Self-Subjectification and Simulating Exotic Dance: Women’s Experience in Pole Dance Fitness Classes

Posted: 21 Dec 2009

Date Written: December 21, 2009

Abstract

Twenty-five women enrolled in pole dance exercise classes were interviewed about their experience in class and how it has affected their lives. Using a grounded theory analysis, we identified emergent themes suggesting self-objectification in temporarily empowering yet perhaps ultimately limiting forms. Participants describe benefits including new found appreciation of their bodies and their sensuality, a supportive social environment, and a greater confidence in their lives outside of the pole dance studio. When queried about the origins of pole dancing in strip clubs, participants minimized this association, though at the same time, they appropriated elements of strip club culture that fit the rhetoric of the pole dance school. Further questions probed women’s thoughts about the benefits of the class, in particular, on the emancipatory possibilities and limitations of pole dancing as a path to empowered embodiment.

Keywords: Objectification, Body Image, Body awareness, Sexuality, Fitness, Social Comparison

Suggested Citation

Melamed, Shula Ona, Self-Subjectification and Simulating Exotic Dance: Women’s Experience in Pole Dance Fitness Classes (December 21, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1526656

Shula Ona Melamed (Contact Author)

The New School ( email )

80 5th avenue
7th Floor
New York, NY 10011
United States

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