Pole dancing for the lover of your soul.

28 Mar

Okay, so, apparently there is a fitness studio in Houston that offers a free “Pole Fitness for Jesus” workout on the second Sunday of each month after church.  Only Christian music is played, and to get in, you have to show your church program.  The proprietor, Crystal Deans, is a former dancer who decided to bring the parts she liked about dancing into the studio.  Judging by Deans’s quotes in the article, she’s encountered a lot of criticism (which I would expect, being that she is in Texas):

“Just to get past the whole stigma of the whole thing, I’m very Christian. I go to church every Sunday and I pray. I talk to God things like that I think there’s nothing wrong with what I do. I teach women to feel good about themselves, to feel empowered and we get in really good shape. God is the only person that judges so anybody who wants to judge me, feel free to but I’m good with God, so that’s what’s important to me and I really don’t care what people think.”

Two points on this.  One, while I think the idea of pole dancing to Christian music is…incongruous (I mean, are they working the pole to a techno version of “My Jesus, I Love Thee”?), I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Christian pole dancing classes.  The classes appear to be women-only and fitness-oriented, and Deans isn’t encouraging the women to go out and get hired.  And, more generally, anything that (a) promotes fitness and (b) helps women feel sexier is a good thing.  I know the manosphere likes to get all up in arms about how women these days have too much self-esteem and fat 5s think they’re slender 9s, but the average woman constantly compares herself to women in TV and film.  That is why you have things like the fat acceptance movement (women who have surrendered to futility) and widespread plastic surgery (women who refuse to give up).  Telling women “Hey, fatty, just go on a diet” isn’t very helpful because most women tie their value to their looks, and therefore rejecting a woman for her looks means rejecting her wholesale.

Second, Deans’s statement that “God is the only person that judges” is the kind of statement that makes the hairs on evangelical ears stand on end for traces of impostor-ism.  Deans may be relatively new to the faith and therefore has not yet become fluent in Christianese, but the proper way to say what she said is, “I felt God calling me to this ministry to other women, to help them heal their self-image issues that they are burdened with in this culture of superficiality.”  Saying “only God can judge” is tantamount in Christian circles to saying, “nyah, nyah, you’re not the boss of me!”.  It’s much better to frame anything controversial as a “calling,” which is very personal and therefore nearly impossible to refute.  Plus, by labeling something a “calling,” you get irrefutability PLUS Christian cred by the implication that you and god are tight.

 

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29 Responses to “Pole dancing for the lover of your soul.”

  1. Simon Grey March 28, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    “I teach women to feel good about themselves, to feel empowered and we get in really good shape.”

    Because God is really concerned about these things (oh wait, he’s not). God is primarily concerned with man’s spiritual well-being; everything else is a very distant second to that.

    Using her faith to promote her business is a marketing ploy, as evidenced by the superficiality of her concerns, making her business one of the strangest niche businesses I’ve ever seen.

  2. Will S. March 28, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    While I don’t think there’s anything wrong per se with Christian women having this sort of fitness class, nor learning such things to take home for their husbands’ enjoyment; nevertheless, I fear this is just evangelical church culture once again aping the world, rather than focusing on more important matters. And that’s the greater tragedy, of contemporary evangelicalism.

  3. Paige March 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Simon Grey- A certain amount of self-esteem is required for a good sex life. If a woman has lots of negative self-talk she will be loath to act in a sexual manner around her husband.

  4. Anonymous March 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    I know the manosphere likes to get all up in arms about how women these days have too much self-esteem and fat 5s think they’re slender 9s, but the average woman constantly compares herself to women in TV and film.

    Yes, sadly, it is possible to have extremely low self esteem, while still considering every single male in your church to be utterly beneath you in mate value.

  5. Helvetica March 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    When I hear Christians say stuff like the following:
    “Only God can judge…”
    “We are all sinners…”
    “God told me it was ok…”

    Those and similar statements are nothing but a big, active, Christian RATIONALIZATION HAMSTER.

    Granted, Christian pole dancing for married women may be ok, but it is kind of a naive assumption to make that all-girl classes will never be tinged with sexual overtones. Women strut their stuff to other women all the time, it is a way of showing reproductive superiority. So even a Christian pole dancing class full of married women is going to be full of women trying to prove that they are better pole dancers than others, and therefore better mating material. I guarantee that this environment will not help anyone’s self-esteem.

