I am a mom of a precocious 4 year old. She is my most favorite person in the whole wide world to hang out with and she is the one person who can drive me to the brink of insanity faster than anyone else on the planet.
I own a pole and aerial studio. My students are commonly found in Pleaser 8 inch heels and skimpy clothing. I bring my daughter to the studio all the time. She loves it there. There are cool shoes to try on, sparkling outfits to dress up in, enough crafting supplies to make a kindergarten class happy, and an iPad with her favorite shows programs to watch. And, people who dance!
By far her favorite part is watching students in class. Her nose can often be seen peeking over the peek-a-boo window from our reception area into the pole room.
Now the big question. Do I feel concerned about my daughter being exposed to inappropriate behaviors at the studio? Unequivocally, no. While I don’t have her watch some of our more steamy, provocative performances and try to curtail some conversations in the reception area for innocent ears, at the end of the day all she sees is someone in a cool costume with awesome shoes go out and do dance and gymnastics. I envy that simplicity of how she views pole dance. It isn’t battered with cultural condemnation and judgement. Having her at the studio opens up so many awesome conversations. Why do boys pole dance? Because they want to be strong and awesome too! Why do boys wear heels? To wear amazing, gorgeous shoes of course! Why is that girl jumping up and down laughing? Because she just practiced really hard and has finally learned a new move and is proud of all her hard work.
She has been witnessed to students lifting each other up, encouraging each other, crying with each other, and celebrating each other’s successes in such a positive way. She’s witnessing that women do not have to tear each other down or compete. She is learning that a person isn’t defined by their gender. She is witnessing strength isn’t limited to a certain jean size. She is learning that people from all walks of life can come together with a common interest that tears down the walls that society has put up.
I also hope that I’m instilling a healthy sense of respect of her body. That her body is hers. To dance how she wants, dress how she wants, tattoo and pierce as she wants as long as those decisions are for her and her alone. Culturally, women have been taught that the body is something to be ashamed of and to be hidden. While in my muggle environment, I’m a fairly modest person, I also have been known to leave the studio in my pole shorts without thinking twice. I don’t want my daughter growing ashamed of her body. I hope that she is witnessing the positive effects that pole and aerial can have on one’s body perception. I hope she will take all these lessons with her as she grows up. I hope.
Photo by Whipporwill Photography