Here’s one surefire way to get your boyfriend to watch the Olympics with you: World class pole dancing!
Dance instructor and Pole Fitness Association cofounder Collette Kakuk is lobbying to make pole-dancing an official Olympic Games sport. In a recent interview with Marie Claire, she spoke about the importance of shattering the taboo behind the shiny pole, likening it to any another fitness apparatus, like a pommel horse or balance beam.
Marie Claire: What's the uniform?
Collette Kakuk: A G-string is not required, but you will have to show some skin, because you need it to stick to the pole for some of the moves. In my studio, we often work out in heels, but I envision athletes as being barefoot in the Olympics.
MC: And will they be required to make sexy faces?
CK: That would not be part of it. And there would be banned movements, too, like gyrating and grinding.
MC: So what exactly would the judges be looking for?
CK: Leg extension, flexibility, elevation, and control.
MC: Any response from the Olympic committee?
CK: So far they've just told us the criteria we have to meet. There has to be enough international support, and pole-dancing—or pole-dance fitness, as I choose to call it—is practiced in over 50 countries. We have 110,000 signatures on our petition. But we need to unify the sport. We don't even have common names for our moves.
MC: Would there be a men's competition as well?
CK: We've had lots of men say, "What about us?" But we're starting with the women for now. Most guys just offer to be judges anyhow.
My predilections towards glittery pasties aside, I must admit I have extremely mixed feels towards the topic of pole dancing. First, regardless of how much skill and strength it takes to shimmy up a pole and hang upside-down with only the vice-like grip of one’s inner thighs, I by no means think it should be an Olympic Sport. Swimming, track, gymnastics, yes. But pole dancing is just too fraught with sexual connotations and tainted by a longstanding association of marginalizing and degrading women – to make it a “sport,” with judges holding up numbers for women in g-strings, would be lunacy. That said, I have in the past spoken on behalf of cardio striptease, going so far as to call it “an escape, a mental release and fun, all rolled into a celebration of curves and sensuality."
Lately, I find myself trying to reconcile my appreciation for the grace and strength required to perform these feats with my total contempt for stripping as a profession and the way in pushes women down, down, down, while simultaneously providing them with money and a false sense of emotional security (ie “Look at all these men staring at me and lavishing me with attention..I must be special.”) I suppose one of the keys is that when you take a strip class, you’re doing so in a controlled setting (ie a dance studio). You park your car, walk in wearing a cute Lucy tank and yoga pants, rub your belly, slap your ass, twirl around and then go out for sushi and cocktails with friends afterwards (at least that’s what I did.) Real strippers don’t have that luxury and I assure you, their nights are nowhere near what I just described.
What do you think? Is it possible to pole dance without, in some way, send the message that you condone the sad, dark place where the activity originally came from? And should it be an Olympic sport?