LEARN ABOUT WO LEAD
Here at Wild Orchid, we believe that pole dancing serves to empower everyone of all body types and backgrounds, but we also recognize the intertwined history of pole dancing and stripping. While there are various manifestations of pole dance and pole arts throughout history, the shape that pole dance takes in the western world today would not exist without strippers.
It would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that the movements and aesthetics of pole dance are derived from strippers, who still face stigma for their work. Our organization stands behind the fact that sex work is work. The driving forces behind our Leadership in Equity and Diversity (LEAD) initiative are to educate our community about this stigmatization and marginalization of strippers, to teach pole dancers of all backgrounds how to advocate for sex worker rights, and to model the ways we all can do our part to dismantle whorephobia.
Why should pole dancers care about sex workers’ rights?
Although pole dancing has grown to include people besides strippers, we would be complicit in the daily violence against sex workers if we failed to acknowledge the origin of modern pole dance and its aesthetics. We see it as the responsibility of all pole dancers to protect the people more marginalized than us, whether that means standing for strippers’ rights if you’re not a sex worker, or respecting full service sex workers if you’re a dancer. Punching down at people who endure the most stigma will not solve the systemic misogyny that trickles over to pole dance in general.
How can pole dancers advocate for sex workers’ rights?
Education is a powerful tool for stopping the spread of harmful ideas and misinformation, and every pole dancer can arm themselves with credible, vetted sources. Responding to sensitive inquiries about pole dancing in a way that is empathetic to sex work is equally as impactful. Beyond these basic first steps, you can also get involved in political advocacy by donating to stripper labor movements, tipping sex workers who educate you, and getting involved in movements that are mobilizing against SESTA/FOSTA.