Is the WI Trying Too Hard to Be Hip??

Is the WI Trying Too Hard to Be Hip??

 

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.

9 comments:

  1. alexclarkewriter

    You are not alone filling hemmed in by the normalization of the sex industry. Top post! I have been busy gathering artists for a charity event for million women rise and have been flooded by pole dancers volunteering. I feel sad that dance for women has become less about their story being told through movement and more about the provoked reaction.

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  2. Katherine Birch

    Totally agree with you Jane. I remember being sat on a beach on North Wales a couple of years talking to a friend of a friends’ teenage daughter. She proudly told the assembled group of people that her father had bought her a pole for her 18th birthday and pole dancing lessons to go with it. I was appalled, as was everyone else there- including her own group of friends and their assorted parents. To say that it has health benefits is ridiculous! There’s a million and one things that provide a good cardio workout but that doesn’t mean we should dress them up and promote them as a valid form of exercise. It is all too easy to use the excuse that those taking part don;t feel exploited or degraded so it’s just a bit of fun and all ok but where is our sense of community and collective responsibility? What about the image we project of ourselves to our children and the rest of society? Are we saying that pole dancing is good for you? That being sex worker has its benefits? Or even that we should look “sexy” when we’re exercising?

    Like you say, pole dancing is a by-product of the sex industry and the sex industry is abusive, degrading and destructive to every person connected to it. It’s a sad time when people cannot see this! Argh! Powered on by rage first thing on a Monday morning now!!!

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  3. Diane Honeywell

    Well said Jane. I should think that the Pankhurst’s are spinning in their graves to think of what they went through to just get us the vote! We should all vote with our feet or gym memberships and get fitter a more befitting way. I for one go to Shotokan Karate with my kids regularly, its a great way to encourage and gain self respect, confidence, fitness both in mind and body. Also a fab way to meet new friends.

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  4. Ian Cartwright

    I think mentioning pole dancing provokes a similar reaction to massage. Both pursuits can have a seedy side, but both can be very healthy and wholesome.

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    1. janekenyon

      Thanks for comment Ian but I cannot agree that pole dancing is healthy and wholesome! Each to their own eh?

      Reply
  5. Ailsa Baker

    @girlsoutloudorg unfortunately a lot of people don’t realise that actually pole dancing comes from circus skills – vertical-bar. Any sexuality associated is down to the instructors choice in routines etc. Well done to the WI for recognising a great circus skill and competitive gymnastic sport that is great form of weight training exercise, the most effective for losing weight.

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    1. janekenyon

      thanks for this Ailsa, the art has definitley been hijacked by the sex industry then – what a shame!

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  6. Claire

    Absolutely anything, if you choose to see it from that perspective, can be deemed seedy or demeaning to women, men, children,animals…..

    I choose to see it as a fun way to keep fit. Good on the W.I who are world renowned for actively promoting women’s issues, charities and feminist principles.
    The W.I should be congratulated for changing public perception of this 100 year old charity and once more bringing together communities in a time of much need.

    What next? Should we wearing make-up and pretty clothes because it is demeaning or too reminiscent of some poor woman trapped in the second trade.?

    Reply
    1. janekenyon

      thanks for your viewpoint Claire and long live make-up and pretty clothes!!

      Reply

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