Sisterhood Blog

Why I Can No Longer Ignore the Striptease-as-Fitness Phenomenon

By Elissa Strauss

  • Print
  • Share Share
urbanstriptease.com
(click to enlarge)

When striptease-as-exercise first appeared on the fitness scene, nearly a decade ago, I was positive that it would be a flash-in-the-pan fad. So I just ignored it, and haven’t paid it much attention since. But then, just the other day, while checking out the on-demand exercise classes on cable, I saw that one of my options in the dance category was “Urban Striptease.” Come on, Time Warner Cable! I then discovered that in addition to this class, there was an entire category of workouts titled “Sexy for Summer,” under which there were classes such as “Sexy Chair Routine” where it was recommended that I “use the unique combination to flirt!” Combination of what — sexy and chair? — I wasn’t sure.

Well it looks that while I was busy ignoring striptease-as-exercise, the genre has become increasingly popular, spreading around globe. Just this past week, newspapers in Mumbai, India, Antioch, Calif.,, Tampa, Fla., and Bristol, England have written about the arrival of these workouts, which can involve stilettos, feather boas, and “sexy pouts.”

Even conservative Fox News has declared that stripping has become mainstream, in a recent column by Jenny Block on the news channel’s website. “Why?” Block asks in the intro to her story. “Because all preconceived notions aside, stripping is sexy.” Block’s explanation for the appeal of striptease is that it builds confidence, and “exercises the brain” in the art of seduction.

Block is right: Stripping has gone mainstream, and if the proliferation of these classes don’t prove it, I imagine the recent hi-jinks of underage starlets like Miley Cyrus, who incorporated pole-dancing in her dance repertoire, and “Gossip Girl” star Taylor Momsen, who has developed a taste for stripper shoes, do.

While I don’t doubt that some women find playing stripper empowering, this is certainly not the only — or the healthiest — way to boost confidence. I imagine that activities like yoga, surfing, buying a new pretty dress, going dancing, or even getting into some feminist erotica might do the trick, without encouraging women to partake in direct reenactment an industry that commodifies women for the enjoyment of (often, inebriated) men. I am certainly not the first to question the logic behind this women’s empowerment argument, a point succinctly, and hilariously, made a few years back on an episode of “The Colbert Report.”

Watch the clip here:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Difference Makers - Johnna Mink
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

There is a movement to disassociate pole-dancing with its ties to adult entertainment (and phallic associations) and turn it into a legitimate sport, which is a reasonable idea. But I would bet that only a small fraction of the growing numbers of women getting into the exercise see it this way.

Or am I being too conservative here? Clearly, I can’t ignore striptease fitness anymore, so should I just get with the program, loosen up a bit, throw on a boa, and take a few lessons on the right way to shimmy? Everyone else seems to be doing it. I love dancing, have never considered myself a prude, and have no issues with doing a little extra something in order to attract the opposite sex. But I just don’t think I can. I have no problem with sexy, but I am still choosy about whose version of sexy I replicate, and, well, stripper sexy will never be my sexy.

I just wish Exercise TV and Time Warner Cable saw it that way, too.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Striptease, Strippers, Fitness, Exercise

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.