In an epic flash of inspiration I wrote this status on Facebook last night, and it's so good I want to embellish on it:
"I used to joke around about being a slut. I used to tell people how “slutty” I was. I was even in the Slutcracker for god's sake! But I've come to despise that word and I'm vowing never to use it again. I realize a lot of people have reclaimed that word and turned it around to mean "sexually liberated" and stuff. The “ethical slut” book. “Slut pride” and all that. But I'm not a slut. I'm a pleasure activist. I seek out intimacy with others because my love for people is so embracing that I want to explore it. I'm a sexual being. I'm so sexual that unenlightened people see me as something to be objectified, made fun of, or insult. I'm a sexual alchemist. A sexual wizard. I have no hang ups. And I walked away from society's stigmas about sexuality, gender, and taboos a long time ago. So when I express myself when I dance, or chose what to wear when I'm doing so... I'm just being myself. That's the problem with people who identify with being "slutty". They lack the ability to recognize in themselves their position of empowerment in society. In your heels, your fishnets, your g strings, pasties, dance the erotic dance for yourself and the pleasure of those worthy to watch you. To all my sexy pole dancing friends, you know who you are, stop referring to yourselves as sluts and referring to your pole dancing as slutty. There is nothing wrong with you that you have to keep that self loathing misogynistic word in your vocabulary. Don't degrade yourself any longer."
I want to share a few of the comments from that status:
“I hate the word slut as it degrades the love of sex. Something so amazing should never be shameful.”
“You can also say that it's a word meant to control women's behavior. Be a good girl. Good girls don't do that. You don't want to be a slut, do you?”
I want to add when you refer to a man as a "slut" you are also effeminizing him, referencing him as a “woman who has low standards of cleanliness” according to the dictionary. Gay men call each other slut, whore, cunt, bitch and all the other derogatory terms used on women as a joke and a sarcasm. Which is another reason I do not like hanging out with certain “types” of gay men. I find them tacky and offensive. I will tolerate my faerie friends calling me “gurl”. There is a feminine side of my personality which is very much a girl and I embrace her. But she’s a fucking princess. Come to me as a Tantric, address me as a sexual shaman, embrace the beauty I embody that is sex. Cunt, nigger, slut, and fagot should be words that never pass people’s lips.
So now I want to show you the picture that inspired my post:
I guess it’s just kismet or something but I was actually watching a documentary about male strippers when I saw this photo. The men in the film "La Bare", directed by Joe Manganiello, show the amount of work it takes to be a successful male exotic dancer. That includes being muscular and fit, wearing next to nothing, and having a sweet attractive respectful personality for women to make their money off of. And this guy looks… “stripper-ish”... "go go boy-ish". And it brought to mind the prejudices I experienced dancing in bars. Most of the guys were nice with the occasional asshole who thought he had the right to talk down to me like a piece of trash. Because I must be some low life punk kid with no education, or a coke snorting air head with a nice body and big cock. A himbo. Good enough to spill drinks on and throw dollars at for a lap dance but not to have an intelligent conversation with. Meant to be fondled, but not respected. One time I was talking to a client in the bar about politics when his drunk friend came over to me and said, "Shut up! Just get up there and look pretty." What those guys didn't know is that I was a classically trained ballet dancer that had an entire dance career before I decided to be a part of the adult entertainment industry. When I was dancing the Nutcracker and touring nationally with the Kirov Ballet I never imagined one day I would be swinging my dick around a pole. And I’ve made a career of that too. But now let’s get back to calling ourselves sluts. And let’s agree to stop calling each other sluts even if we are just kidding around.
This post is not about people slut shaming us, it’s about slut shaming ourselves. Internalized slut shaming. I've always been "slutty" since before I knew what that meant. I guess what I mean is I've always been sexually aware of myself. Or connected to a deeper erotic part of myself others termed slutty. Other people called me slutty from a young age and I believed them. I just accepted it and made a joke about it, because I didn’t have another word to describe myself. I even reinforced other people’s perception of me being "slutty" by wearing provocative clothing and over sexualizing my behavior. At 15 years old I realized that my eroticism had effects both positive and negative on others. Like an aura that people reacted to almost immediately when I met them. And worse attracted sexual predators by the droves. Of course this all blew up when I decided I wanted to do adult entertainment. I became a target for others self loathing and self hatred. I never started doing adult entertainment (I hate the word porn too) to rebel against anybody, or shock people, or prove to them how slutty I could really be. I didn’t start stripping or become a pole dancer to prove I could out slut all the other guys. I started making videos because I made the decision to share myself intimately with a million people (literally). I started pole dancing because I saw other guys doing it and thought it was awesome. And that’s the truth. I wasn't “acting out”, or trying to “find myself”, or “humiliate myself”, or make money doing it. Because I never really have. I expressed myself and I used the camera to catch my self exploration, my sexual journey, for posterity. And I am so glad I did. Because it has separated the wheat from the chaff in my life. All the people I repulsed by deciding to walk this path scattered from me. I attracted the people who accepted me for being the fucking awesome being I am.
