This isn’t as absurd as you might believe because this could soon become the reality.
The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) has granted ‘observer status’ to International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF). In other words, this means that it is recognised as a competitive sport.
Of course this doesn’t come without controversy as many believe that pole and pole sports should only occur in sleezy clubs. The general opinion of the naysayers is that if pole becomes an Olympic sport, it normalises the objectification of women since nearly everyone will link pole to scantily-clad women dancing on stages in clubs for the enjoyment of men in less vulnerable positions.
This goes further with some critics believing that pole sports are sexist due to the stigma they have acquired from strip clubs, and this sexualisation of women merely reinforces women’s subordination in society.
Pole sports have come a long way to rebuild their reputation after people tarnish any pole with the kind found under a spotlight in a strip club. Although it’s not your typical sport, pole still requires a certain level of fitness and strength, and it also fits a lot of the necessary criteria needed to be referred to as a sport.
Pole competitors are ruled on aspects ranging from the lifts they do, how long they hold a lift for, the amount of time between each lift and of course the total time allowed on the pole. Pole is signed up to the World Anti-Doping Agency and has 20 national federations. So pole is a growing sport in its own right after holding the first ever World Pole Championships 6 years ago.
Then as for people claiming that pole is sexist…men can do it too! There are no rules saying that men cannot partake, they (alike many women) just choose not to because of what they associate pole with.
Pole requires strength, gymnastics talent, creativity and fitness to fulfil and it is for men and women of any age. If someone wishes to try it out, they shouldn’t be judged – they should be applauded for trying something new and challenging. For those who believe pole sexualises and objectifies women, maybe that wouldn’t be the case if you didn’t sexualise and objective the sport they are trying to take seriously.