Mar 06 2009

Pole dancer goes for the gold

Today’s reader submission comes from blamer eb, who hips me to a petition on Facebook — currently endorsed by nearly 75,000 tools of the patriarchy — to “get pole dancing in 2012 Olympics.”

The originator of the petition, Collette Kakuk, who appears to be affiliated with a California pole dancing studio, invites Facebookians to join her in “shattering old paradigms” by lobbying to have pole dancing recognized as a “legitimate athletic sport.” Helpfully, Collette includes a definition of paradigm, so that the pole dancing enthusiasts will know what they’re shattering. She also provides a photograph of a woman in underwear and 5″ heels, fetchingly inverted on a pole, so the paradigm shatterers will know what pole dancing is. Or, as Kakuk prefers to call it, “vertical ballet.”

Objectively, competitive flailing on a vertical pole makes as much sense as competitive flailing on a horizontal one. Of course, when the uniform includes lingerie and porn shoes, I can’t imagine what paradigm Kakuk proposes to shatter. Does she labor under the misapprehension that the Olympic Committee eschews viewer titillation? Has she omitted to consider the prepubescent gymnasts in their sparkly makeup, the sweaty track & fielders in their hot pants, the ice skaters in their little-girl tutus, the beach volleyballists in their bikinis, the swimming hotties who pose for lad magazines?

The Olympic future couldn’t look rosier for vertical ballet.

Comments should be working again, sort of, but in case they aren’t, blame here.


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  1. Pantsuit Sally

    Is this to be a new men’s sport? Because that’s the only way I can see it shattering any sort of paradigm.

  2. Pinko Punko


  3. humanbein

    The reduction of everything uplifting and noble in the human spirit to adolescent titillation continues as expected. Things are going to have to get worse before they get better, I’m afraid. Just blaming to see if one may blame again, actually.

  4. Pinko Punko

    I’ll humbly repeat myself- I know it isn’t as good as “knobjectivism” but “sexbotulism” seems like it could work for “women hate you.”

  5. Comrade PhysioProf

    Thank fucking god my little green monster is back!

  6. Hattie

    Oh, pole-dancing men! Upside down! With little jock straps! Hmm. No, that would be too degrading!

  7. zooeyibz

    Aren’t Olympic athletes supposed to be amateurs? Would that not disqualify all actual pole-dancers from competition? Would women then be empowerfuled to choose between stripping to pay the bills and stripping for Olympic glory?

  8. eb

    Of course, male pole dancers must meet certain style requirements. The pinnacle of John Waynian masculinity must be upheld whilst one ballets vertically. One must be graceful, yet powerful but not faggoty. Any sign of fagotty results in banishment from the sport for life. There will be no prancing about.

    Also, all male pole dancers must meet a certain ‘size’ requirement. However, just to make sure the highest Olympic standards are adhered to, a panel of judges will make sure no one is stuffin’ ‘it’ before the actual event.

  9. Rachel

    Also, all male pole dancers must meet a certain ’size’ requirement. However, just to make sure the highest Olympic standards are adhered to, a panel of judges will make sure no one is stuffin’ ‘it’ before the actual event.

    Don’t forget that these judges should be mainly or wholly women, because only women would be able to maintain the necessary objectivity in relation to men’s bodies. When it comes to penis size, men get so emotional, you know? XD

  10. notmandy

    Don’t forget the lycra onesies many of the women’s basketball teams wear vs the oversized/baggy getups of the men’s teams!

  11. Notorious Ph.D.

    You know, I can appreciate the combination of athleticism and grace that could be brought to this activity — in many ways like other gymnastic events.

    In many ways except one: It was developed within a specific context of objectification of women. And the “equipment” is specifically supposed to represent a big ol’ penis.

    So in a way, I’m sad that a gymnastic form practiced by women can’t be separated from its patriarchal context in order to appreciate the actual work that goes into it. Because hate the nekkid lady-industrial complex as much as I do… well, actually this makes me hate it all the more, because, as Twisty says above, “competitive flailing on a vertical pole makes as much sense as competitive flailing on a horizontal one.”

    So have at me, blametariat: does this edge me into Tool of the Patriarchy territory?

  12. Pinko Punko

    Performance enhancing zucchini will be banned.

  13. thebewilderness

    I like that term very much, Pinko.
    Sexbotulism sounds just like the disease we are exposed to every day of our lives until it either takes over our body and mind or we die of it.

