Apparently an actual fitness studio in British Columbia—known as Tantra Fitness—allows children to take pole dancing lessons as a form of physical fitness. According to the owner, Tammy Morris, the kids “love the pole,” and it’s “hard to get them off it because they’re such naturals.” She allows girls ages nine and up to take the courses—and even gives kids as young five their own private lessons. I don’t think it takes a great amount of thought to realize how messed up this is.
As a parent, I know I’d never let my daughter take such a course—but even before I had a child, I would’ve known better. Morris claims that the classes aren’t sexual, but in a place called Tantra Fitness, is that even possible? Her other courses, by the way, are called Sexy Flexy, Promiscuous Girls, TNA, Bellylicious, and Pussycat Dawls. With language like that flying around the studio, how the hell could it be a family-friendly environment?
And I don’t consider this an American prudish knee-jerk reaction. I’m fine with nudity in films; in fact, we have pieces of tasteful nude art in our home. I know it’s natural to masturbate, to be curious about sex, to ask questions about gender, and so on. We also don’t hide our hand-holding, kissing, or snuggling from our daughter like some parents do. I actually know people who’ve never seen their parents kiss, which is weird to me since mine always did. These are healthy expressions of love and sexuality, which, to many people, go hand in hand.
Pole dancing, on the other hand, is not. It’s a sexualized activity for adults, made mostly for men to take pleasure from watching women. Though women have recently reclaimed the tool as an exercise device—and more power to them if they choose to do so—that hardly makes it something to allow nine-year-olds to “play” on.
Children are becoming increasingly sexualized by the media, clothing providers, and now, their very own hormones. Do you really want to rush them into adulthood even further by making their exercise exist in the form of a pole dancing lesson? And not even adulthood, but, to many, an exploitive industry that demeans women and often results in violence and misogyny?
Though the owner of this studio—as well as the instructors and everyone else involved in providing these classes—are obviously off their rockers (as are other people providing these courses in other studios), so are the parents who are foolish enough to enroll their children into these classes. What ever happened to good old karate or Spanish lessons?