to pull it together!
If you think I am crazy and wrong, well that’s ok too because I have a whole community of women that are there with me cheering me on and supporting me every step of the way and I really didn’t choose to do it for you anyway.
To read Part 1 of this series,