It Happened To Me: I Stopped Taking Pole Dancing Classes Because Some Skinny White Bitches Killed My Vibe

Hi Jen!

I saw all the criticism on your post from XoJane pop up all over Facebook and Twitter yesterday, and my heart really goes out to you. From one writer to another, I know how hard it is to see hundreds (if not thousands) of people you don’t even know tear apart the very writing that you poured your heart into. Granted, I was thoroughly impressed by Pia Glenn’s thoughtful and timely response to your piece. Kudos to her for jumping in on the conversation while being able to push aside whatever racial hatred she must have been harboring for you to be able to write such an articulate article. In any case, regardless of all the criticism that you’ve been getting for your op-ed, I’m writing this because I can totally relate to your story.

Let me explain.

You see, for my New Year’s Resolution I decided that I was going to master the art of pole dancing. Yes, you read that right. Ever since I wrote my senior thesis on strip club culture in hip hop last spring, I have been obsessed with the phenomenon of pole-dancing and I decided I was going to get in on the action. Sure, I hadn’t stepped inside of a dance studio for three years, but I figured it would be the perfect way to shake things up and get back in shape.

I was right. As I strutted in the studio, I was floored at how good I still looked in my itty-bitty sport bras and booty shorts. My waist was small as ever. The contours of my calves and thighs shimmered in the spotlights. Even my leotards from high school looked brand new, as the panty lines sprouted out of the crack of my booty with just enough fabric in between to show off my round and perky buns.

I didn’t just look good. I looked flawless.

But when it was time to get down with some chair spins and body rolls, I was so put off by these skinny white women around me that I could barely hold on to the pole.* They were so chubby and uncoordinated—and their cellulite was just dizzying! On top of that, their pale skin would turn freakishly red from all the stress and pressure of trying to dance on the poles. I felt so self-conscious; there I was looking like Nicole Williams swinging around from one position to the next and all they could was stare and curse me under their breath with their racial angst. I could see it in their eyes: no matter how hard they tried to twerk, they would, never, ever have an ass like mine. Even worse, I don’t know enough black magic to inflate their pancake butts.

Tragic.

So here am I am on my couch, distraught by the divide between my white sisters and I in the pole dancing movement. I haven’t been back to that predominantly-white pole dancing studio in midtown because I was so traumatized by my experiences of going there. Yet I feel compelled to go back and do something about this. There is something we need to change about the system to accommodate these women that can’t dance on beat and are borderline anorexic. Like you, I wonder if I would have made a difference if I had just walked up to one of those poor women in class and asked them if they needed help. “Is this 2 Chainz song too fast for you?” “Would you prefer some Taylor Swift, instead?” “Or some Macklemore?” “Is it me? Is my body too much for you to look at? Because I can just put a white sheet over my head and stand in the corner as if I’m not here so you can focus.”

It’s just so unfair. There is a whole world of exotic dancing out there that is so in love with my chocolately curves that white women are struggling to be recognized. It speaks directly to the imbalance in America’s race relations today. My body has so many different functions and is expendable to so many different people and in so many different realms: it’s a (sexual) commodity, a producer of offspring, a comic relief, a chair, even. Your body is, well, primarily just your body.

My concluding questions leave the two of us at the same predicament: how can we shake our asses on these poles at the same tempo when catchy, ratchet hip hop beats can’t work for everyone? How do we make pole dancing and the ideal stripper booty not open to only the Georgia peach booty, but inclusive of every type of booty? And while I understand that my blackness made me more coordinated than those white chicks I interacted with at the studio, it is my self-awareness of my privilege, of my body, that still drives the need for unity.

It will take some time to figure this out, but I know we can do this! I’ll admit, I’m still a little traumatized, so for now I’m taking pole dancing classes at this studio uptown where I’ll feel safer and more focused. It’s in Harlem, so I’m assuming it’s for coloreds only.

*In case you didn’t realize it yet, I like Pia, am a black woman, too. I hope that won’t be a problem. And no, Pia and I are not related. 

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One thought on “It Happened To Me: I Stopped Taking Pole Dancing Classes Because Some Skinny White Bitches Killed My Vibe

  1. Pingback: Real Talk: My Overweight Pole Dancing Instructor is in Better Shape Than I Am | Twerked

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