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About-Face means a reversal of direction, attitude, or point of view. We equip women & girls with tools to understand & resist harmful media messages that affect their self-esteem & body image. Just when I thought parenting skills couldn’t become any more questionable, I come face-to-face with a new activity atrocity: pushing pole dancing for children, adolescents, and teens. I almost choked on my morning cereal (Don’t worry, it wasn’t Cheerios – I still can’t get behind their marketing mishaps) when I read a June 2011 article from the British tabloid, The Daily Mirror, about a Northamptonshire dance studio offering a “kiddie pole dance” program, where 3-year-olds and up were schooled in the age-appropriate art of climbing and swirling on a stripper pole.
Dubbed “Little Spinners”, the class consisted of teaching girls how to lift and maneuver their bodies around the pole while “holding their legs in a V-shape.” Thankfully, a recent perusal of the studio’s web site shows that this class is no longer being offered. Although the course offerings available for this age group require parental accompaniment for the initial visit and a signed and acknowledged consent and advice sheet, this posturing paperwork seems to only serve as liability padding.
The Internet is replete with indicators that this “activity” is readily available to youngsters. The UK typically allows people ages 16 and older to participate in their classes (with parental consent), while the age cutoff in the U.S. What is showcased as innocent body bending in the comfort of a classroom sends alarming messages if performed in other environments. I’m a huge supporter of the expressive arts and firmly believe in teaching kids to connect with their bodies when they are young. To actively allow or encourage a child to be instructed on ways that sexually showcase her (or his) body borders on parental negligence.
Plain and simple: Teens deserve the right to be raised in environments that support a healthy development of the self.
Participation in such classes primes teens for the possibility of an antagonistic relationship with their bodies. Heather is a blogger and yoga enthusiast who is passionate about body image, media literacy, and feminist activism.
Please also note that I teach men and women of all ages so this is not even a feminist issue. I look forward to your response and am happy to answer any questions you have about my art.
Laura on 02-22-2012I would be more than happy to send my 4 year old to learn how to gain upper body strength, balance and co-ordination doing this especially as she has truncal ataxia and other disabilitys something like this would benefit her immensely and Help her to learn how to use different muscle groups and gain the strength she would need!!!!
Kathleen Hamma on 02-22-2012I must say that as an academic I was appalled by the lack of research, lack of evidence and pure opinionated rubbish that has been written on your blog. I myself have tried pole dancing, a long time ago when my older sister took me along to one of the classes at The Art of Dance (it was called something different then), I was SHOCKED by how difficult it is to perform any move on a pole and I am fairly sure that I did not look sexy at any point (due to the sweat, the red face and the bruised thighs). Take a look at your own values and why you think that pole dancing is 'inextricably linked to eroticism', perhaps through supporting pole dancing as a fitness regime we as women could take the power out of that assumption and make it something that doesn't have so much stigma attached to it. Jo Briffitt on 02-22-2012I believe that the status of poledancing has changed completely it is now more relevant to name it pole fitness which changes the view of it dramatically. Beth on 02-22-2012I am a uni student who teaches other uni students to pole dance, for the sake of the uni it's called pole exercise because that helps remind people that what we're doing isn't stripping (i'm not trying to say anything derogotory about strippers here, but what we do really is very different). I have found your article rather interesting, yet at the same time I believe that had you a little more knowledge of the subject and perhaps even experience in the art of pole dancing your opinions may sway. You mention the article in the Daily Mirror in June 2011 (which I imagine is where the bulk of your “inspiration” for your blog came from). I looked also at the website in question, and if you look around the World Wide Web it does not look dissimilar to many others out there promoting pole dancing.
In your blog you ask the question “how young is too young to expose preteens and even teenagers to this “sport” almost inextricably linked to eroticism?” I was particularly tickled by your use of quotation marks, if you happen to have a dictionary handy then you will be educated on the definition of sport – “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature”. I fully understand that there is a stigma round pole dancing, however I also believe rightly or wrongly that people like you are at fault for leaving the stigma lingering.
The moves in pole dancing, like gymnastics do contort the body, but isn’t that what makes them worth watching?
I would strongly suggest that before you write another blog airing your opinions on pole dancing and particularly the Art of Dance, you should maybe go along and experience a class or two and find out for yourself that they are harmless fun and a great way to keep physically fit. Comparing it to swimming or gymnastics is disingenuous because those are not popularly seen as sexual showcases.
