Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stripping For Jesus

Old Town Spring has a health club that is offering a fitness class called "Pole Fitness For Jesus" in which women exercise by dancing on poles to upbeat contemporary Christian music.

I heard about this on the radio last week and didn't really think much of it, but one of my Facebook friends commented on it, so I kind of got curious as to what the story was as far as why the fitness class needed to reference Jesus.

I did some Googling and found some interviews with the founder, and now I'm just angry. Not because I think it's wrong to "pole dance" during a workout but because of the way that it is presented. It's like this woman thinks she's better than actual pole dancers or better than women who like to take pole dance fitness classes, but aren't doing it for Jesus.

The founder said her goal is to teach fellow female churchgoers how to get fit, work their legs and core and to make a connection with God. Hmm... one of these things is not like the other!

"We do the upbeat contemporary Christian music because people have to bring their church program to get into the class, so we basically are just continuing the whole worship thing here," she said.

Again, there's nothing inherently wrong with pole dancing for fitness. But to say you're doing it to "worship God" just strikes me the wrong way. On top of that, she's only letting "churchgoers" into the class (must bring a church program!!) because heathens aren't allowed to don those clear plastic stripper heels and suggestively swing their hips around the pole... at least not while listening to music About Jesus.

If people didn't take Christian music seriously before.. no one is going to now!! At least not if this "Strip for Jesus" thing spreads (no pun intended!!)

The more I think about it, this whole thing is just stupid! Forget "wrong" or "unholy" or "sacrilegious" - It's just plain stupid. There's a million different kinds of exercise that incorporate dancing, even Sexy Dancing. Why, do you need to "pole dance?" And, in stripper heels no less. The Fox video linked above actually quoted a woman saying those giant gaudy heels are "good for legs and glutes." Yep, it's good to work out in stripper heels! Actually, it's NOT

Don't get me wrong... I'm 5'1" so I love me some heels. Generally though, orthopedists will say because of the lack of cushion, it's not good to wear high heels for an extended period of time just doing normal activities like walking, and that you shouldn't wear them while dancing. One would assume this would also apply to dancing on a pole. I seriously can't believe they quoted that woman and made no attempt to correct it, or clarify or even say "well actually, some people don't think that's true." But what do I know... maybe I should show up to the Dallas Half Marathon this weekend in stripper heels. RUNNING FOR JESUS!!

I don't know... if that's what makes you get the energy to work out and feel good about yourself, fine. Just don't pretend like you're better than other people because the word "Jesus" is in it. And dammit, be careful in those heels!!


  1. I'm not sure if it's because you were worked up while writing this or if it's because I'm missing something... but I guess I'm having a little trouble figuring out why exactly you're upset with this class. I might need a one or two sentence summary, haha. Is it the incorporation of God, the use of heels, associating God with a seductive activity...? And I'm not sure how this lady thinks Christian pole dancers are better than non-Christian pole dancers because I haven't seen or heard an interview with her, although I do think it's sad that she won't let someone in who doesn't have a church program.

    In your fourth paragraph, are you saying that making a connection with God does not belong with working out in general or with pole dancing? Personally, I don't know that it's wrong or unusual to incorporate one's spirituality with either (maybe more unusual with pole dancing, but not impossible). A runner could thank God for their surroundings or for a body that is able to run; a pole dancer could thank God for the ability to move in such a way and perhaps the opportunity to grow less self-conscious about her body. Even a person who does not believe in "God" could appreciate the spiritual aspect of exercise and nature. Or a person who has no spiritual beliefs at all could see it as simply exercise.

    Perhaps this sounds weird, but maybe pole dancing doesn't always have to be sexual. Ballet dancers use a pole that runs horizontally rather than vertically and no one gets up in arms about the sexuality of what they do (at least not many people, I'd assume). So perhaps a vertical pole could be used in a way to get a work out without being "slutty" or "trashy," particularly if the music and the way it is presented is not sexual. Sure, the use of high heels might not help keep the sexuality to a minimum, but I'm not necessarily discussing this lady's class in particular, but the idea, and the idea could be tweaked to contain sneakers or bare feet or dance shoes.

    Maybe this is not where you were going with the whole discussion, but that's where my thoughts ended up after reading your post. Some clarification could always help me. :)

  2. You're right, I probably was worked up when writing it, hence the lack of clarification. I think it was the quotes regarding bringing a church program to gain entry to the class along with the "we are just continuing the worship experience" quote. I understand & agree that there's multiple ways of worshiping, but I'm calling bullshit on the pole dance classes. Maybe it's not sexual insomuch that yeah, they're not taking off clothes for money but pole dancing is generally associated with strip clubs, which is associated with women taking clothes off for money. It's not that I think strip clubs should be illegal, but I personally have an issue with viewing sexuality as a commodity.

    I simply think women take these classes to feel "sexy." It's not wanting to feel sexy I have an issue with... it's that women have to play "pretend stripper" in order to do so. It's like women have to play into the whole sex as a commodity thing in order to be sexy, cool, valued, whatever. Maybe that doesn't make sense at all...but those are my thoughts. And then when you throw in the religious aspect it's even more annoying to me because I think women who are religious that are doing this are using the "spiritual" aspect as trump card to disregard the fact that they want to pole dance to feel sexy.

    Also, I might've jumped the gun a bit with my post because I did finally find the studio's website, and it turns out she teaches classes without Christian music too... but it still is weird to me that she has a separate class for "churchgoers." Why can't everyone just go to the normal class? Why is one "spiritual" and one not? It's just different music.

    Ok - def not a 1 to 2 sentence summary, sorry. One more thing about the shoes.. I personally don't care what shoes people wear, but it annoys me when people say "but it's just a normal workout!!" when referring to these classes. Ok - then wear normal workout shoes!! :)