I was getting my daily Jezebel fix when I ran across an article about a British pole-dancing studio that came under fire for offering classes to kids. Despite the classes being more akin to gymnastics than readying young girls for the club, some in Britain are “outraged” that parents have signed their daughters up for the classes.
Aside from the thought of little girls swinging from the pole, another sticking point seems to be that the dance studio, JLN Pole Fitness, posts pictures of some of its students on Facebook.
The Daily Mail (a notoriously questionable British tabloid) reports “that parents and local authorities are distressed over the photos posted by JLN Pole Fitness.” However, as Jezebel points out, that of the hundrends of pictures on the dance studio’s Facebook page, the overwhelming majority are of high school aged girls and grown women.
Some parents have embraced the classes as just another form of exercise, like gymnastics, for their daughters. One mother, who had her seven-year-old’s birthday at the studio said:
I do not have a problem with it at all. It is nothing to do with lap dancing, it is gymnastics. It is not in the slightest bit sexual.
I have put pictures of her on Facebook because she wants people to see what she can do. We wear short shorts and vest tops so we can grip the pole and they are not performing in front of anyone.
If she was doing gymnastics in a leotard or at a swimming gala in a costume, anyone could be watching and people don’t complain about that.
While another, who’s presumably never been to one of the kid’s classes, complained:
This concerns me greatly as I would not want my 13-year-old wandering round in hotpants and hanging upside down.
‘They advertise as being aerobics/gymnastics with a pole but if you see the pictures, you will see this is not the case. These pictures are also being posted across Facebook and this just invites child grooming.
While I understand the need to protect children against pedophiles and being viewed as sexual objects, if people deem pole dancing too grown-up for kids because of the outfits they wear, then the same logic could be applied to other sports where girls wear body-skimming clothing (hello gymnastics and ice skating). Or, we can just stop obsessing and sexualizing our youth by trying to read something into every little thing they do. I’m just saying.