My male friend studies strength and conditioning in sports science and also uses the pole for exercise, a knowledge of the physical benefits and innocent enjoyment strips away the stigma for the individual.
Heather on 02-22-2012There have been many great comments, responses and points raised and I want to thank everyone for lending their collective voices. Frustrated Dancer on 02-23-2012In retort to your comment above, I must express how infuriating it is that the words 'pole dancing' instantly connote stripping and the sexualisation of the individual. I'm a student with numerous self confidence issues, so believe me when I say that the idea of stripping is far from my mind.
There are various pole dancing competitions in the UK, which are both enthralling to watch, and terrifying. I hope that you'll actually consider attempting a lesson or two before making any more ignorant and ill-informed claims about what i will continue to call a sport, as that's what it is, regardless of your opinion. Jess on 02-22-2012Come see me, let me teach you what you need to know when writing an article about Pole Fitness. Using a picture of a girl in denim shorts and describing a pole as a stripper pole also takes the matter completely out of context.
The matter of age I agree is a subject of great debate but more so on the subject of muscle development at young age. Boner Killer on 02-22-2012This is the most shocking and horrendous thing i have ever heard -- let's just teach girls at a young age that if they want to be physically strong, they need to be "Sexy" first and if they want to be empowered and have higher self-worth - they must use their bodies to achieve it. How is this not a feminist issue, simply because you declared it not to be one because "men do it" too? Michelle on 02-23-2012As one of Sam's students about to enter in to the extremely male dominated world of International Business I would like to argue that you can not put what I learn in my lessons any where near the realms of porn. Lauren on 02-22-2012Pole dancing might be considered a legitimate sport for children if the connotations between it and pole dancing as sexual display didn't exist, even if (as claimed) the poses weren't provocative. Jess on 02-22-2012Here is what pole fitness is to those who dont know, please read and scroll to see videos at the bottom of the link. Kate on 02-22-2012if you had maybe attended lessons and done it yourself i could actually take the article seriously but clearly you havent.
You mention in your article that a girl had become sucessful, so i fail to see how this is a negative.
To assume that pole dancing attracts paedophiles is out of this world, and can damage a person character (which you blatanly didnt consider when writing this article, as well as some other points you have raised). Parents are more than happy to let their children take part in a physical activity, so why are you attacking this sport. You also forget to mention all of the charity work and community work these people have done through the aid of pole dancing, and how far they have come.
I think this article has been written by someone so narrow minded that they could not research something extensively or even bother to attend the persons business they are criticising at all.
S on 02-22-2012This could have been an interesting article had it been backed up by more reliable sources than The Daily Mirror and a Facebook stalking session.
Michelle on 02-23-2012As a current pole dancing student and a member of the UPPDC committee I would like to urge you to come to one of Sam's lessons at the Art of Dance. Michelle on 02-23-2012I would also like to point out that these are my views and do not represent those of my club or university. Natalie on 02-23-2012As a pole fitness instructor myself, I obviously feel the same as most of the other people that have commented on this blog. I think if you really are that concerned about children keeping fit, teach them circuits, play games and let them be kids.
My main concern is are these instructors teaching children safely understanding the ways that their bodies are changing at different stages? There is no doubt this is a challenging activity that has many health benefits, so those of you who workout this way can get off your horse. I DO believe that pole dancing is an AMAZING sport where you gain extreme strength, confidence and all those other good things that make your body happy and your life better. J on 02-26-2012As a student of Early Childhood Studies, (who just to point out for those of you who may find this odd; I am CRB checked) and a pole fitness student, i see no difference in these classes to the classes like freestyle dancing. I dont understand how you think this is ok to actively comment on your own prejudice and believe that it is totally correct, it may be your belief and thats fine, but it is not everyone's and you should except that and value it. Laura on 02-28-2012This article is thoroughly under-researched - the author had time to facebook-stalk someone, but not to attend an hours induction class to see what pole fitness is all about?
Pole fitness is trying to build a reputation separate from that of the pole dancing you find in strip clubs, and this article is an excellent example of the kind of narrow mindedness that the pole dance community is having to battle against. As as sport, pole dancing increases flexibility, strength, co-ordination, confidence, positive body image, and general fitness.
Your only objection to this sport is that YOU find it sexual because of your narrow-minded views.