  14. Shabnam

    Pole dancing for men existed in London circa 2005, apparently Jude Law had had soem private lessons which led to an increase in demand:


    Funny how men are not pictured or described performing in high heels or anything remotely resembling lingerie. As with any sport, they get to wear a tracksuit and trainers.

  15. Shabnam

    If they introduce male pole-dancing in the Olympics with costumes akin to the following:


    then I agree with Pantsuit Sally that a paradigm of some sort will have been shattered. But the male pictured above, appears to be some sort of professional ‘submissive’. The paradigm of mainstream masculinity may only incorporate dominance, however, so all those pole-dancing men in London should probably stick to their day-jobs rather than train for Gold.

  16. Lovepug

    Pole dancing. How edgy. I can hardly walk for the paradigm shards.


  17. larkspur

    Any sport or athletic activity that requires one to maintain a certain facial expression – whether it’s a smile or a sultry pout – is stupid and sucks and will not be watched by moi.

    Also? I am frakkin sick and tired of stupid damn paradigms. They should just give me twenty cents and leave me the hell alone.

  18. Hattie

    Lovepug. Yes. That is so boring.

  19. norbizness

    I began to despair until I realize that her petition is a mere 74,995 votes ahead of mine to get Men Without Hats inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

  20. birkwearingblamer

    I got nothing. I’m justposting to check out my new registration.


    Does it seem to anyone else that every fucking generation, the same exact lessons (apparently) must be learned over again, because the young folks (in general) just plain don’t believe us old ladies?

    The cultural brainwashing is so complete, that young girls seem to try with all their MIGHT to be objectified, or better at being SEX-AY, or sumpthin’, because, the reason the elder ladies are bitter is cause “we must have been doing it wrong” or something.

    Then, every generation of women grows more radical as they age, as they realize they are indeed being oppressed and it is not avoidable by exceptionalism.

    I practically expect the next generation to volunteer to go into Purdah, or cede their voting rights, or something. Because ripping out their pubic hair and learning to pole-dance for the entertainment of the mens is already blowing my 46 year old mind.

  22. Jonathan

    You know, Save Stargate Atlantis 2008 already has half as many signatures as pole dancing Olympics. (In comparison, Hamster on a Piano has 5,000,000 views on YouTube. The YouTube Scale of Irrelevancy places Olympic pole dancing thankfully low on the totem pole.

  23. Notorious Ph.D.

    Crap. Now I realize what sent my above comment into moderation purgatory for so long. It was the gratuitous use of elipses. My apologies, Twisty. I ought to know better by now.

  24. Nolabelfits

    How did that post “My Unusual Afternoon” from 2005 end up in the latest blamer invective? I do appreciate its appearance as I have not read that post before now. Nothing to do with pole dancin’ but I’m curious nonetheless.

  25. Hedgepig

    Nolabelfits, I believe when someone comments on an old post it pops up into the latest blamer invective column.

    I’m envious of your avatar: it has the power of flight. Mine looks like it’s trying to take a dump.

  26. mir

    I say let it go Olympic. Let it become an actual sport wherein highly trained athletes compete against their peers. Let hard-bodied women who don’t give a shit about whether they look sexxay or more fuckable or whatever display their gymnasticity and strength all up in there on international television. When as it becomes a competition of physicality and skill (by muscled women! with bizarrely unenhanced breastss!) rather than a creepy submissive gyratathon to be poked with dollar bills by drunken cretins the slut-ogling oomph will go right out of ‘traditional’ pole dancing.

    One could hope, anyway.

  27. Ami

    If only females were socialized from a very young age to train in the martial arts. That would be paradigm shattering.

  28. Tomecat

    Glad to see the sites back in working order, but mostly wanted to acquire one of those monster avatars.

  29. Tomecat

    And extremely pleased with it I am! I have either antennae or wiry hairs sticking out of my head, as well as a tail, and I bear an uncanny resemblance to a xtian holiday tree. Like the new digs, Twisty.

    Back on topic, it probably wouldn’t be too horrible of an idea except that you just know that the “pole suits” are bound to have maximum material limits like the beach volleyball uniforms (but only for the womenz, of course).