    Furthermore, this strikes me as one of those cases where while technically someone might not be sinning, it still falls under the “appearance of sin” category. Kind of like a girl saying, “well it is ok for me to live with my boyfriend as long as we don’t have sex”. Which may technically be true, but it is a case of “how close to the line can I go without crossing it”. Still wrong.

  6. Simon Grey March 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    “A certain amount of self-esteem is required for a good sex life.”

    And religiously themed pole-dancing exercise classes are a good way to accomplish this? Please explain.

  7. Simon Grey March 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    “Furthermore, this strikes me as one of those cases where while technically someone might not be sinning, it still falls under the “appearance of sin” category. Kind of like a girl saying, “well it is ok for me to live with my boyfriend as long as we don’t have sex”. Which may technically be true, but it is a case of “how close to the line can I go without crossing it”. Still wrong.”

    @helvetica- agreed. One’s mindset should be focused on getting as far away from sin as possible; it should not be focused on seeing how close to the line one can get without actually sinning.

  8. theprivateman March 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Way off topic but worthy of a possible future post here:

    “We’re from the government and we want to help you with your marriage”

    http://theprivateman.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/uncle-sam-wants-you-to-save-your-marriage/

  9. Paige March 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    “And religiously themed pole-dancing exercise classes are a good way to accomplish this? Please explain.”

    I’d prefer belly dancing classes.

  10. Thag Jones March 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    I’d prefer belly dancing classes.

    Me too. Much more fun. And also, are all these people planning on having poles installed in their houses so their husbands can benefit? That would be pretty tacky.

  11. lifeinlonglegs March 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    “Using her faith to promote her business”

    The real issue here is ought people prostitute their faith for business [or any other purpose].

    The Bible tells us not to judge ‘lest we shall be judged’ however this references SALVATION. We are not to judge others with respect to their salvation. We are absolutely, 100% supposed to discern [not condemn…discern] according to scripture whether we are glorifying God or not – whatever we might be doing. And? We’re to look at what others are involved in through the same lens. The difficulty comes when we beat others over the head for what they are doing rather than living out the righteousness Christ died for by following Him in our own lives.

    In the world.
    Of the world.
    Fine line… to be discerned by scripture.

    In this case, it would be worth asking whether the pole dancing ‘self esteem boost’ is actually a boost in self esteem, and if so is it worshipful – is this the kind of worship God asks from us? Does pole dancing really give us identity as a sexual being, or are we sexual and celebrating that God-given gift? Is this the best forum to celebrate it in? Could we cause others to stumble? Could we evangelize some non-Christians with a ‘ministry’ like this? WHAT WILL HONOR AND GLORIFY GOD THE MOST? That’s the key question of our decisions…or I purport, should be.

  12. jack March 29, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    I suppose we could tuck some religious tracts into her G-string, then?

    A lot of recent converts want to bring as much of the world they knew along with them into the Kingdom. As such, they will get their hamster spun up good, to try and find some way to sanitize the artifacts of their former lives.

    And the comment about no one judging but God sounds more like a taunt or a dare. It is probably not the place for recent converts to assume such expertise in this area.

    The most irritating thing here is that she wants to play the “for Jesus” card.

    If you wouldn’t do it in FRONT of Jesus, then don’t do it FOR him. She’s trying to hide behind religiosity, since she KNOWS (perhaps subconsciously) that simply offering poledance lessons would imply that she was still “being worldly”.

    But with massive bravado, she claims it is “for Jesus”, and now she instantly is immunized from criticism.

    Such is the mind of the new believer. Saved, but often just as foolish as before, and needing a lot of teaching.

    She can be forgiven, because she is new to the faith.

    Anyone in the church who indulges this foolishness – well, that’s the real problem.

  13. Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life March 29, 2011 at 4:48 am #

    The question for this blog is… does she get dates?

  14. Paige March 29, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Devils Advocate here:

    Do we know for sure that Jesus does not approve of pole-dancing? I think her marketing tactic is just plain silly, but if she just hosted a pole-dancing class geared towards married women and instead of using Christian music she used just regular dance music without offensive lyrics, then what would the problem be? Dancing is a legitimate mating ritual, isn’t it? Pole-dancing is a combination of rhythmic movement and gymnastics. It is highly successful in strip clubs because it is a highly effective means for a woman to advertise her fertility. Her limberness on the pole shows off her healthy youthfulness. The rhythmic movements spotlights her hips and alludes to the sexual act.

