By ASHLEY HUNT
When people ask what I do for work and I tell them I am a pole dance instructor, I’m faced with mixed reactions ranging from shock, to patronising and the very occasional admiration.
I am used to being judged for my chosen profession, but that does not make it OK. Just because I choose to spend my evenings teaching pole dance classes does not mean you can make assumptions about me. To clarify: Yes, I spend my evenings teaching women how to pole dance. No, I do not dance in clubs. No, I do not take my clothes off for money. No, I did not drop out of high school and couldn’t find a job doing anything else. And no, there is nothing wrong with any of those things.
It’s time to shed some light on the pole fitness industry and let people see the positive effects of pole dancing and come to understand it not as degrading, but as an empowerment tool for women.
I started pole 3 years ago. A friend of mine had been talking about it for a while, but as a shy person I always thought “It’s just not for me, it’s not my type of thing”. It wasn’t until this same friend went through a tough breakup that I decided to give it a go. One day, when trying to lift her spirits, we drove past a pole dancing studio and I remembered her earlier suggestion. I immediately signed us both up, and I put my fears aside to be able to do something with my friend to take her mind off her ex.