  30. gare

    I see the P’s long entrenched pole schizo finally resolving! From firefighter elevators (down only) to slippery sleezeys, poles have been perverted – nobody even salutes those tapered flagpoles anymore.. A friend of G’s just ordered for $300 a home pole, not unlike that pole lamp ma had in our 60s basement Rec Room.. and she’s enrolled in a coed pole dance class! Reclaim the pole from its P-drenched nationwavings .. its descent carrying slippery slope I say! Size requirements for males may backfire however – when pole meets pole, could be trouble mon!

  31. Sara

    Don’t ask me why, but I’d somehow thought of pole dancing as a distinctly American sport. How narrow-minded of me. In fact, it would appear that most nations even already have “Miss Pole Dance [Nation]” competitions. Russia, Europe, Germany, Spain, UK, and Australia all have their own, and that’s just the results of some quick poking around on the web. But lest you worry, this is *serious* sport. Let’s take a few exerpts from the Pole Dance Federation Russia website.

    “Sport Federation of Pole Dance in Russia goes over all stereotypes and develops pole dance as a definite kind of sport that is a combination of dance art and sport skills. For the best description of pole dance specific characteristics the Federation worked out the official rules and terms of pole dance.”
    See? There are rules and terms; it must be okay!

    “The young people who are studying pole dance skills find it a wonderful hobby, a serious occupation that makes them to develop there own style, character and figure.”
    There you go. How could anything which builds style, character, and figure be bad? It’s a wonderful hobby, like stamp collecting or bird watching.

  32. yttik

    Bah, pole dancing has come to my neighborhood. We put up a protest for what it was worth. What was interesting was seeing some feminists on the same side of the issue as the religious right, different motivations perhaps, but the same goal. What do you call that, strange bedfellows? Ick. We eventually let it go. What are you going to do, oppress a woman owned business and all these young girls who swear they just want to do this to get in shape? We’re going to reclaim stripping and empower ourselves! Uhm hmm, y’all should listen to the wisdom of your mothers. We been there and done that.

  33. Comrade PhysioProf

    I’m envious of your avatar: it has the power of flight. Mine looks like it’s trying to take a dump.

    It looks like a sumo wrestler to me.

  34. not a dudetiful wife

    paradigm shards…. that’s funny. So is the comment about amateur status.

  35. Nolabelfits

    I truly need to regain that power of flight, so my avatar is strangely fitting. Its cheering me up immensely right now. Thanks, Hedgepig, for pointing that out.

  36. Chiroptera

    I did find one example of Pole Gymnastics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OJTUDOHFaU

  37. liberality

    I know this is off topic but when I heard this on the BBC it just made me sick. I also saw a post about it here:


    Hope this doesn’t break any rules Twisty. I love ya, like, really, seriously. I learn so much from your blog.

  38. Lovepug

    Sheesh, why didn’t the Church just have the little girl burned at the stake as a witch for the hat trick?

    Not to diminish the seriousness of the above link, but will the Blametariat please allow a monster in a red bra the indulgence of sharing a pole dancing related Onion piece?


  39. another voice

    KMTBerry you speak truth. It’s especially frustrating when you actually work with (or in proximity to) young women, and they just think you’re bitter for getting old. Of course, that is also true, but I wouldn’t have to be bitter about being old if the P didn’t measure my worth on glowing skin or non-sagging boobs or whatever. I want them to avoid ruining their lives trying to live in the hell the P provides them, but one cannot convince them of the limits. All they see are the possibilities: If I snag a rich man, if I use my looks to get a job, if I please my captors, then it will all be ok. Sigh.

  40. Fireflew

    I’m only 39 and I’m ‘old’ enough to remember when stripper-chic didn’t exist or would have been thought a risible concept by most. Can someone pinpoint the precise moment when pole-dancing, stripping and ‘burlesque’ suddenly became perceived as glamorous and aspiration?

  41. Fireflew

    ^That should read ‘glamorous and aspirational’. Ahem.

  42. Princess Rot

    I’m 21, KMTBERRY, and find flailing around upside-down to be wholly ridiculous to the point that I have never, ever, found it titillating or even considered it a form of dance. It just looks stupid, no matter whose doing it. Not that I’m having much luck convincing my peers of that. I was taken to a nightclub by some friends, and the club had a pole that female patrons could use. My immediate reaction, even before the radfem analysis kicked in, was “But… why? Are you training to be a fire fighter?”

    Any tips on how to convince other twenty-somethings that sliding up and down a metallic phallus is neither empowerfulating or shattering any paradigms?

  43. Donna

    @Another voice.

    And the rich man leaves them for yet another deluded young woman, this woman like the woman before her upholding the cycle of male privilege!

