If you’ve been following the latest pole world events, you’ve probably already heard that pole was recently granted “observer” status with the Global Association of International Sports Federation. The news has set conversations alight throughout the pole community, as members worldwide discuss the pros and cons of pole becoming an Olympic sport.

Outside of the pole community, news outlets have spawned superficially composed articles, all featuring the predictable incredulous headlines, and articles rife with comments about stripping, clubs, and sex work. It’s clear we’re still living out our Puritanical beginnings, as conservative naysayers wring their hands over our sport’s origins.

While pole is in no way exclusive to women, it’s origins are female-dominated, and that trend does continue strongly today. This news arrives at a pivotal time in our society for women, as the #metoo campaign rushes across our Facebook walls, and as male abusers in positions of power find it time to pay the piper for their offenses.

As the GAISF observer status develops, it raises some important questions for our community. How will we as a community navigate this potential “legitimization?” Can we achieve a peaceful coexistence of pole as we know it, and also allow the mainstream adoption? Why is mainstream adoption important to us? As pole continues to become more mainstream, will we ride that wave and diminish our roots, or will we be able to leverage this opportunity to make a positive change in the larger societal view of erotic movement?

Our instructors and students at Body & Pole come from all backgrounds. Several of our staff and students took some time to consider these questions, and compose responses based on their experience with pole, and the changes it has made in their lives. In our next two posts, you’ll get a chance to hear what they had to say about Pole in the Olympics.