At Wild Orchid we honor the intertwined history of pole dancing and stripping. While there are various manifestations of pole dance 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 studio 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.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to know more about the work we do at WO LEAD, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
10 ways pole dancers can be allies
Take the time to educate yourself and others, and don’t contribute to the stigma. Check out our links and recommended book list below!
Don’t use dissociative and harmful language such as calling sex workers “dirty” or saying things like “I’m not a stripper. That’s gross!”
Don’t use harmful and unnecessary hashtags like #notastripper.
Donate money to fund sex worker-run organizations and programs. To start, you can check out our list of recommended orgs below. Also, your donation is tax deductible!
Support full decriminalization of consensual sex work in your community.
Acknowledge the historical influence of stripping in modern pole dance.
Sign petitions for the repeal of SESTA/FOSTA and vote.
Attend Wild Orchid and Bloomington events that are raising funds for sex worker rights.
Respect the privacy of any sex worker sister/brother at Wild Orchid and beyond.
Remember that you will never be a perfect ally. Progress is an ongoing mission. Acknowledge your mistakes, continue to educate yourself, and take corrections gracefully.