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.