    What it leaves is a bitter mass of older women struck down by the patriarchy, clinging onto dead marriages with dear life.

    Why is it so hard for young women objectifiying themselves to look past their noses, into the life P holds for their little selves when their pimples start to disappear?

    I actually got told by one guy I should sleep with him, despite his being married as I won’t have the chance to be the younger smug bit on the side when I’m older. I guess this is how the patriarchy spins it, “it’s a bad life but take what you can while you can, there’ll be room to moan about it later”. I refuse to believe young women don’t realise the transience of their ‘power’. So maybe that’s why they pole dance – miserably gaining the attention of sluggish old perverts, too scared to question what they’re not missing out on with the little time they have to be patriarchy’s favourite younger woman.

  44. Oaktown Girl

    Nolabelfits – your avitar is really cute. On this computer I’m using, it looks like a Flying Tomato-Rabbit.

    I don’t think it’s so much that young women don’t believe what older women are telling them. I think it’s much more a matter of scope and scale. If 95% of the survival messages young women receive regarding how to be a “success” as a woman are partriarchy-enforcing, and only 5% are anti-patriarchal, how many young women can we really expect to view the 5% camp as not only smart, but viable as well?

    *My guess is that actual percentages of patriarchy-enforcing messages vs. anti-patriarchal messages most young women in the U.S receive is much closer to 99%-1%.

  45. caitlinate

    Thanks KMTBERRY for your angry generalisations about ‘younger generations’! Those working hard down here in the apparently pubic-hair-free-cunt pit of ignorance and willing co-option into the patriarchy sure appreciate it! You’re right, the baby boomers did everything right and all of us foolish youth are screwing it all up. Oh wait, sorry. For a minute there I thought this was I Blame The Victim not I Blame The Patriarchy.

    That said you can put me in my box when I say that why not include ‘vertical ballet’ in the Olympics? I may respect female atheletes but the P certainly doesn’t. What is there about this type of high level physical competition that isn’t a trademark of the patriarchy? Dismissal of female athletes as second class to male ones through segregation of events, disproportionate rewarding of sponsorship, the encouragement of women to disfigure their bodies (through use of steroids, over training and injury) and men only watching women’s sport thanks to the skimpy outfits (beach volleyball being one Twisty missed). ‘Vertical ballet’ dancers have the outfit down pat and jumping around on one of those pole looks fairly taxing. Collette Kakuk may not have intended it that way but I’m going to look at the group as a effort to satirise the attitudes the patriarchy has towards women’s involvement in sport in general.

    And if we’re going to get rid of art I say we get rid of competitive sport too.

    Anyway, if we’re going to talk about Facebook I’d like to mention the 500+ groups titled ‘I Hate Women’ or some variation thereof. All together they have literally thousands of members. It only underlines what I already know but nonetheless it’s terrifying.

  46. Donna

    Caitlinate, I’m 19 and can really see where these blamers are coming from with younger women. There are young women’s groups out there – I’ve been to conferences in the UK full of young women ‘doing something’ about the patriarchy. Taking active stances at university level (I’m women’s officer at my uni), just like the older professional feminists out there.

    Anyway before we get outraged and indignant, I’d just like to point out how similar to some male posters you sound. As a young woman, you speak through a privilege filter, something I’ve noticed in the way a lot of younger feminists handle older peers. A kind of pitiful, dismissive tone. Granted young women’s privilege is fleeting – but young women and feminists apparently don’t consider it so.

    The patriarchy by the way hates women indiscriminately. P waits for us to age, just like it laughs at those already past their value.

  47. Hedgepig

    Even if younger women listened to older women, most older women aren’t feminist either. Having devoted their entire lives to getting by under Patriarchy, a lot of them don’t want their daughters to revolt. They want them to get married and give them grandchildren so their own lives appear meaningful in some way. Sadly, my guess is Oaktown Girl’s 99% pro-Patriarchal messages to 1% anti-P messages is overestimating the anti.

  48. thebewilderness

    “What was interesting was seeing some feminists on the same side of the issue as the religious right, different motivations perhaps, but the same goal.”

    This is a common misconception among humans.
    In reality Feminists are in opposition to both the pornsick weasel lefty doodz and the religious right doodz. They are having a dispute over precisely how the boot should be applied to women’s necks.
    Feminists have taken the position that we would prefer not to have any boot at all on the necks of women.
    I would call that a radical difference in goal.

