You have a cool new hobby that makes you feel good about your body and makes you feel strong.. but how do you break the news to your family? How many times have you heard this - "You pole dance? Oh, like a $tripp3r, right?" or cue weird comment from guy you don't really know. And then how often have you responded "No! Not like $tripping. This is for fitness, it's really more like gymnastics" You make an attempt to distance yourself from something that is socially frowned upon.
We want to take a moment to share that neither of the cool cats who write this blog have been $3x workers, and have not had the experience of dancing in gentlemen's clubs. We do, however, have students who are currently or who have been $tripp3rs and $3x workers. We're only able to write from our limited experiences, so when you come across "we" in this post, know that we're referring to people who pole dance as a hobby.
The urge for recreational pole dancers to distance themselves from $tripping, $tripp3r culture, and $3x work in general is fairly common, especially with newcomers. And we understand; being associated with $tripp3rs can seem like something we don't want, and if you've done this, no worries! We're not here to shame anyone, we just want to share a more positive way to think about it. So let's discuss!
Like everything else, pole dancing has roots somewhere, right? We've all no doubt heard that pole has it's roots in India originating in Maharashtra, known as Mallakhamb , or that it came from chinese pole. And maybe it did. We don't know, we weren't there. But we do know that what we enjoy doing in our free time doesn't quite look like either of those.
(But look at how cool!)
Pole dance (as we know it) has its roots in the "Little Egypt" traveling shows of the 1890s. Fun fact - Little Egypt was the stage name of at least 3 women. "One of the women, a belly dancer named Farida Mazar Spyropoulos, was nicknamed Little Egypt backstage due to her large size, and was said to have stolen the show out of all of the dancing girls. She famously danced to the song 'The Streets of Cairo' " [source]. If you want to learn more about these women, click here . These traveling shows featured $ensual belly dances and were performed mostly by Ghawazi dancers. Later, in the 1920s, they began dancing around tent poles to pull in crowds of people.
(Little Egypt - seen here being beautiful.)
From there, this style of dance eventually made it's way into clubs and bars and incorporated elements of burlesque, $triptease, and crazy athletic moves. Fawnia Mondey, who was a $tripp3r, brought pole dance to muggles with an instructional video in the 1990s and later with classes.
What we do as a hobby absolutely comes from $3x workers, $tripp3rs, and $tripp3r culture. Whether or not we like the way it sounds, we are appropriating that culture and while it's completely irresponsible and incorrect for us to answer the question "oh, so you're like a $tripp3r?" with "ew, no way", we should also not claim to be $tripp3rs unless we actually are. The style of movement $tripp3rs use is specifically done to arouse people and to make money, where as pole hobbyists movement is more to make ourselves feel good (not that making money or knowing that you've aroused someone doesn't feel great and powerful af).
"So... you pole dance? Like a $tripp3r, right?"
Yes! What we do is like a $tripp3r. Kinda. Not really. It's a hobby and not currently a profession. Thank you for thinking we have the grace and sensuality to be one! Now excuse us as we try not to snap our dang ankles in these 7-inch Pleasers.
Okay, since you've read this far, we wanna talk about why $tripp3rs and $3x workers as a whole deserve respect and why we should make an effort to not stigmatize their work.
• They're humans, and humans deserve respect (this should be the end of our list, but we've got more reasons if you want more ☺).
• We love what they do! If you enjoy pole as a hobby, you enjoy an important part of what $tripp3rs do (being a $tripp3r is more than just pole dancing itself)!
• They're strong, engaging, and graceful! Ever tried dancing to a 3 minute song? It's exhausting! They do it regularly, and with all the $ensuality in the world. We (Tammy and Gaby) do it for 1 min and we need a break to gasp for air and complain.
• $tripp3rs and $3x workers are advocates for positive social and political change and often work to improve working conditions for other people in their industry, and they look good while doing it. Learn more about advocating for $3x workers here & here.
• They're doing a job. As boring as that sounds, what they do is work, and anyone with a job deserves to have a safe and clean working environment, and deserves to be able to do their job with dignity. $3x work is real work. Let's not be weird about it. ☺
• Women shouldn't put other women down. It's hard enough out here for the girls, gays, and theys. Be kind to each other and lift one another up.
Now get out there and support $3x workers.
(This little lime guy has nothing to do with anything.
His creepiness just ticked our funny bones.)