Student Unions tend to be trigger happy when it comes to banning things, from Newspapers to Israeli speakers and the most recent example being the flurry of bans on Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ alleged pro rape song. Swansea Student Union, not to be outdone, has decided to ban the University’s Pole Fitness Society, a group aiming to help people improve their fitness using poles.
In an email the Swansea Student’s Union told the society: “Pole fitness and pole dancing are a direct spin off from lap dancing. Can we separate ‘pole fitness’ from ‘pole dancing’? We believe that you cannot, because whatever you name it, pole ‘fitness’ or pole ‘dancing’, you are still participating in the social context of what the pole represents. Everyone knows where it comes from, that pole dancers are to be found in strip clubs and sex establishments and that pole dancing is a dance form specifically designed to sexually excite the watcher. Pole dancers are almost always women, and watchers almost always men.
“Although ‘pole fitness’ is sold as an empowering activity, we believe that women have been deceived into thinking this is a way of taking charge of their sexuality and their own decisions. Moreover we believe that it is just a further debasement of our culture and another sign of a creeping backlash against women’s true empowerment and a show of misogyny.
“Women as a class are detrimentally affected by activities such as ‘pole fitness’ which upholds and bolsters sexist attitudes and behaviours… it is normalising the practice to the wider group of young women and girls who see work in the sex industry as a viable option. As a Student’s Union, we should not be deaf to the very real issue of ‘pole fitness’ playing a part in upholding this Raunch Culture and objectification of women and girls and the impact of this on our female students.”
Is this the student union empowering women by making their decisions for them? It’s a tricky one, and I’m sure there will be a few responses to come yet.
UPDATE: I just had a thought, don’t men also take pole fitness classes?