I am all for changing the image of the WI and shaping their events calendar so it is more in line with the needs and wants of the modern women, however one WI in Devon has pushed the boundaries too far for me, personally and introduced pole dancing onto their schedule.
I am starting to feel hemmed in by the sex industry, there appears to be no safe haven where the images are not thrust into my face in the name of empowerment. Am I naive for thinking that the WI would not succumb to this worrying trend? Am I a dinosaur for believing that the WI, along with other pro-active womens’ organisations should be a place where women can discuss the effects of exploitation without actually buying into it?
Many would argue that pole dancing is empowering, builds confidence and is a fun way to burn calories but I cannot get away from the fact that it is a by product of the sex industry and no matter how you dress it up it still a little seedy and overtly sexual and I wonder how the women trapped in this industry would feel about essentially, free women glamourizing this and turning it into a leisure pursuit?
I know this in one of those grey areas that divides many modern, pro- choice feminists and I am sure we will be debating it for many years to come but my opinion, if you have not already guessed is, that we should steer clear of anything that normalises the values and activities of an industry that still exploits women on a global scale, every day.
Furthermore, try asking a young girl who has been trafficked and sold into this industry, forced to lap dance and perform sexual acts to earn just about enough money to buy her next fix as this is the only way to numb the pain and shame of her existence, try asking her if pole dancing is empowering and good for calorie burning.