Members of the Maltese pole dancing community have taken to social media to defend their discipline after a provocative viral Facebook image struck a nerve.
Using the hashtag #sorrydad, Maltese dancers sarcastically apologised for what they do while pointing out how it actually empowered them in response to an image that featured the text: “Tent poles are not for dancing. Please find alternative ways to disappoint your father”.
While some social media users people took it lightly, others seemed to agree with the sentiment in the photo, leading to the local pole dancers to voice their disapproval at the picture’s seemingly humorous attempt to warn people not to dance on tent poles.
“#sorrydad I failed you as a daughter and became a strong badass who does pole dancing and is strong enough to kick the ass of those who don’t believe in me,” said one woman in response.
The photo, which is an international image that has been doing the rounds online, led to local dancers, teachers, and enthusiasts showing some pole dancing positivity in the comments section.
“#sorrydad for finding a sport that I can pour my soul into and for getting the best support, laughter and love from my pole family anyone could ever wish for,” said another, as more and more dancers piled in while posting photos of themselves in impressive poses.
“#sorrydad that some people think I look like a whore because I can lift myself, train hard, focus, am determined, and dance my heart out,” said one woman who didn’t mince words. “But mostly I feel sorry for the people who are so shortsighted they feel threatened by strong women. #sorryforyou,” she ended with a fresh take on the hashtag.
A couple of comments did seem to confirm that some people saw pole dancers in a negative light
“Always some desperate whore humping a pole wanting the attention her daddy never gave her,” said one woman, seemingly in agreement with the photo’s intent.
Marissa Bose, a gold medallist and professional pole dancer and instructor, spoke to Lovin Malta about the how parts of the local pole dancing community were feeling
“I’ve been teaching pole dancing for fitness for years now, and when I see comments like this I normally ignore them or shake my head and sigh. To me and many people around the world, pole dancing is seen as an art form, similar to lyra (aerial hoop), silks and other aerial arts,” she said.
“It is tiresome sometimes, to have to defend your craft, your passion,” she continued.
“Luckily, I haven’t had any backlash personally but comments like these can be so damaging and serve no purpose other than to shame women. Pole dancing requires a tremendous amount of discipline, strength and flexibility to lift your own bodyweight and perform tricks and poses. Besides the health benefits, it gives people a safe space to be creative, to push themselves, to teach them how to do things they never thought possible, and to make friends for life,” she said.
“I see people’s confidence soar after taking a few classes. That is the most rewarding part of my job. I don’t want to see their hard work belittled by someones ignorant comments.”
The original poster eventually clarified their position, saying they hadn’t meant to judge the dancers for their passion, but had posted the image with the focus on the pole tent line, and not the part about disappointing their fathers.