I want to start this off by saying that I have nothing bad to say about strippers; in fact, many many years ago, I used to be one (we'll save that for another post... or book). But, there's a few important differences between the two.
So, what's my motive for writing this? Who cares, right?
Allow me to explain. I recently installed a massive pole in my living room for the sole purpose of exercise (and probably a few girls-only nights), and I've received some uninformed hateful comments and DM's on Instagram after doing so.
This year's Super Bowl Half-time show included a pole performance from J-Lo and Shakira, which received far more hate than I even have followers. People were criticizing the women for their "sexual appearance" on stage, but those two women are in their 40's and 50's, and in my opinion, if I can look or perform like that at their age, I'm winning!
It's funny to me; no matter what you do, you'll receive hate from someone. You'll offend someone. So, I try to live my life by hurting the least amount of people (and animals), but also, by realizing that people will still get hurt, regardless of how "perfect" I attempt to be. As long as my intentions aren't malicious, I don't live apologetically.
So, here we go. Strippers work in clubs. They can also work at bachelor/bachelorette parties, private parties etc. They usually take off all of their clothes, or at least the top half. They usually perform lap dances and have regular clients that pay to see them perform. Strippers must be at least 18+ depending on the city they work out of. There is usually more of an alcohol/drug/party atmosphere with strippers, but there also doesn't have to be.
Pole dancers sometimes work at certain night clubs as "go-go dancers", but don't take their clothes off. They can also compete in competitions (check out https://www.polesportorg.com/ for a few examples). Pole competitors don't have to be 18; even some children compete. Competitors are not supposed to be sexualized; it's more of an art than anything. However, some of the adult-only competitions can get pretty risqué.
For me, pole dancing has been an outlet. A good workout. An expression of me. Some people say they "get lost in the music", and I can relate to that. I feel strong when I dance, but I also feel feminine at the same time (which is rare for me). Take out the Miley Cyrus booty shakes and suggestive tongue movements, and you have an extremely hard-to-replicate art and athletic performance.
It's funny, because with the rise of this "New Age Feminism", has come a barrage of both hate and support from men and women. On one side, you have women supporting strong women, and men appropriately admiring them. But, on the other side, you have masses of conservatives criticizing and hating on women who express themselves in this way.