Heather on 02-28-2012I expanded upon my original piece on my own blog and do appreciate the feedback and voices raised thus far. While performing my highly criticized research, I did discover, and give credence to the fact that these classes are in fact surprisingly progressive and lauded as a sport in many circles. I am neither in support or against this choice of a fitness regimen for adult men or women. I am in full agreement with the commenter who highlighted the perils inherent in dance and gymnastics world. I have no doubt that studios exist that are completely devoid of any sort of sexual facet or approach. Once you learn Night Club dance System you can apply it anywhere: in a bar, in a club, in weddings, in co-workers party and so on.
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Honey Boo Boo's mother, Mama June Shannon, plans to get weight loss surgery this summer after losing 45 pounds recently with diet and exercise, TMZ reported. Honey Boo Boo's mother was recently paid $5,500 for a two-hour appearance at the Crazy Horse Gentleman's Club in Pompano Beach, Florida. Mama June wants to get the lap band surgery this summer because she has plateaued with her weight loss through diet and exercise, said a source. Other celebrities who have lost weight with bariatric surgery include Rosie O'Donnell, who lost 53 pounds after gastric sleeve surgery. In 2013, Mama June lost 120 pounds on a low-carb diet, Celebrity Health & Fitness reported. Meanwhile, Mama June recently confirmed her oldest daughter, Anna "Chickadee" Cardwell, is pregnant with her second child.
Anna's pregnancy news surfaced shortly after Mama June revealed she and her 15-year-old daughter, Pumpkin, are bisexual. That child was later revealed to be Mama June's own daughter, Anna Cardwell, who discussed her abuse on TV interviews. Mental Health Awareness: Educational movies on mental illness, mentally illMay is Mental Health Awareness Month.
While I was unable to find the course description on their actual web site, the school still offers the class, and a recent delve into their Facebook presence revealed a post from a women interested in having her 13-year-old niece attend an adult class with her.
An entrepreneurial teen who taught herself pole dancing at the age of 16 with the assistance of web-purchased poles and DVDs, opened a controversial makeshift studio in her parents’ living room. The UK has a lauded pole-dancing community complete with accreditation requirements for instructors and studios, as well as an explicit code of conduct. Many of the instructors and web sites boast such class offerings as ways to aid the development of self-esteem.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this sort of activity aids in the fetishizing of youth and, in its extreme, could support the horrifying epidemic of child pornography.
Undoubtedly, it puts a premium on certain body sizes and encourages conformity at a formative age when senses of self are blurry and bodies are burgeoning.
As adults, our culture marginalizes and sexualizes women, which makes fostering and modeling positive body image for our youth all the more crucial.
When not working at her corporate day job, her cultural commentary and other insights can be found at Ms. Might I also add that your lazy criticism of this physically demanding activity was quite offensive in itself. Perhaps you could look at most floor gymnastics and argue that they too are sexualising our young people. It encourages the objectification of the body during a tender time of growth and transformation, when mentoring and a focus on overall healthy and body image are crucial." How would attending a fitness class, which is often carried out in gym style clothing, do this?! If you really were a feminist you would be supporting activities for young women (and as Sam pointed out - men too) that are empowering and focus on improving physical and emotional well being. An entrepreneurial teen who taught herself pole dancing at the age of 16 with the assistance of web-purchased poles and DVDs, opened a controversial makeshift studio in her parents’ living room. I take classes with men and women all in bare feet and sweats, and it's one of the hardest, most physically demanding things I've ever done, and I'm a long distance runner. Pole is a great way to get fit and a lot of fun, trying out new tricks and socialising, The child and parent should understand that it is not a raunchy erotic form of dance it is a fun form of exercise which is great for the body as it works all muscles builds up a lot of strength and confidence. When I go home my little cousins aged 4-12 all love being taught to do stuff on my pole and get really excited when they manage a new move.
I have read this article and again don’t exactly agree with what is say as it suggests that a room with “pink feather boas and sparkling mirrors” would be an inappropriate place to dance. At no point during my browsing did I see anything that I would deem inappropriate for a teenager to view. I believe in this case (not one to argue with the Oxford Dictionary after all) that pole dancing fits like a glove to this definition. Pole dancing has the ability to increase self-esteem and confidence (I am a case in point for that) and I challenge your opinion that this is not good for teenagers and young children, if anything it could help them growth as a person. No matter what is said here by teachers and students of this activity, and regardless of the fact that "men do it, too," pole dancing, or pole fitness, is still a sexualized activity to the broader public and you are fooling yourselves in thinking the 5 year old who is in a class today will not learn the history, sexist subtext, and reputation of the activity in only a few years. Compare it to a similar activity in the Chinese acrobatic tradition and you will see the moves using the poles are vastly different.
