I know what your thinking, “How do women gain empowerment from pole?”. Isn’t this an exotic dance, where women can even be objectified dancing around that pole? How would you find empowerment there? Everyone knows about the exotic side of pole, but most don’t understand there is more to pole than the sexy. The athleticism that comes along with poling is ten-fold and can turn you from shy and timid to extroverted and confident.
Builds strength and confidence: We often hear, “I can’t start poling until I build upper-body strength”. This is a HUGE misconception that is so wrong. Once you begin poling, you build strength each and every time you come to class. There is nothing more empowering and rewarding than the first time you climb to the top of a pole, the first time you hold your own weight in the air, turn your body upside-down or deadlift for the first time.
Along with that new-found strength, you begin to walk a little straighter and carry yourself a little taller. You become more confident with each and every step. Why? Because you have a secret. You know what your body can do and you gain control of your body and therefore your life. The more you pole, the more empowered you become, and with that you become less of a victim to life.
Place of healing: We have found our studio has become a place of healing to women from various circumstances. Women of all backgrounds and social statuses are survivors of fear, of domestic violence, and of sexual assault. Survivors often battle with depression, anxiety, fears, and of course self-esteem and body issues.
Poling can provide the opportunity to begin the healing process. With each pole success, a piece of discontent is chiseled away. With each success, a little piece of your soul begins to repair itself. As the successes build so does the empowerment and as that builds so does regaining control of your life. As the confidence rises, so does the body image and you can begin to allow yourself (your spirit) to heal.
Body image: I myself have struggled with my own body image for years. Most women, I find, are fighting this same battle. They want that body that their best friend has, they want back that body they had before children, before 30, before… We are told by society that no-one will like you for who you really are unless you look like the model on Vogue; buy the spanks, diet again, no… now surgery, it’s never-ending.
Now, after poling for the many years that I have, I’ve discovered that I really like myself. Is my belly as flat as when I was in school? No, but I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. Knowing that I can hold my own body weight up off the ground, that I can do more than 1 pull-up, and that I can climb a pole several times a day, allows me to hold my head a little higher and carry myself with more confidence than I ever have before.
Exotic or Sport: We are fortunate to have had the Olympic committee give the sport of Pole Observation status; making it officially a sport. We as polers have a choice to dance lyrically, to dance exotically or to pole athletically. There is something different about bringing the exotic to the dance floor. Does it bring more or less empowerment?
In my experience, I believe that it can bring more. Once you get in touch with your sexuality and can be comfortable with it and yourself, you can feel even more empowered. You are in complete control of it, yourself and who you choose to express it to.
Less judgemental: There are so many different personalities that come to pole. We are all just there for the same thing really, obviously to pole, but aren’t we looking for acceptance and inclusion? Our studio is co-ed, young and old alike, all poling, all supporting and encouraging each other. While our beliefs may all be different, we don’t carry that out into the studio. I’m beginning to notice that it transfers into everyday life as well. These days, wouldn’t a little less judgement be nice?
Strong friendships and ties are built: There’s just something about the friendships you make at the studio; nothing really compares. You’ve encouraged, supported, made suggestions and have helped each other when discouragement appears. Those ties begin to build and you want to attend the same classes and you look forward to seeing each other in class. Those friendships often extend past the studio walls because of it. In our studio, it’s called a pole family but personally I like to recognize these friendships as a tribe. A tribe of beautiful, amazing men and women who lift each other up and will gladly carry you on those days that you need to be carried and will celebrate along side of you with each and every victory. How lucky are we to be Polers?