Do you know I was talking to a guy in a bar after my shift was over when I was working in Norfolk, Virginia and he said to me circa 2008, “How does it feel to be the biggest slut in Hampton Roads?” Yes that happened, and he was referring to my videos. It caught me off guard because one moment he was nice but immediately turned bitter and hateful when those words came out of his mouth. I said, “It feels liberating.” Then he had the balls to tell me how humiliating, trashy, and SLUTTY it was to be me. Because I celebrate my sexuality and my body and do it in front of other people. Here is the hard truth: It’s ok to admit that you watch and jerk off to porn, but it’s not ok to do it. It’s not ok to be the performer. It’s not ok to be the stripper. The one taking your clothes off. The one getting fucked. Because the person who is being objectified has to be dehumanized for the unenlightened viewer to “get off”. Calling yourself or another person a slut is dehumanizing. I never allowed anyone to dehumanize me. And the few people who actually hurt me with their words were people I thought were friends. The reaction I got from my ex husband when he found out I was doing my adult videos via text was, “I never want to talk to you again.” As if somehow my sexual expression reflected on him poorly. That I embarrassed him somehow. And If I can quote a “friend” I once had during an argument, “You're a whore, and you'll always be a whore.” And that was written because he was angry at me for not getting something he wanted. That was via text also. It’s funny how people feel they can text you and post shit about you online while hiding behind their phones and computers. So people like me, and probably you, are targets for self loathing people who are sexually repressed and oppressed. When we refer to ourselves as sluts we are taking that baggage off their shoulders and carrying it for them. We are taking their prejudice glasses and putting them on to look at ourselves in the mirror.
And now let’s apply this internalized slut shaming to our industry. There has been a lot of talk this past year in pole about strippers vs. gymnasts. Who owns pole? The fitness professionals or the… sluts? We have talked about Pole Fitness Championships having the right to ban adult entertainers from competing in their competitions. Like my dear friend Lux ATL said, "nobody can question that". Anybody can throw a pole comp and set the requirements for competing however they want. But is that ok? Is it morally right? I understand that there are some women who want to disassociate the exercise they have fallen in love with from strippers, because strippers are slutty. But a lot of women fell in love with pole dancing because it gave them permission to express a side of their sensuality, eroticism, and sexuality that had been bottled up for their entire lives. They fell in love with pole because it was kinda slutty. So there is this huge divide. Women who want to call the pole their vertical gymnastic apparatus and women who see it as a symbol of sexual expression, liberation, and feminism. And now children are doing it. I am going to tell you where pole really comes from an set the record straight on who the pole fitness industry belongs to once and for all.
Since time immemorial nude and half naked women (and men) have been dancing around phallic objects in celebration of life and fertility. They not only danced around phallic objects, they also danced around images of the vagina. Dancing sexually provocative to arouse members of the opposite sex has only been around for 30,000 years. Dancing around a "pole" is as old as the first profession, prostitution. And the first industry, starting a fire. Exchanging some sex for food and shelter, striking rocks together, and dancing around trees and dicks is kinda it for our species. But human beings are creative always finding new ways to entertain themselves. They invented all kinds of games, sports, and gymnastics to keep themselves amused. That included gymnastics with a pole, contortion, and other circus arts. We have all these “roots”. So nobody owns pole. Modern pole dancing and fitness is just a continuation of an ancient ritual, dance, or sport somebody thought was a good idea thousands of years ago. So I have once and for all time settled this argument for the pole industry. And I doubt any of our ancestors would describe themselves as slutty while doing those things. So why should we? Why would you worry if somebody thought you were slutty? We are not ignorant people, most of us seem pretty enlightened or on the way to enlightenment. I understand when people have to be discreet about their pole classes because they live in places, have family members, or have jobs that would act abusively towards them if it were found out. I get that and everybody does not have to be “out of the pole closet”. Ether pole because you love it or get the fuck out of it. I must really love it or I wouldn't have hung around the past 6 and half years to watch it grow.
So if you were paying attention to all my shenanigans over the past few months you might have heard I ran a few Facebook groups on "Stripper Style Dance". I recorded and posted my tutorial videos in two groups one for only women and one for only men. Something alchemical happened during the filming of the content. Especially the videos I shot for the men. For them it was "get in shape and learn how to move like an exotic male dancer". Yes I KNOW how to move sexy, but the videos I made got more and more tribal. They became more and more primal and sexually charged. I got in touch with my "roots" and in doing so I felt empowered by completing the process. If I showed random people the videos I made I would probably hear everything from "hey that's hot" to "hey that's stupid". I would hear "that's really slutty" or "wow man you're so open". I get emails all the time from guys thanking me for being so sexually open and vulnerable. To cut to the chase... I like dancing sexy, even explicitly, I like to grab my cock when I dance... I like taking off my clothes while I am dancing. I like finding new ways of doing it to keep my audience entertained. I like teaching this shit too. I think it's pretty liberating for women and men. To all my pole sisters and brothers let's never use the word slut again. Because we are empowered sexual beings, not something to be degraded. Never be ashamed of anything you are.
Now if you think that was awesome... time for a special announcement: Pole Royalty is producing the Mr Pole Dance America Competition on November 5th in Marlborough MA! Check it Out.