I do agree that perhaps there should be some clarity with regards to my personal view on this practice. But I do think working with the pole sets up a dangerous mindset for children, especially girls.
The moves taught are not taught for any sex-appeal (of which there is little when sweating and bruised as pole fitness demands), they are taught to strengthen the required muscles and tone the body. I've been attending lessons at The Art Of Dance for the past 5 months and the difference it's made to my fitness and muscle strength is incredible. Some of the moves performed I can only dream of attempting and the fact that this sport is linked with stripping is a sad fact, but perhaps it demonstrates the narrow-mindedness and stubbornness of our society that people cannot dissociate the two actions and allow them to exist independantly. Pole dancing can involve stripping, trying to look sexy etc, pole fitness is about doing complicated moves and developing a lot of upper body strength and flexibility to do them. Pole fitness classes have men and women in shorts and tshirts while girls in gymnastics are in fancy skin tight leotards and often wearing lots of make up so how is pole fitness more sexualised and more about image? It loses its credibility when it uses the phrase "attempts to pass off pole dancing as a physical fitness". That's about as pathetic as the argument, "porn isn't degrading because women watch it" -- so now it becomes apolitical and thus not a concern of women and women's rights activists? I have learnt to be a young independent and confident person through these lessons which has already started to help me in my promising career. I'm not disputing the physical rigors or even the athletic merit of the activity - I am simply stating that there is sexual symbolism inherent in what is being taught in many of these classes. We are so used to the stereotypes of strippers, exotic dancers and the words provocative and slutty. Seeing as though you have attended probably one class or read it in the media (which is known to blow stuff out of proportaion, ITS A FACT. I know that sam has been negatively portrayed in the media, for no possible reason as she does not teach sexy dancing, beleive me i know i am the most unsexiest person around.
Young girls who keep fit through the sport of pole fitness aren't taught that pole dancing can be sexy. I am not saying that I totally disagree with kids being taught pole, I just don't understand why instructors want to if there business is successful teaching adults?
No one has questioned yet whether or not the schools involved are actually QUALIFIED to teach fitness to children!!
When I first thought of pole dancing, I have to admit it brought to mind many sexual connotations and perhaps little children without maturity, understanding or knowledge of important topics such as sex etc.
I have never felt so good as those moments when I find I have improved something a week or two after just learning it, especially since I was always terrified of competitive sports. Classes and activities such as free style dancing, ballet or any other high impact activity can damage your body just as much as pole fitness, the children are expected to wear revealing outfits (which pole fitness classes do not) but they is normally excepted in society. To further clarify, as I believe my point was largely missed: it‘s not the pole dancing practice I believe is cause for concern. My daily Groupon’s inform me of many local course offerings and I was hardly lacking in the a availability of studios or impressive websites that often courted women with tag lines promising to make one “feel sexy at any age”. With so many ardent supporters of the practice as physically challenging, I am willing to take on those who urged me to really get down with the subject. I'm not questioning the morality of the activity or the physical prowess required to perform it, nor am I stating that the association is a just one. My ultimate goal – rise ROI as high as possible with exceptional functionality and visual style (supported by latest design trends and technologies).
Mama June, who recently flaunted her weight loss at a Florida strip club, is determined to lose an additional 50 pounds with lap band surgery. While the bisexual Mama June did not strip, she did briefly work the pole and happily posed alongside other dancers (see video).
Magic Johnson's son, EJ Johnson, star of the "Rich Kids of Beverly Hills," lost more than 100 pounds since getting gastric sleeve surgery in August 2014. Low carb diets such as the Atkins, ketogenic and Atkins diets promote rapid weight loss by forcing the body to burn fat for fuel, according to obesity expert Dr. Rachael Ross visited the home of Honey Boo Boo and Mama June to check on their weight loss progress after staging a health intervention in February.
Ross and a local pediatric nutritionist were unhappy to discover that Mama June had abandoned the diet they had prescribed for her, which meant Honey Boo Boo was doing the diet on her own. Travis Stork, host of "The Doctors." She should weigh between 60 and 70 pounds, explained Stork, a former ER doctor. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Samantha enjoys running, cycling and photography. With summer right around the corner and beach season just weeks away you may find yourself wondering how long it takes to get in shape.
