Pole dancing, burlesque, & sexy chair

If you’ve ever looked at my instagram, you can see that there are a lot of photos of me in not a whole lot. I’ve been pole dancing for fitness and fun since mid-2018 and I’ve been enjoying it. It’s made me fitter and stronger and I’ve had insane amounts of fun. More than pole dancing, I really enjoy aerial pursuits as well – but I’d decided right after starting at the studio that I would try anything once.

I’ve taken classes called “Exotic”, “Aerial Showgirls” and most recently “Sexy Chair” – initially the labels scared me, but I forced myself to get past the label and in the end, they’ve been a tonne of fun (even when I’m not very good at it). It took a while for me to be confident enough to post photos of myself on Instagram, but since doing it I haven’t had a single problem. Not a single negative comment. And in fact, the positive comments have made me feel so much better about myself. I started “Sexy Chair” this term, and though I am not good at it (and about as sexy as a drunken giraffe) it was fun and because I was proud of what I accomplished I posted it to Instagram. Again, no negative comments.

Screen capture from @tjburgin2015

But something happened a couple of days later. I went to show someone a video of a trick I was really happy with – and they told me I could show them, as long as it wasn’t a video from Stupid Chair. They objected to “Sexy Chair” – but not because I was wearing heels, or necessarily what the dance actually entailed, or the angles at which I filmed myself. Because of what it was called. Because it was labelled as sexy. I was irked by this. I don’t really know why it annoyed me so much – except maybe because it came across as a bit narrow minded. That evening I actually went to a burlesque show. It was amazingly fun, but I came away feeling a bit hollow again. Because the person who had made the comment that morning, had told me that there was nothing wrong with burlesque. I saw more butts and boobs in two hours of burlesque than I had in six months of pole. At no point in “Sexy Chair” had I ever taken any clothing off. We’re not learning about lap-dancing or stripping or anything. It’s a dance that involves a pole and a chair – so what is it about the word “sexy” that makes it so wrong?

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