This past weekend, my roommate asked me to accompany her to a group pole dancing class for her birthday. I was immediately on board, but a little bit nervous. I had never done anything like it before. I was also concerned about what people would think, given the negative preconceived notions surrounding pole dancing. Nevertheless, I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and took the class. I’ve since learned that pole dancing is much more than what people may think it is.
My friends and I immediately felt comfortable in the presence of our energetic and kind instructor. She radiated confidence and created a safe space for us, putting us at ease and ready to learn for the next hour and a half.
The class itself was so much fun and the music was so great that I didn’t even notice the exertion on my body. It was incredibly challenging and required much more muscle than I had anticipated. Though it didn’t even feel like I was working out, my muscles felt like jelly after it was all over. It was a steep learning curve and we struggled to get the moves, but by the end of the class, we were able to put together a whole routine with the instructor.
After the class, I felt like a different person. We all did. The class was incredibly empowering, forcing us to embrace our beauty, body and worth. Feeling sexy was no longer a taboo that we had to be ashamed of; the instructor taught us to own ourselves in the most uplifting and powerful way.
A lot of women, especially young girls, grow up being ashamed of their bodies because of the dominant narrative that tells us to be hyper-vigilant about what we wear and “how much skin we’re showing”. It’s common to hear cutting remarks such as “Don’t wear leggings, you’ll distract the boys,” or “you were asking for it by choosing to wear that.” Women and girls have internalized that they’re the problem, not the disgusting people who objectify and sexualize them. This class negated these feelings. It made us feel sexy, powerful and beautiful simply because we had fully given into our own beauty. We didn’t think about how we looked, we just danced and expressed ourselves in a way that was natural and raw.
We went home with newfound confidence. The day ended perfectly and convinced all of us that we’ve to sign up for more classes so we don’t forget the feelings we experienced during the class. In the meantime, I’m learning to embrace myself wholeheartedly, and feel confident in my body.