The Twisted Grip Dance and Fitness Studio in British Columbia is offering weekend pole aerobics classes this fall aimed at children called "Little Spinners." Lessons are offered down to age five, says The National Post
. Other studios are joining in the trend.
Twisted Grip studio owner and certified fitness instructor Kristy Craig says she is simply catering to her adult clients’ demands. Apparently some of her clients have daughters that play on the poles at home; they wanted their daughters to learn how to do the moves safely.
Ryan Gosling once said in the movie Crazy Stupid Love
that "We won [the war between the sexes] the second women started doing pole dancing for exercise." Regardless what we think of that statement, one thing is true: pole dancing still holds a sexual stigma. Do we really want to draw our young girls into this activity when their thoughts about body image and sexuality have not even formed yet?
Now just imagine an 11-year-old girl who takes pole dancing lessons. She tells her friends at school. Gossip goes around. Regardless of how much exercise benefit there is, people, and preteens especially, will judge. Depending on her popularity level, it could be seen at school as a 'cool thing.' Or it could make her the victim of sexual bullying and ostracization from her peers.
And what about the effect of this activity on a girl's body image and self esteem? With all the other more empowering sports available, does she really need to do pole dancing? Will she start judging herself and wonder if she is 'sexy enough' to do the sport? Girls have enough self image issues to deal with as it is.
I think this is just one more example of the sexualization of young girls by businesses and the media. Moms eager to get their girls into an activity they can enjoy together may not realize the risks.
As the AboutKidsHealth
website from Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children puts it:
Clothing stores sell thongs for seven- to ten-year-olds, some with slogans like "wink, wink" or "eye candy." In child beauty pageants, girls as young as five wear fake teeth, make-up, and hair extensions, and are encouraged to flirt with the audience by batting their false-eyelash-laden eyes. Magazines, television, and the Internet abound with images portraying girls... as sexualized objects. There is growing evidence that this sex-saturated culture harms healthy psychological development among both boys and girls.
I have no problem with pole dancing but I think it should be done by women and not impressionable young girls who don't understand the sexual background and connotations of the sport. What's your opinion?