  49. thebewilderness

    “And if we’re going to get rid of art I say we get rid of competitive sport too.”

    I’m good with that.
    How kewel would it be to do stuff because you wanted to and enjoyed it instead of as a tool to promote the interests of the megatheocorporatocracy.

  50. caitlinate

    @Donna. You’re right. I do speak through a privilege filter and I was ruder and more indignant than I reasonably should be. Reflecting on it I let the idea that older women experience a level of privilege in terms of knowledge or status hierarchy override the fact that – under patriarchy – their voices are often rendered even more silent than those of younger women. I like to think I try really hard to respect the experiences and voices of older women and feminists. Clearly I’m not trying hard enough. I wrongly chose to lash out and get frustrated with what I perceived as the feminist activism women my age engage in being disqualified by comments about ‘my generation’. I guess my issue is that I think those sorts of comments, when involving generalisations, turn into the undermining and deriding of women and feminists rather than laying the blame solely at the feet of the patriarchy. I should be more aware that any attacks I respond with do the exact same thing and worse. Not only did I do exactly what KMTBERRY was despairing over I disenfranchised her voice too.

    Thank you for calling me out and sincere apologies to KMTBERRY – and others – for silencing her and being totally out of line.

  51. niki

    I’m happy when I come here and see women 25 and under saying ‘F all this merde about stripping and female seXayness being empowerfullizing’. I see it so rarely in Real Life, here in liberal pole-dancin’ classes California.

    I’m 33, which makes me old in the eyes of some and a youth in the eyes of other, and I believe that it is during my generation’s 20’s that all of this yay porn! attitude came to be mainstreamed. I got to watch, horrified, as the dance clubs I knew and loved all adopted go-go dancers and burlesque into their interior decor. I watched all of my friends start acting like lesbians (but only in the company of men) and shaving their crotches and inviting sleazy photographers to take nude shots of them for the internet.

    And heck, this was a goth club. The whole scene went from overclad pasty candle-burning poetry writing nerdy vampire types to amateur porn stars in a matter of a few years.

  52. Nolabelfits

    Gawd. Why don’t we just cut to the chase and make marathon fucking an olympic sport?

  53. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    I actually clicked on that male pole dancer link. Wow. I just fast forwarded the S&M drama and the “Hi! Here’s my crotch!” display (boring) and saw some amazing moves requiring considerable strength/flexibility.

    Then I wondered if it would be possible to strip (sorry) the sexual connotations (costumes, gestures) from pole dancing to make it a “real” sport. I posit that in a post-patriarchal world we could. We’re just not in one, so forget it.

  54. Twisty

    “(beach volleyball being one Twisty missed).”

    What tha? Do you people even read my posts?!1!?

  55. thebewilderness

    You don’t miss a thing, and we know it.
    Sometimes we just like to pretend that you did.

  56. not a dudetiful wife

    The message to the empowerful sex-say youngun’s is that they can be wicked and powerful if they engage in competitive pole raising.

    When they hear people complain, many just hear that there will be less competition. Yea! and Woooo! I’m so on the edge and unique in my willingness to give head and pole dance. I’m so popular….

    But instead of being against porn and pole dancing what if they were told that men should be competing for THEM? Not the prudish religious can I have your daughter in marriage crap. Or I have cash. But…. men who are interested in giving THEM pleasure. Letting them enjoy the sex. Giving them head.

    How is pole dancing and becoming a professional drag queen helping each woman attain the best orgasm or discover all their cravings and sexual fantasies – because fantasies for women seem to be off the table. Sexual fantasies are all about lingerie, men’s porn, and if you talk about oral sex, it’s always about the man. It’s assumed that women don’t have a real sex drive, really. Or, if they are “cool” they like men’s porn, like faux lesbianism, and sexuality is wearing lucite shoes and shaving yourself within an inch of your life. What is women’s sexuality? So few know. But I can tell you…it’s not performance. It’s on the inside. It’s individual. It’s also…demanding and asking and taking too….

    Yes, the youngun’s who are performance artists are sooooo empowerful. They are so empowerful that they are all about getting the guy off. Ask them, sooooo…how often do you get off? Is the sex over when HE gets off? Watch for the blank look. They expect you to be a prude as a feminist, but…asking them how they enjoy sex…well…that throws them off. Telling them to stop is what they expect. Telling them to go, but to go with their own power without acting or performing or having to be a drag queen. That gets blank stares.

