Published on November 19, 2013 | by Catherine Van de Stouwe

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Pole dancing ban U-turn by Swansea SU

Pole dancer in action

Swansea University’s Student Union admitted they were wrong to ban the Pole Fitness Society after a massive student protest [flickr: _dChris]

Swansea University’s Student Union (SUSU) have admitted they were wrong to ban their university’s Pole Fitness Society.

SUSU angered students and pole dancers in October after condemning the activity: “Activities such as pole fitness contributes to an atmosphere where women are viewed as sexual objects and where violence against them is acceptable,” the union said in a statement, adding the exercise is “inextricably linked to the sex industry”.

The U-turn came after protests led by the president of the Pole Fitness Society, Bethan Morris.

In an interview with Swansea University’s newspaper, Waterfront, Morris said: “We are [happy] that the union has apologised for their mistakes and that the situation will not only be rectified for pole fitness but that new legislation will be put in place to stop it happening to any other society.”

A student referendum was held last week resulting in the society being re-affiliated.

SUSU president Zahid Raja told the newspaper that “more student input was needed” when trustees were discussing matters that affect the student societies.

New skill

Students at UAL seem largely positive about the idea of pole dancing as a form of fitness. Joel Tshienda, a film practice student at LCC, said: “You should be allowed to do whatever you want to do. If you want to pole dance, pole dance.”

Speaking about the ban Ellie Buchanan, committee member of UAL’s Pole Dance Fitness Society, said: “One of the concerns of the trustees was that it is women dancing and men watching. We have a couple of boys in our classes who by no means came to watch; they are interested in improving their own bodies and learning a new skill.”

Pole dancing has become a popular way of keeping fit for both women and men. Zaki Musa, a male member of UAL’s Pole Dance Fitness Society, said: “Pole [dancing] has a new label for itself: Pole art. Performers are aware of the stigma and they might play to it, which is not wrong, but the beauty lies in bringing pole to a whole new level past its ‘eroticism’.”

Pole dancing is becoming increasingly popular among students and an inter-university pole dancing competition now takes place annually, with Cardiff University being last year’s winners.

 

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