Are your offspring tired of the same old choices for sports and recreation? Are you looking for something new and different for them to try that will enhance their muscle tone, balance and fitness? Maybe you should consider a new youth program being offered by The Twisted Grip Dance and Fitness Studio of Duncan, B.C. It’s called “Little Spinners” and it teaches young kids, mostly girls, how to pole dance.
For just $70.00 an hour, (plus HST, of course) little Sally or Becky can writhe and cavort on a stripper pole just like the big girls do. The studio owner and instructor, Kristy Craig, defends the program, claiming she was merely reacting to a demand expressed by her adult students interested in the pastime for their kids.
“My existing students were asking about it for their children. They were saying, ‘My daughter plays on my pole at home all the time. I’d love her to actually learn how to do things property and not hurt herself,’ ” claimed Ms. Craig, a certified fitness instructor in a recent National Post report.
The enterprising entrepreneur asserts that the kids’ pole dancing classes, which feature children as young as five, are entirely devoid of the sexualization adults usually infer from a stripper pole.  It’s is just another sport in her eyes, complete with competitive meets.
“For competitions they actually have rules and regulations that there can be nothing sexual, or any article of clothing removed, and in some you aren’t allowed to wear high heels. The sexuality is being taken out of it. It’s highlighting the gymnastic, athletic and circus acrobatics aspect,” explained Ms. Craig. “I treat it just like gymnastic classes…. I don’t teach any of the adult moves.”
Despite her assertions of non-sexualized classes, the home page on Twisted Grip’s website (www.twistedgrip.ca) appears to tell a different story. The first thing one notices when viewing it, is that the ladies that are pictured engaging in the “sport”, seem to favor bustiers for exercise wear.  The next thing that may stand out in one’s mind is how rare, indeed, it is to find a fitness-oriented company selling spikey high-heeled shoes in garish colors.
The graphic that created the most controversy among the numerous respondents to the report, however, was of a young, perhaps ten year-old girl, in a tank top and shorts grinning as she hangs from a stripper pole with her bare leg stretched out perpendicular to the pole. The image, apparently a poster advertising the company’s “Little Spinners” youth program, was supplied by the people at Twisted Grip, according to the story’s caption.  Reaction to the poster ranged from the belief the image was a blatant sexualization of a young person, while a number made the assertion any sexualization of the picture was entirely in people’s obviously perverted minds.
Still, Ms. Craig was adamant the youth element had been de-sexualized.
“Do you see anything provocative going on here? Because there isn’t. This is strictly about fitness,” she was quoted as saying.
What some people see as the premature sexualization of young girls is not a new phenomenon in our society. There are often similar uproars over other attempts to push sexuality onto younger and younger kids, usually girls. There was, for example, a huge “push back” from the public in 2005 when ladies intimate apparel and lingerie retailer, La Senza, introduced a spin off for 5 to 12 year-olds called “La Senza Girl”. Many accused the company of profiting from immorality and the store eventually took the step of removing their exterior signage but maintained the “La Senza Girl” concept in a “store within a store” business model.
As well, a great many people take exception to the TV show “Toddlers in Tiaras” where very young girls are dolled up like beauty queens. The show, despite attracting over 3 million viewers to the TLC network that broadcasts it, was recently slammed by Miss America Laura Kaeppler.
“I don’t agree with those sort of programs,” Kaeppler indicated in an ABC news report. “I don’t think it’s the child who wants to do that necessarily. … I think it may come from an outside source. I think if you’re going to do something like [competing in pageants], you should do it because you want to.”
Former Miss America Vanesa Williams was in the news last May with similar concerns about “Toddlers in Tiaras” and it’s spin-off, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”.
“I think they don’t know what they are doing,” Ms. Williams stated during an appearance on the daytime talk show “Anderson”.  ”But when the child is screaming and saying, ‘I don’t want to do this, I don’t feel like doing it,’ when they are using special juice to get them hyped …”
The “special juice” Ms. Williams mentioned is a mix of highly caffeinated Mountain Dew with Seven-Up, according to host Anderson Cooper.
“Yeah, that’s not my world,” Ms. Williams stated, “and I would never have my kids do that.”
This same sentiment was a popular one with those reacting to the “Little Spinner” pole dancing program, as well. For the majority it’s all just so wrong.
Is this Sick, a sign of the times or OK? Let us know.