Thursday, 15 April 2010

More pole dance related rage

Firstly I must apologise for the lack of blogging! As you can imagine the run up to the local elections are keeping me busy (click here for my political blog) and I have had no internet access at home which has limited me further. Anyway since I spoke to you last I encountered a problem that has really upset me.

For those of you who have ever tried to organise a pole dancing event for charity you may have experienced similar problems to me; I do understand that some people still have a negative view of modern fitness pole dancing and they are entitled to their opinion, however I was gobsmacked to hear that St Luke's Hospice whom I have worked with on several occasions in the past declined the offer of our charity on the grounds that they were worried about what there older fund raisers may think about pole dancing. Bear in mind that the art of dance performed at the St Luke's Xmas Disco before Xmas giving up our Thursday night and hiring a van to take our outdoor stage to the venue. Having worked with St Luke's before I expected them to understand the nature of what we do and not have an issue with us performing in public to raise money for what I believe to be a very worth while charity. 

In response to St Luke's concerns over their 'older members' perhaps they should bear in mind that I have worked with the Women's Institute and Watch Ashore groups and have had ladies up the age of 93 pole dancing. I have performed at the Women's Health fair for the past 3 years and have seen women of all ages having a go at pole dancing with a very positive response. The Watch Ashore group were so impressed with the art of dance they have asked us to headline at their 2011 National conference.

The other concern that came from St Luke's is that we were dancing outdoors in front of member's of the public? We were dancing in front of members of the public at the Xmas disco (see picture below) so I really can't see the issue there? 

What makes the whole situation worse is that St Luke's work closely with the Plymouth calendar girls whose calendar is aimed at the male gaze with lingerie shots and stocking clad girls? How can this sit comfortably with the charity yet our gymnastic pole dancing does not?

I know that it is not just me that has had issues finding a charity to work with and the NSPDS event experienced similar problems when they tried to get a charity, ironically they now have the support of St Luke's Hospice!!!

Despite my concerns I would hate to think that people might read this blog and decide not to donate money for charity, that would be the last thing I would want as St Luke's do an amazing job looking after those with terminal cancers. What I would hope is that in the future charities like St Luke's could be a little bit more open minded when they make decisions on who they work with. The whole sage left me feeling very upset as I work so hard to try to make fitness pole dancing acceptable and to get people to realise that pole dancing is not the same as lap dancing.
This blog does have a happy ending as we have been given the support of wonderful local charity called the Drake Foundation who do some truly amazing work within the city so it is a real pleasure to have them on board. I am really looking forward to working on our planned pole dancing event that will have a truly athletic feel to it and will not be for the faint hearted - Watch this space!!!

Stay healthy,

Sam x


5star said...
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Unknown said...

Sorry to hear this story Sam. I know how you feel.

I was astounded by a women's aid/liberation Charity that cast us out of hand because of our 'roots'. This was whilst I was researching the Charities that the NSPDS (National Synchronised Pole Dance Squad) could support.

My eyes were opened at the prejudice against us simply for being who we are and enjoying what we do. We have always kept within the remit of our British Legal System and we'll be embarking on our first National Vertical Bar Gymnastics Championships next year with the aim of getting IOC recognition for the Olympics in 2016.

We are a group of liberated women who want to encourage other women to be empowered, confident and liberated themselves. It's almost as if these Charities are saying 'yes we want to liberate women, but only to a certain extent as is suitable for us. We must remind them of their would do no good to move on from that!!! I understand that some people exist in the past and feel comfortable there. That is fine, but they should not be running Charities to help protect and liberate other Women if they lack the skills to protect and liberate themselves.

And then I came across a children's charity that supports no bullying/prejudice in the playground. I was dismayed at the hypocrisy and contempt that they showed us when I asked if they would mind us supporting them! The prejudice they have shown us, is absolutely no different to the prejudice shown to little Johnny in the playground who is ignored and left in the corner, because of the colour of his skin. No difference at all!!!

I was saddened for days after being rejected by these various Charitable organisations. As a person with a Christian background and well founded Christian values and beliefs it saddens me that people seem to have ignored our Christian teachings completely! Without meaning to preach, if Jesus were here now he would be absolutely enraged at the hypocrisy, the prejudices cast by people and the judgements. So why after 2010 years have we still not learnt? Very simple teachings, spelt out very clearly, we hear the truth when it speaks, yet we choose to ignore it, because it's just not convenient.

I'm not upset that we've been rejected, it's the reasons for the rejections that saddens me. That members of our British Community can be so pious, judgemental and non-accepting of people.

However, charities are not obliged to accept our support and funds, neither should they fear repercussions if they refuse to, therefore I think the best learning for us as Fund-raisers is to be more discerning as to where we donate our funds. The charities and their Management have their own reasons to deny our support. We have no choice but to respect that. We might not agree with them, but it is their choice.

The NSPDS will be convening soon Sam and it will do us good to form guidelines as to the most appreciative and worthwhile charities to support. Our ladies, I feel sure, would prefer to get right behind the Charities that hold no prejudice against us. With full gusto I expect!

Meanwhile, the Charities I have come across so far, that hold no prejudice against us(having checked with the Management) are Macmillans and HelpforHospices.

I'm sorry you've had this experience Sam, but it will all come to good in the end :-)x