Her business endeavor has since blossomed into two highly successful dance centers in England. A British company is lobbying for pole dancing to become a test sport for the forthcoming Olympics, with dreams of it becoming an official part of the games by 2016. But how young is too young to expose preteens and even teenagers to this “sport” almost inextricably linked to eroticism? This puts our youth at great risk and in some cases dangerously close to endorsing pedophilia. Does society have an obligation to limit the participation of teens in these adult-centric classes, or should this be a parent’s duty?
They wear very provocative clothing and often the activities involve large phallic objects. I would imagine that anyone attending these age specific classes would be all female without anyone there watching inappropriately, added to which, doing something healthy and fun would actually only add to one's sense of self esteem and confidence.

I would suggest that society is at fault for objectifying women not a small dance studio in Plymouth that is attempting to enable young people to feel good about their bodies through challenging their physical fitness. Her business endeavor has since blossomed into two highly successful dance centers in England" This bit I really really don't get. As lessons are done in a gym with no audience with no erotic dances or moves it is completely different to the stereotypical poledacing in clubs. I would never teach these kids "sexy moves", i would feel highly uncomfortable if they were taking part in stuff that was oversexualising them at such a young age including other forms of dance etc, but I'm delighted that they are enjoying exercise in a fun and safe environment and I think over feeding children until they become obese is a much bigger issue than kids getting the exercise they need by basically playing on a fireman's pole but with someone there to make sure they don't fall and hurt themselves.
The archaeic view that a pole resembles a phallis is the only thing that makes this different. If adults want to participate (to have fun, to exercise, because they want to - any reason is ok, and none are my business), and even actively work to change the meaning of the activity, that's one thing - but it is not for a child to participate or be a part of that reclamation while it is still so closely tied to eroticism. I am regularly explaining to ignorant people that pole fitness is not related to stripping at all, and as it's been suggested above, you'd do well to attend a lesson or two before passing judgement on others, as you might then have some appreciation for the strength, and control, that the sport requires.
It's very similar to gymnastics (which many 3 year old children do and no one criticises it!) why is it acceptable and considered to be a serious sport when a horizontal pole is used but slutty and degrading when the pole is vertical?!
I suggest actually attending an induction class for research rather than spouting out uneducated and outdated statements which alienates a huge international community of athletes. There is no unusual baring of flesh involved in these fitness classes and the moves are in no way provocative unlike those of freestyle and Latin dance which children may also engage in.
I find it sad that as a feminist you will not accept this sport for what it is; challenging and fun.
As a member of a pole club i think that you are doing some serious damage about pole dancing as a fitness technique without realising. However to label this on to a woman who i can hazard a guess that you have never met, or been to her business, or even attended a class, i beleive to be seriously OUT OF ORDER.
Pole because it is to sexual, Swimming as children are put into bikinis or just shorts which people can OPENLY watch, UNLIKE pole. The reason it is portrayed as a social sport is due to the support that everyone in the lessons provides to one another and the friendships that can be formed in these lessons. To be honest, when people have these narrow minded views based on little or no experience and research, it really bores me. Just because Sam has been approved by the Pole Dance Community, that doesn't mean everything she says should be taken as gospel. Who will deny that our children are engaging in risky sexual behavior at a younger age than ever before? But I am sure you would be hard pressed to find any sort of scientific study or facts proving this is dangerous. It is only people with closed minds who see pole fitness as sexualized and therefore apparently "wrong". I am certainly not disputing the physical rigors or even the athletic merit of the activity. Of course not all employed this approach, but a large majority did have this advertising angle. Youth are being taught to contort their bodies into provocative poses: to not understand the sexually suggestive nature of these moves is dangerous. Many teens dealing with confusing feelings and the onset of puberty may see that such explicit dancing garners attention from their peers. I find nothing about what these children are learning 'sexually provocative; unless they were performing for a peadophile, which Im sure the parents are not allowing their children to do, even so, you can argue children could be looked at innapropriately at a swimming pool?! Are you trying to say that this young women shouldn't have taught herself a skill, stuck with it and ultimately made a thriving business for herself? The classes are held in a closed environment with various legal and safety checks being performed before you are even allowed to start. If children were learning to thrust against a pole maybe i could see your point but funnily enough they are not. I think it does have credibility as an activity for age appropriate adults and am not questioning its efficacy. As Heather said, the implications are damaging to young, immature, mentally developing girls. I've always wanted to try gymnastics but unfortunately I can't find any adult beginner classes in my area so I'm doing pole fitness as a good alternative way of building strength and flexibility. Also most tricks, poses and lifts used in modern pole are stemmed from Chinese pole and mallakhamb.
