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Op-Ed: 'Little Spinners' class teaches kids to pole dance

Some feel pole dancing is a wonderful way to get aerobic exercise. Others think of its traditional sexual connotations. But what do you think about a dance and fitness studio that offers pole dancing basics for kids as young as five?

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?

3 comments

#1
Kenan BartaN   Sep 7, 2012
Idiotic. Offer this to adults fine and then it becomes the choice of a responsible adult. To offer this as a class for kids is wrong.
Why not let them also have a lingerie football league too then right?
Same concept.
WRONG especially for any Mom or Dad to think "What great exercise this is for my kids"... It's not needed, get your kids playing soccer or hockey or ringette or field hockey or volleyball or basketball or even go for a family jog, bike ride, hike or swim... This list can go on forever...
Since when did we run out of sports options for kids to get exercise doing that learning to be a stripper is now a GOOD selection for exercise for your kids?
#2
Susan Keeping   Sep 8, 2012
Pole dancing has become much more than a strippers act. There are professional sports competitions for pole dancers for women and men, it's become more of an acrobatic skill than one strippers use.
#3
Sherene Chen-See   Sep 8, 2012
@Susan Keeping
Pole dancing has become much more than a strippers act. There are professional sports competitions for pole dancers for women and men, it's become more of an acrobatic skill than one strippers use.
Susan, be that as it may, the article is about offering pole dancing to children, not women and men. Also, while we may like to think pole dancing is a sport now, the fact is, many men still go to see pole dancing at strip clubs and the sexual connotation is by no means gone. Do we want to put that onto our little girls?