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by Alessandra Izzo aka Ally Cat

 

As you all know, the mystical creatures inhabiting our pole community are often reminiscent of Disney princesses, ninja warriors and Hermione Granger, all rolled up into packages of pure inspiration. In fact, it’s almost written into the fabric of destiny, that should you become a pole dancer, these qualities laying dormant in you will be awoken merely by undertaking the journey.

magical worldSo many of us are inspired by one another, lifted up by one another, and morph into better versions of ourselves because of each other. For this reason, the pole bubble is mostly a warm and fuzzy place where we can all leave the cares of the world behind us.

Unfortunately, certain elements of the outside world are so deeply ingrained within many of us that we can’t help tarnish the glittery pole universe with our unconscious prejudices. Which brings me to the topic of todays discussion: internalised misogyny.

Misogyny can be defined as: the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.

It is often overly simplified as “woman-hating”, but it is far more nuanced than this. Misogyny is any belief system or act that subjugates, demeans or devalues women, usually with the end goal of disempowering them.

misogyny milkMany of the foundations of Western society were built upon misogynistic practices, and many of the messages we receive and the way we are brought up cements these practices inside of us so that we end up policing ourselves, or judging other women for not conforming to misogynistic “rules”.

Anything that is a double standard between the sexes comes under the banner of misogyny: beauty; ageing; sexual practices; body hair maintenance; parenting attitudes; uniform policies; and much more. You can read more about internalised misogyny in this article. If you aren’t clear on what it is, I recommend you check it out.

Back to internalised misogyny and the pole world. Part of the problem many studios have in enticing new students into the fold is breaking through the barriers of internalised misogyny.

Image Credit: Diego Castillo Photography
Image Credit: Diego Castillo Photography

Did you know that as pole dancers, we break many misogynistic rules simply by being the outrageously hot, sexually liberated women we are, for nobody but ourselves? Treachery! Women should be looking after themselves in order to seek approval from men! Surely a woman sexy dancing for herself is a lie? She must be practicing for her next date, lol.

 

Obviously I jest, but this is why some men can be intimidated by us, and also why male trolls try to tear us down, call us sluts, or make cracks about us being strippers. It’s because the biggest threat to misogyny is an empowered and sexually liberated woman. And you know those female trolls? Yep, that’s right – internalised misogyny.

Image Credit: Don Curry
Image Credit: Don Curry

Guess what? Pole dancing is literally one of the best ways to empower a woman. We not only become physically, mentally and emotionally stronger, but we begin to claim our sexuality as our own, and confidently prowl around inside it without relying on compliments from others.

Yes, we become “motherfucking ninjas”, and yes, we become “unicorns”, but to take it back to the simple truth, we actually start to reclaim authority over ourselves. We take back our pieces that the misogynistic world has chipped away, from the time we were old enough to perceive differences between male and female.

Image Credit: KHAOTIC Images
Image Credit: KHAOTIC Images

Internalised misogyny is the reason why muggle women might look at us and think “wow, it’s impressive, but does she have to be so slutty?” It’s also why it’s confronting for beginner polers to walk into a room where the instructor is proudly displaying her gluteal folds. The longer we surround ourselves with empowered women, the more these “false prejudices” fall away.

Unfortunately, with the advent of “pole fitness”, and the “sanitised” versions of pole, there is a lot of side-eye going on within the pole community towards the exotic styles, and the more sexually liberated polers. It goes hand in hand with “distancing” pole from strippers and sex workers.

It was recently brought to my attention that there even exist competitions out there that refuse entry to anyone working in the sex industry. When I heard this I was flabbergasted. Fortunately in Australia we don’t have to deal with internalised misogyny at the competition level, but that kind of prejudice is the antithesis of what makes pole so magical to begin with.

If you have found yourself on a pole journey, whether you are a beginner or elite, I would implore you to educate yourself around internalised misogyny. You probably have some – most of us do. I have to check myself regularly, even though I’ve been trying to overcome it for years.

sexy dancer heelsMisogyny is everything pole dancing is not. It’s a system that will play you – always moving goal posts and waving non-existent carrots. Don’t buy into the game. Just strap those pleasers on, flip your hair about, and vagina-monster your way to pole liberation.

 

About the Author

ALESSANDRA IZZO

AKA

ALLY CAT

ally apcAlly is a restless entrepreneur and passionate creative with a Piscean idealism and an aversion to authority. Having practiced as a Naturopath and Massage Therapist for 6 years, she abandoned clinic work in 2014 to spend more time doing what she loved most: working with her pole family at Bottoms Up! where she has taught since 2009, and instructing 80’s dance fitness under her own creation RAD Fitness

It didn’t take long before her creative juices led her to conjure up Pandemonium Events, and under this brand she has produced and co-ordinated ten pole, aerial and variety performance nights.

Besides teaching and producing, Ally loves being on stage. She competed in the Victorian Pole Championships in 2013 and then again in 2015 where she won the VPC Amateur division and went on to compete in the national finals. She also joined APDM Editor Jane Blair and their Bottoms Up! family in a Rocky Horror group performance at Encore! 2016 (nominated as a finalist for Best Group Performance at the Victorian Aerial Awards 2016) and competed in the Pro Comedy division of Pole Theatre in 2016 and 2017. She was also honoured to be awarded the 2016 Trailblazer of the Year award at the Victorian Aerial Awards. 

Having toyed with the idea of starting a pole magazine herself in 2011, Ally watched the growth of Australian Pole Dancers Magazine with much interest, contributing articles to the publication before formally becoming a partner in November 2015. She loves being part of APDM as she feels it is something that the entire pole community can use as a means of connecting with one another, learning from one another and growing together.

2 COMMENTS

  1. In an article about ingrained misogynistic habits it would have been awesome if your editor had actually given CREDIT TO THE GORGEOUS WOMEN IN the images , rather than just crediting the seemingly male photographers and shutterstocks!?

    • Hi Jodie, thanks for the feedback, and yes, you are right! I suppose I just assume that our readers will recognise pole superstars such as Natasha Wang, Michelle Shimmy and Felicity Logan without needing to caption the images. Just as I wouldn't think to caption an image of Madonna 😉 haha. I credit photographers when I know who they are, or when I've been asked – but often to keep text clutter to a minimum I don't caption images. Maybe I should review this habit. While as mentioned in the article I know I'm not immune to internalised misogyny, I wouldn't agree in this case the lack of captioning is rooted in that reason. But I appreciate you pointing it out. Ally 🙂

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