Finland: Winning Weird Awards
Dogdammit, I just missed the International Pole Dancing Championships in Hong Kong this past week. I don’t live that far away. But while I admire physical strength in women very much, pole dancing holds a serious ick factor for me. I don’t see it as sport or art. I see it as porny and sleezy objectification of women to serve the male gaze. I’d have a hard time enjoying the performance on these grounds. I’d rather watch women playing soccer/football, frankly.
I remember visiting a good friend 8 years back and she mentioned she’d been helping out an ambitious local girl with the design of her new business web site. She seemed kind of proud – both of her web endeavours and of this fierce, young businesswoman. Cool. I like that. Sisterhood. Female networks. I had that long ago for a too-short spell. It is an awesome thing that should be fostered.
So then we got down to details. The business in question was pole dancing gear sales.
What? I had no idea what that meant. Well, I had an idea. There are enough scenes of strip clubs in shitty American, male-oriented tv, and I’d seen ‘True Lies’ before – another film where Jamie Lee Curtis is forced to humiliate herself sexually. There’s that scene where she pretends to be an under-cover hooker or something like that and tries and fails at performing a ‘pole dance’ on the bed post without realizing her husband is her customer. Hilarity for men at the expense of a woman. Good fucking times.
What I hadn’t realized, trapped in 100-hour-a-week work/research/study, was that the world had slid a little further down the poop shute (um, dance pole?) of male decadence. Unbeknownst to me, pole dancing had suddenly been transformed into an empowerful activity. Effective exercise! Not just for whores anymore, dontcha know. Wink wink. And then the lib-fems took it up much in the same way they enthusiastically brought back burlesque.
Every realization deflates the feminist lifeboat a little more.
I took a polite look at my friend’s web design efforts, and found myself faced with ‘clothes’ no woman should ever have to wear, and that men never have to wear unless they’re performing ladyface for a joke or as a Hallowe’en costume or because of mental illness.
And, like the beauty pageants that humiliate women globally, pole dancing has become an international ‘thing’. Competitions. Prizes.
And while pole dancing does require great strength and fearlessness (it takes some serious courage to spread your legs for the world and call it feminism), when you defend it as a positive thing for women, you’re living some serious denial. This is not FOR women.
If you want to trot out, “well, there are male pole dancers competing too.” I don’t care. Pole dancing is marketed to women (and now girls) primarily as the epitome of a powerful woman. Women must harness their Sexual Power! But it symbolizes something very different to women than it does to men. It serves as a further normalizer of stripping and prostitution, which is not work, but sexual slavery. Very simply, pole dancing The Sport! wouldn’t exist if girls and women weren’t subordinate to men worldwide and regularly trafficked and groomed into providing sexual services (rape opportunities) out of desperation and/or vulnerability. When we normalize practices that come out of this slavery, we desensitize people to its harm, and we make it harder for women and girls to escape falling into a life where they are degraded, abused and raped regularly. If, on an earwax cleaning mission, I stick a q-tip into my ear so far as to burst my eardrum, I don’t tell people that thank goodness my ear is clean and that everyone should do it.
Regarding the above mentioned international competition, well, congrats go to Finland. Something to own proudly.
I’m waiting for the day that blow jobs become an Olympic sport. I swear, it’s around the corner. And yet again I find myself mumbling under my breath: I am so glad I don’t have children.
Posted on November 29, 2015, in Anti-Feminism, Male Privilege and tagged competition, Finland, international, misogyny, objectification, patriarchy, pole dancing, porn, sport, stripping. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Finland: Winning Weird Awards.