As a girl who defined herself as a ballerina from ages three to 21, I’ve had the argument over whether dancing is a sport or art many times over. I don’t care what any guy friend says: it’s both. Hey, you try and make dancing on your toes look effortless!
An article in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald raises a whole new argument: is pole dancing art or sport? Casula Powerhouse Art Center in New South Wales thinks neither because t chose not to display a photo series of pole dancer Zahra Stardust in its women in sports exhibition, “Onside.” Photographer Belinda Mason was commissioned by the Liverpool art center to take the photos, which included shots of Brooklyn Jackson, a gridiron player, Melissa Combo, a longboard surf champion and Stardust in her pole dancing outfit, among others.
According to the Herald, the art center’s curator, Toni Bailey, explained in a email why it wouldn’t showcase photos of Stardust, whose breasts are shown in the picture:
”We can appreciate that the intention of the photograph is to suggest that the subject is empowered however we are convinced that not everyone will read it in this way. Of course as an art centre we don’t want to censor artist’s expression but the issue is more complex because we have commissioned the work. It is a very provocative image, which is your intention I know, and we have given it much thought however we can’t include it I’m afraid.”
Stardust, a human rights advocate and law school graduate thinks otherwise. She maintains that her image empowers women, and not to include it in Onside “perpetuates hierarchies of what constitutes a ‘proper’ sport, traditionally a male-dominated area.” Not to mentioning the sheer core-power and strength it takes to not only hold yourself up on a metal pole, but also move and spin with ease! There’s a reason why the activity has also been transitioned into a popular workout class.
I tend to believe the image could be seen as either empowering or demeaning to women: take your pick on whether pole dancing liberates or exploits sexuality. But you’ve got to hand it to Stardust what she does is certainly requires a hell of a lot of strength and confidence, and it would have made a provocative part of the exhibition.
What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments!
Contact the author of this post at Sarah.Gray@TheFrisky.com.