17/02/2016

I don't think 8-year-old girls should be wearing hotpants & crop tops whilst hanging upside down from a pole with their legs spread apart

I love This Morning, when I was at uni I watched it religiously every day - since starting working full-time it's one of the things I miss the most.  But I was quite shocked yesterday when I saw they did a segment about pole fitness classes for children as young as eight-years-old.

Not only did they discuss the controversial topic at length, they had young girls there spinning round a pole wearing hotpants and crop tops.  In the middle of the day.  On primetime television.  For all to watch.

The mums of the girls were there defending their decisions to enrol their daughters into these 'pole fitness classes'.  One explained how her daughter was bullied because she was fat and found this to be the only exercise she enjoyed.  Whilst another said her daughter had done gymnastics for a number of years and this was just the same, just with the pole a different way.

Another also explained how a pole can be found in most playgrounds and kids spin round that when they play.

Their defence was met with a huge backlash, though, from one woman in particular who believed that pole fitness classes for young girls over-sexualised the children and robbed them of their childhood.  And I have to say I agree with her.

Little girls should be doing ballet or gymnastics, or karate or cheerleading, or swimming or football or hockey - there are hundreds of sports available to them that are tailored to children.  Swinging round a pole doing provocative dance moves is not appropriate for children - and the defence that it is good for fitness is just crazy.

Why should girls as young as eight-years-old be taking part in a pole fitness class because it's good exercise?  Who cares about exercise when they're that young?!  A healthy, balanced diet and playing out with their friends is all that kids that age should need.

As if the whole concept of the pole fitness/dancing wasn't bad enough, the girls were dressed in hotpants and crop tops.  There is no need for girls that young to be wearing clothes such as that.  Fair enough at a dance competition girls wear short dresses or skirts and crop tops, but they don't do so whilst hanging upside down from a pole with their legs spread apart.  

I accept that pole dancing is an excellent form of exercise and can be seen as an art form - I've seen some women on YouTube do it at competitions who are incredible.  For grown women to do it, I think it's totally and completely fine.  If I knew somewhere local that did pole fitness classes I would give it a go myself just to see if the fitness benefits are really that great.  But I don't think it is acceptable for children.  

If children want to do gymnastics, there are gymnastics classes.  If children want to do dance, there are dance classes.

There is no need for them to be wearing skimpy clothing whilst wrapping themselves around a pole at the tender age of eight.  EIGHT!!  At eight I was still doing swimming and trying my hand at karate.  I'd play out on a night with my friends - playing 'blocky' and 'kerby' - and I'd go to the park.  

Yeah I might occasionally climb up the fireman's pole at the playground but whilst wearing grubby trainers, jeans and a knitted jumper I was in no way emulating what takes place at these pole fitness classes.

It is unfortunate that pole fitness is immediately linked to pole dancing in clubs.  Maybe if it wasn't then these classes for kids would be just as innocent as a dance or a gym class.  

If parents are genuinely happy to take their little girls to these classes, and have no concerns about their wellbeing and safety as a result, then that's their decision.  I, personally, would want to keep my little girl as a little girl for as long as possible.  I wouldn't want to dress her older or see her doing activities that usually would be carried out by girls ten years older than them.

Little girls should be in tutus or football kits enjoying their childhood and enjoying being a little girl. Children today seem to have lost the same sense of childhood that we had.  They all have iPads and smart phones, with kids as young as ten having an iPhone and Snapchat.  The world is an incredibly dangerous place since the internet and social media became even more dominant and, I personally think, parents should protect their children from this for as long as possible rather than introducing them to activities that propel them into adulthood way before their time.

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