    Particularly the youngest ones in their teens. So many teens are in attention whore competition without a clue that sex can be great for women and not a chore or a performance.

    What if they turned the competitiveness to discovering their own sexuality and what got them off, making their orgasm the most important thing? The patriarchy has got it all in for the older women prudes, when really, they hate women discovering and taking charge of their own sexuality. Performance artists are empty vessels doing the choreography. That’s okay. That’s predictable and unthreatening. Older women who say “what about me?” or ones that know what good sex is and what sex is when you have to do all the work is the threatening thing. Younger women who don’t ask for much, perform for men, and think they are doing great in the competitive field for men don’t have the perspective that they got played. And not by the older women.

    This isn’t about their naughty, naughty wildness or their youth, it’s about how cheaply they sold themselves, forgetting that their sexuality and power is just as important. As a man’s. By keeping their side eye on competing with other women, particularly those they label as too prudish, too fat, too pushy, too old, too feminist, too whatever in the eyes of men, they lose themselves and valuable years. They give up their power.

    Frankly, if women want to stick a pole up their ass I could care less. If they want to have wild, greasy pole sex in heels…whatever. But I do care that so little is about their enjoyment, and as I wrote here before, it seems like women are always on probation. Always fearful of being let go from their jobs of pole dancing for men. Fearful of that next woman who would be more compliant and a better worker than her.

    Ask yourself dear young and older women? What if women’s sexuality was not fear based? What if sex was good and women’s enjoyment was the center piece?

  57. Hedgepig

    Caitlinate and Donna, you’re both right! It IS frustrating when you’re a young woman with feminist leanings and older feminists talk like you and your generation are destroying all their hard work. And it’s frustrating to be an older feminist and watch younger women re-inventing the wheel. I just think it’s great you can see both sides already.

  58. neil gaiman

    Vertical ballet? vertical dance already exists and it has nothing to do with porn. It’s a form of acrobatics in which dancers are hanging from ropes and a harness, facing a wall.


  59. Nia

    And I’d like to know why my name became Neil Gaiman’s.

  60. caitlinate

    Sorry Twisty! My beach volleyball antennae must be wonky today.

  61. Antares

    [clapping] [standing]

    BRA-VO, not a dudeitiful wife!
    well said, sister.

  62. Jezebella

    If ballet is not a competitive sport, why on earth – and HOW on earth – could “vertical ballet” be a competitive sport??

    I hate to say it, but I wonder if the mid-90s explosion of home internet access – and therefore home porn access – isn’t the locus of the mainstreaming of pornification? The borderline seems to be about age 30: over 30s wonder WTF about Brazilians and empowerful stripping, under-30s culture considers these things bog-standard. Your 30-year-old was a teenager ca. 1995, aka the golden years of Prodigy and AOL, with ready access to porn increasing exponentially since then.

  63. Hedgepig

    Jezebella, I’m certain you’re right.

  64. Donna

    Caitlinate, I understand and may have been guilty of it some point myself.

    Very happy with your insight though!! Although it’s certainly not out of place on a site like this.

    Amazingly the entire truth of the world rests in this one tiny little corner of the internet.

  65. butterflywings

    Another BRAVO to not a dudetiful wife.

    I am 28. I agree that the rise of pornification is to do with the Internet.
    I was a late teenager by the time I used the Internet – and didn’t use it regularly until my 20s – but my younger sisters (as in actual relatives) grew up with it. I’d say women under about 25 now are more into the porntastic thing – most women my age and older aren’t. Just some thoughts. (I am in the UK btw. You peeps were probably a few years ahead with Internet etc. in the US).

  66. shannon

    I agree about the internet accelerating pornification. Not just actual porn pictures, but the sort of person who seems to compete to mention that they love blowjobs, and to be shcoked! shocked! that a woman might not shave her crotch can make some folks think that that sort of thing is normal and sensible behavior.