These lessons do not even come close to "sexualizing and devaluing girl-children", in fact they do the opposite.
Gymnastics, as splits are performed and there are what you called sexual showcase, trampoling is the same too, what about football or rugby BOTH agressive sports but yet children are able to take part in these, isnt this just teaching them that agression can lead to a win, Body building of ten year old which affect thier bodies, muscles etc. If you attend one of Sam's lessons then you'll realise that these lessons teach discipline and self-respect and I along with many others have become more confident since starting the lessons.
And after I have held my body horizontally away from the pole in a flag position (extremely advanced and requiring a lot of strength and skill), I might even wiggle my bum and flick my hair! To those of you who say "this is simply a 'fitness' program" for kids," why not try the 100s of other exercising activities that don't tie DIRECTLY towards the objectification of women?
Sure I can give you statistics, but unless your oblivious to the real world you know it's true. I am not sure many children would understand the line between the two and this could cause some problems (emotional, social, etc).
It is not going to change a child's opinion of themself by attending a pole fitness class, media and societies opinionated prejudices are what influences a child's opinion of themself, and there are many resources that evidence this. The classes are 'fun' and and an amazing 'workout' and 'Attempts to pass off pole dancing as physical fitness and “fun”' are exactly what it is about. In a society when 5- and 7-year-olds can identify "sexy," why would you think they are suddenly blind to the sexualized side of what they are doing and not internalize these concepts concurrently with other explicit and implicit media messages telling them their value is found in "sexiness" either now or down the line?
Are we meant to stop kids sitting on chairs incase they come across a link with chairdancing, i know thats a flimsy statement but it looks like thats the root we are taking. But there is an undeniable sexual subtext and association in our society related to it and to certain moves. Also, when your male friend uses the pole, is he doing the exact same (sexy) move as the young girl in the first illustrative photo for this article? It's NOT about male titilation, pole fitness participants and gymnasts (women AND men) are just showing their incredible strength and flexibility. I strongly believe that the self respect and confidence gained in these lessons teaches girls and women of any age to enjoy the person they are and not seek validation from other sources, If you have not already done so please attend one of Sam's lessons and see for yourself, I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised by the level of difficulty and the sense of community and support within our lessons.
Sam has always made me feel comfortable with myself and no one in the class is ever judgemental.. The adults who engage in this form of fitness personally, I'm not sure why you are so sensitive about it.
It brought back my interest in physical activity when for YEARS I remained static in any sort of interest to 'work out at the gym' or involve myself in any activities.
If pole fitness is going to do anything for the child it would only build their confidence of their body image, as it promotes strong rather then thin. There is a sexual subtext and symbolism in pole dancing that is deeply embedded in the fabric of our society. Once woman learns how to follow and be feminine woman in the dance, she can dance with every men.
I would really like to know, as all I can see is a reason to commend her for her abilities and guile. The stigma of it is changing and that is exactly what many clubs around the world are trying to aid.
I am not attempting to raise a moral argument for or against it; I simply aim to acknowledge that it exists and that its implications for our youth can be damaging and dangerous. I'm not criticising gymnastics btw, I just don't know how you can trash pole fitness when the stuff you complain about are the same moves used in a respected sport. They're teaching a fitness which unfortunately girls link from elsewhere to derogatory forms.
Surely as a self proclaimed feminist you must agree that these are qualities that young girls should be learning; to support one another and to have the self-respect and self-assurance to be independent and not reliant upon comments from others to feel confident. The debate that is on the table is not whether or not this link is just, but that it exists. It would stand to reason that feeling sexy would be par for the course, and thus a marketable position for some studios offering these classes.
You clearly need more research, as the moves performed are not sexy poses but athletic and gymnastic moves that require an extremely disciplined and skillful approach. While performing my lazy research I did discover that these classes are progressive and are lauded as a sport in many circles. I think it's disgusting that you name the Plymouth studio, because I've never seen such a professional studio. The legitimacy or fairness of the stigma is not the topic of this particular post or the inspiration for my article, so I feel it is best left of out of this debate.
My daily Groupon’s inform me of many local course offerings and I was not lacking in my findings of studios. I tried a class once thinking much like you I imagine, and my view was completely changed after realising what strength and dedication goes into the sport.
That is the problem: when the sexualized moves are learned by girls who are just starting to figure out a) what society expects of them as females and b) what they expect of themselves as humans. For girls to have role models like Sam is a much better thing than role models like Rihanna and Lady Gaga who sell records by being half naked and not looking after their bodies.

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