Thursday, October 26, 2006

Won't somebody please think of the perverts?

From ( but of course) the Daily Mail, and picked up with glee by Not Saussure , Tim Worstall and Devil's Kitchen and Robbie Millen at the Times comes the faint-making tale of how dastardly Tescos are purveying filth, depraved filth I tell you, to the nation's youth and luring children into the sleazy world of pole and lap dancing. It is surely but a short step from buying the Peek-a-boo pole dancing kit and ''unleashing the sex kitten within'', to gyrating naked in front of hordes of baying middle managers on a corporate jolly at Browns. Won't somebody think of the children? pleads the Mail. And bloggers ask, won't somebody think of the perverts?

Dr Adrian Rogers, of family campaigning group Family Focus is certainly in a fulminating froth. He said yesterday that the kit would "destroy children's lives".
"Tesco is Britain's number one chain, this is extremely dangerous. It is an open invitation to turn the youngest children on to sexual behaviour.
"This will be sold to four, five and six-year olds. This is a most dangerous toy that will contribute towards destroying children's innocence."
He added: "Children are being encouraged to dance round a pole which is interpreted in the adult world as a phallic symbol.
"It ought to be stopped, it really requires the intervention of members of Parliament. This should only be available to the most depraved people who want to corrupt their children." [my italics]

Yes, indeedy - as Robbie Millen writes:
'' I like the idea of setting up a register of depraved people who are allowed to buy pole-dancing kits and the like. Perhaps, the list could be overseen by a bureaucratic body (let's call it PervCom) which could spend its time deciding what goods or services were suitably depraved. Given strong enough powers, it could save children's innocence from the pernicious influence of folk-dancers who want to groom children into dancing around maypoles.
Or better still. We could set up a register of self-styled, self-appointed family-values campaigners who will be banned from having contact with lazy, quote-hungry Daily Mail journalists...''

It's clearly a simply ghastly state of affairs.

Or is it? Firstly, let us untense our butt cheeks and unpick the story. Let out a deep, shuddering breath. Mmm-hmm, feels go-o-o-od. Shake out your shoulders too, toss your hair, maybe rotate your hips a little before reading on. Yeah, baby. Now you are all relaxed, and ready to free your mind ( whereupon, of course, your ass will follow if we are to believe the disco anthem, and who doesn't?) let us see what is actually going on.

Firstly, the pole dancing kit is clearly marked as a toy for adults. It is only available online, not in stores, so trolley-pushing Mums concerned that young Lianne has not yet developed sufficient poise and athleticism to join the under-eight's netball team won't be tempted to sling in a pole dancing kit along with the turkey dinosaurs and cheeze strings to help daughter get some fun exercise practice at home. Other toys and games available on Tesco's site include the 24 DVD game (24 of course being an adult drama featuring torture, terrorism, maiming and biological/nuclear warfare), the Party Poker gift set and Horse Racing game( gambling, illegal for under 18's, natch) and the Da Vinci Code Board Game ( based on the book and film featuring murder, shagging and heresy). Not all games are for kiddies, see. Grown-ups get to play sometimes too. Anyway, the Peek-a-boo pole dancing kit has now been moved to 'Fitness Accessories' in Sport and Leisure.

It must be said that as a fitness accessory the Peek-a-boo pole dancing kit is rubbish. You can't swing or climb on the pole, using your upper body strength to hold your weight in poses or hang off one arm or one leg whilst you spin; you can't do handstands against it or throw your legs up and hang upsidedown and if you try to do more than wander round it, wiggling a bit, it will fall over. (All the above moves, which require a lot of strength and grace and training, are reasons why pole-dancing classes are amongst the fastest-growing, most-demanding fitness/dance classes in the UK today.)

Forget the Peek-a-boo kit, if you want exercise, you might as well go and do some lunges and squats. Wearing high heels, if you want the extra balance challenge. If you want to work up a sweat in the bedroom, go stick on some high energy music and dance about in your best pants, then slip 'em off at the end and whirl them round your head. Woo! Fun, but not for all the family.

Anyway, parents (and perverts) can relax. Our nation's children are safer today, (though if your daughter swings round a lamp-post on the way to the playground, or dances along to Beyonce on MTV whilst you make up her lunch box, you may want to pop into your local police station and report yourself, just in case.)


Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Oh Rachel, what can I say? Am with you 100% on this - both on the ridiculous demonisation of pole dancing by the Daily Mail (did you see the outraged story on the female city worker who won a sexual harrassment case but was later photographed at a pole dancing class with 'bare legs'? The harlot! The hypocrite!), and the crapness of the Peek-a-boo kit. One of the women in my class asked about it and I told her not to bother as they are nothing but a gimmick; you can't actually pole dance on them.