  67. Takingprisoners

    I live in New York City and I have definitely seen a shift in night life and attitudes in the past ten years. Burlesque is huge and promoted as “great” entertainment for women and men alike. Men still move from one young women to the next, very few cultivate relationships, but now it seems as if the night life culture has decided to cater to this reality and women, they too, have become part of the manifestation. The Sex and The City woman, in her teetering heels and hand bag, stepping on the toes of other women (literally at times) consumed with consuming and aquireing men as accessories is in full effect. I went to a party last weekend on a ship filled with burning man asswipes. The women were in fur bikinis and rolled in sparkles happily gyrating on the few available poles.. (It’s a ship for God sake.. Those are beams holding the damn thing up) I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. And it wasn’t one young woman, it was many, many many, all trying to attract male attention. The men would be interested for a few moments, grind on them, and then move to the next one. And the women would stand there with a blank, sad face, then gyrate some more, trying to attract the next man chimp. They would look in my face and grimace. Only one woman all night actually smiled back at me when I smiled and met her eye. Incredible. I left feeling like I wanted to get the fuck out of drowning Rome. Sheep farm in New Zealand? With a no kill policy? Sounds fetching.

  68. octopod

    niki, when did that happen? I came into the L.A. goth subculture looking for the scrawny poetry-writing intellectuals in velvet cloaks, because those are my people. Instead there’s this whole porned-out spanky poser thing going, and sometimes outright mockery of the nerdy incense-and-Baudelaire types. When the hell did that happen?

  69. Felicity

    “The women were in fur bikinis and rolled in sparkles happily gyrating on the few available poles.. (It’s a ship for God sake.. Those are beams holding the damn thing up)”

    *laughs out loud* hahaha

    But sad! I agree with you we’re drowning in Rome.

    Have you lot heard about Jacqui Smith’s proposals for Violence Against Women? Kinda made my day today!

  70. Hedgepig

    Takingprisoners, wow. Great writing. Forget the sheep farm, you should be writing memoirs.

  71. Spiders

    I agree with your post, Shannon. I think as well as being a facilitator of the “industrial vagina”, the net has created a whole new level of discursive power.

    About the younger women/older women thing; this is something I try to understand all the time. I have an 18 year old daughter, I spend time with her and her friends. I also share classroom space with mostly Gen Y-ers, and from what I’ve seen, the reluctance is at least partly to do with a reluctance to engage with social activism in general.
    The idea of activism and protesting freaks so many of them out, so obedient are they, so afraid to challenge the status quo.

    This is not due to any individual failings, but rather the political climate in which they’ve grown up/come of age.
    I put it all down to the fact that they’ve lived most of their lives under conservative governments and their neo-liberal ideology, and they’ve spent their lives surrounded by anti-feminist backlash discourse.

    I on the other hand, as a member of Gen X grew up in a climate of social change and activism, when conservative or right wing thought was continuously reviled and ridiculed.

    Even my own daughter, who is wise to patriarchy and far less of a cheerleader of it than her peers and is also a big shouter at and challenger of, men and the male viewpoint, finds it difficult to match my level of “caring about stuff”.

    I’m heartened by the number of superb younger radfems that I meet online, but I still worry a lot about just how much worse things can get, will get.

  72. not a dudetiful wife

    I think everybody has to reach inside and decide to see through the patriarchy.

    I don’t buy it that a younger generation is not responsible for their not protesting, speaking out, not seeing etc. I grant that they are sentient beings. It’s a choice. I don’t agree with not being a feminist. But it’s a choice.

    I think we ought to ask for more and encourage more from the women we know. And I’ll just come right out and say it, there are women who are the most anti-feminists people in the world, and especially when they get to be an adult, they should be challenged and criticized whether they are in their twenties or their seventies. It takes work to discard the veil of bullshit the patriarchy puts on the world and I give them props and higher respect. It’s not easy.

    I would think that as the great Oprah says, “when you know better, you do better.” But too many know, but just go along to get along. It’s someone else’s problem to speak up at work or to challenge. It’s far easier to not risk unlikability. As Tina Fey shows us, a savage wit helps, but I doubt she has to have everyone like her.

    A lot of radicals came from very conservative households. The big bulge of feminists to get the vote in the 1920’s and in the 1960’s were raised and preceeded by very conservative people.

    And not too long ago, a lot of women faced great pressure to not keep their names in marriage, to not work during marriage, to make only the career choices of nurse and teacher, and were mocked for using “ms.” It was not easy for them either.

    Change is never easy. It’s never easy to break from the pack.

  73. Popes

    I agree with Shannon.

    Suddenly, the one idiot spouting garbledy-hatespeak is immediately joined by a chorus of idiots singing in tune. It’s very easy to lose sight of what’s the majority consensus. Not that majority consensus should be the definitive line on one’s actions, but it does have quite an impact on most people.