    Why should the unmarried get to have all the fun? The married people have a legitimate right to enjoy the mating ritual.

  15. Hana March 29, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    My only reaction to this is that it sounds very strange.
    Take out the “Pole Dancing for Jesus” title and the Christian music, and it would seem so much less bizarre.

    (Although, if you grew up schooled in the “Reformed worldview”, like I did, all spheres of life belong to God and can be used to glorify God, etc…so I suppose that would include pole dancing?)

  16. CSPB March 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Not to be polemic, but I think a name change to “Gyrating for Jesus,” would be poetic.

  17. Thag Jones March 29, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Ah ha ha ha! CSPB for the win. I feel like I’m following you around the Internet to laugh at and agree with you lately. Stop making me feel like a frigging puppy! *woof!*

  18. Old Guy March 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Anatole France wrote a story about this, although I think juggling works better in the narrative than Miss Crystal’s pole dancing.

    Seriously, does the “average woman constantly compare[ ] herself to women in TV and film”, really? This sounds strange to me. Women, women I know , have genuine problems with self-esteem because the don’t look like Angelina on her best day? WTF? They don’t seem retarded in other aspects of their lives, so what’s this?

    If women who are not idiots think like this — no quibbling about the meaning of the word “average” here — that’s pretty sad.

  19. CSPB March 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Well, Thag since we both like to hang out with the cool people, it is a small world. I could make a long serious logical comment, but humor often gets the job done much better.

  20. lifeinlonglegs March 29, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    “If you wouldn’t do it in FRONT of Jesus, then don’t do it FOR him. ‘

    Exactly. If we were aware of the reality of God’s presence with us at all times, IN us as Christians no less – there are so many things we would be delivered from. But we deny Him.

  21. Thag Jones March 29, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    “If you wouldn’t do it in FRONT of Jesus, then don’t do it FOR him. ‘

    So would you make love with your husband in front of Jesus? (I’m not being facetious, just seeing if this statement actually works as a yard stick).

  22. Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life March 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    I dunno… the last time Jesus was up on a pole…

    Or am I the only one that sees the irony?

    I like the way she kept her stripper name though.

  23. Will S. March 30, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    @Thag:

    Re: “So would you make love with your husband in front of Jesus? (I’m not being facetious, just seeing if this statement actually works as a yard stick).”

    I think when Christ returns, most people will stop whatever they’re in the middle of doing. Moreover, I doubt anyone would say they are carrying out normal marital relations FOR Jesus, per se, even if they do so in a God-honouring way (within the confines of marriage, etc.).

  24. Thag Jones March 30, 2011 at 5:04 am #

    Will, I get it, thanks. I figured that would be the answer after I posted (always after I post, duuuuh).

  25. Paige March 30, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    @Thag
    I was thinking the same thing. There are a lot of things I wouldn’t do in front of Jesus. Sex is one. Using the toilet is an other. I probably wouldn’t use a toothpick in front of Jesus.

  26. Thag Jones March 30, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    I don’t think I’d even talk in front of Jesus, unless He asked or told me to. And what about talking about Jesus or doing things to spread the word? I wouldn’t presume to do any of that in front of our Lord and Saviour. I’d pretty much just shut my trap and wait for orders, maybe kiss His feet or something. Ah ha! So foot fetishes are in!

  27. Brendan March 31, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    It’s more tacky than anything else.

    Pole dancing is primarily associated with stripping and the sex industry. Do we really want our mates emulating strippers, even if they only strip for us? I guess different men would feel differently about that, but to me it’s trashy and tacky.

  28. Jason April 13, 2011 at 1:26 am #

    Would I mind my future wife learning pole dancing or belly dancing?
    Not at all, so long as I was the only man benefitting from her “education.”
    That said, “Pole Dancing for Jesus” is tacky. If she’d advertised it as, “Enhance strength and fitness through the medium of a vertical chromed bar, while building up your feminine sensual self” I would find it more palatable.

  29. Jennifer August 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    Agree totally on all points!

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