As to the pole being a phallic symbol, is that what men see when they see us dancing around it? Or is it more the whole erotic dancing with few clothes on? Certainly, in the strip clubs I've been in, the men are just as interested in the dancers on the podiums and their interest does not appear to peak when the pole is involved in a routine. I have no idea, but I know that when I'm on the pole it certainly doesn't represent a giant penis to me because I'm far too busy enjoying my body and the cool things I can do with it on the pole. The strength, the flexibility and the agility I need to perform pole tricks push my buttons more than any Daily Mail reader will ever understand. Their loss.

Finally, every pole dancer (not just professional dancers, women from all walks of life who pole dance for fun and exercise) I know with a pole in their home and children reports that kids love it, they climb up them monkey-style and put their mums to shame. There is nothing sexual about this. Nothing. It is a big metal pole fixed between floor and ceiling and to a child, it is a source of great fun and exercise. Frankly, I'd rather my kids played on the pole than sat in front of the Playstation for hours at a time.

Bit of a rant. Sorry. But a subject close to my heart.


October 26, 2006 11:52 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Well, quite Puss. I have now got a replacement spreader plate so my ten foot pole can go up again, and at every party I have ever had, men and women have had great fun climbing up and down, making fools of themselves and swinging like monkeys ( bringing a chunk of the ceiling down last time, hence the repolacement plate and replastering needed as the pole slipped off the joist and then a 6 foot trannie jumped on it...). Kids would be more than welcome to join in too, except I don't tend to invite kids to my parties due to the fact that we all like to get pissed and dance around til 4am playing air guitar and grooving to dad-house.

It's essentially a big climbing frame to exercise on. If you climb up and down the pole, it's quite knackering If you wiggle suggestively, it's saucy. But you can wiggle suggestively on a table to equal effect. Depends on what mood you are in. A big piece of metal is not a porn set.

October 26, 2006 12:11 pm  
Blogger Tim Worstall said...


It was Robbie Millen wot wrote that at The Times.

October 26, 2006 1:21 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

whoops - ta, changed

October 26, 2006 1:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A brilliant 'put-into-perspective' of a ridiculous story.

BTW, where can I learn to pole dance in Birmingham?


October 26, 2006 2:05 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Here you go, H, try these guys.

October 26, 2006 2:08 pm  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Ten foot? I am jealous. Mine's only about nine - low celings in my little cottage. Makes it difficult to do The Caterpillar (or Worm as Pantera calls it).

Totally agree with the climbing frame thing - last time I was in a park with a friend and his kids, I was hanging upside down off the climbing frame within seconds. The kids got bored before I did!

BTW - Can I come to your next party - sounds a hoot! We could 'pole jam'. LOL.


October 26, 2006 3:06 pm  
Blogger Leighton Cooke said...

Rachel, you're beginning to sound like Robert Swipe!

October 26, 2006 4:03 pm  
Anonymous The Morningstar said...

It's nice to see someone thinking of the perverts...

October 27, 2006 12:59 am  
Blogger Billy said...

How long before the Mail tries to ban maypoles?

October 27, 2006 2:56 pm  
Anonymous Jacqui said...

At last, someone else who refuses to bow down to the "PC" brigade!!!

Everything you have said echoes everything I have thought... Too many of us are looked down upon for our choice of fitness activity, and shoddy pieces of (I won't say it, I'm a lady!) like the peekaboo pole just reinforce the stereotypes. I'm assuming you are also a fitness pole dancer - good for you!!

A friend of one of our forum members recently had a very nasty accident with a peekaboo pole, she fell from it as she hadn't been warned that it wouldn't hold her body weight, and was extremely lucky to escape with only minor injuries.

I have a PROPER pole in my home - it's a permanent fixture in my dining room. My 5 year old son, my 8 year old nephew, my friend's 3 year old daughter... they all love to play on the pole. My son has become quite adept at climbing it. What's the difference between my pole, and the poles on the climbing frames in the playgrounds? Nothjing! (Except of course, that when he plays on my pole, he's in a secure, supervised environment, and on a pole that hasn't half corroded, meaning he'll get rust-splinters in his hands if he tried to climb it)

This is also a subject close to my heart, and I applaud you for tackling it so well!!!

If you're interested, we have pole dancers forum where you and your pole dancing friends would be very welcome...

Hope to see you there :)

November 14, 2006 12:54 pm  

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