    Setting aside its good attributes for the moment, I think the internet has made the posse mentality and mob violence even easier to achieve.

  74. Takingprisoners

    Thanks Hedgepig and Felicity.. you made my day. Great insights “not a dutiful wife” about generational perspective and the climate that informs it. The women on here give me such solace and hope for an “audience” and community of like minded people. As a writer I have created and optioned four screenplays. None of which were made because all had female protagonists (real bio pics) and none conformed to “chick film” ideas. I went into film trying to shift popular culture as a young radical woman, only to find a monolith of male executives and female executives who couldn’t take a risk with their jobs greenlighting a film with a strong female lead. Memoirs? Maybe. But who owns publishing houses? Who are the editors? I think maybe it all comes down to DIY. Do it yourself. But boy, what a bloody long struggle to self publish and self promote. The grind of that alone has been such a discouraging factor. To be a radical female writer with dreams of mass appeal.. UGH. IBTP. At least and thank God we have Twisty and this forum.

  75. not a dudetiful wife

    For good and for bad, it’s just the internet.

    People said the same thing about the pamphlets people published during the revolutionary war. About TV. About the devil’s music on the radio. It brings us porn, it brings this blog. It brings us the conservative religious sites with their bad soft rock music.

    Majority consensus has brought us the patriarchy, though. And all the twisted thinking about sex as performance….of the woman. The majority consensus is that women are not okay as they are. Whereas men just have to show up for sex without the outfits, the pole, the dieting, whatever. There is no competitive body sport: cheerleading or pole dancing or whatever for men where it is part of the skill to be enticing and exciting to women. I guarantee you that no man I work with thinks…”hmmmm…maybe I should go to just ONE pole dancing class so I can be the hawt and keep my woman interested” or “hmmmm….I wonder if I’m okay to be seen in public in a swim suit without massive de-hairing, dieting, tanning, lotioning….”

    I mean, recently, there were pictures of Madonna auctioned when she was, what? 18, and she posed nude without shaving. The horrors! And the criticism she got! But with all the looking and poking fun, some people actually got to look at photos where an unshaven woman was seen as natural and beautiful. But please, I’m thinking…this is scandaleous in this day and age, yet it was done as art in the 1980’s? What is empowerful after all? The sassy pole dancing and naughty, naughty poses for your boyfriend, or being scandalized by women’s body hair?

  76. Jezebella

    I made a disclaimer (“I hate to say it but….”) in my observation about the internet increasing the spread of pornification. I do not blame the internet. It is what it is, and people use it for good or ill. It does happen to be a very good tool for the distribution of pornography, and pornographers are always, ALWAYS, looking for ways to sell more and distribute more. Sure, it’s “just the internet” but it does happen to be a very, very effective way to mainstream pornography, and I think it not unreasonable to suggest that the latest wave of pornification is thanks to widespread internet access.

    In summary: I blame the pornographers, not the founders of the internet.

  77. Jonathan


    “Setting aside its good attributes for the moment, I think the internet has made the posse mentality and mob violence even easier to achieve.”

    Not to mention that (according to NPR) the legal establishment dismisses mob violence against women as “juvenile fun” when it is coordinated online. When the law also says that misogynist companies have the right to intentionally broadcast libelous and threatening material against women through their websites (so long as someone else wrote it), we know the mob misogyny will get worse.

  78. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker


    Aw, the men weren’t able to break through the glass (heel) ceiling in this competition.

  79. Lara

    I was just waiting for something like this to happen…can I just rip my hair out now?

  80. Octogalore

    I think HPS nails it: “Then I wondered if it would be possible to strip (sorry) the sexual connotations (costumes, gestures) from pole dancing to make it a “real” sport. I posit that in a post-patriarchal world we could. We’re just not in one, so forget it.”

    What’s next, lapdancing Olympics on a dummy (or male judge)? That too requires strength and flexibility.

    I seem to recall that pole dancing was brought to the strip club arena rather than starting there, but the bottom line is that this is the association. While I believe all women have the right to pole dance or to strip, I don’t think we put an activity associated with sexual quid pro quo, with the woman being the quo, on the dais of an international sporting event.

  81. FlorenceCraye

    What’s wrong with Pole dancing? Me, I like the Mazurka.

  1. Happy International Women’s Day « The Radical Radish

    […] the horrific to the ridiculous –  from here, I discover that there is a 75 000 strong petition on facebook to get pole dancing included as an […]

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