Pole dancing storm is a PR man’s dream

My thanks to the Shaun Milne and the team at digital publishing company, Planet Ink.

Not only have they just completed a rather natty web 2.0 brochure for Holyrood PR, they also introduced me to the joys of page turn technology.

The upshot is that I am now an avid reader of the free newspaper distributed on buses and trains – even though I rarely use public transport. Since a simple explanation may be required: check out this link http://www.metro.co.uk/e-metro or click here  and it is easy to get hold of the e-Metro.

For my money, it’s much better than reading a news website or subscribing to RSS feeds – simply because  It still looks and feels like a newspaper. The pages make a nice swishy noise when you turn them. You can zoom in our out with a simple click. And even though they don’t do it yet, I know the technology underpinning this page turn platform (yudu.com) also allows video to be embedded.

OK, so you need a big screen and broadband to really get the most out of these page turn documents – but those aren’t exactly unusual these days.

Point is, without my copy of e-Metro it I would have probably missed this story, which by 8.30am had already brightened my day no end:

And If I hadn’t read that, then I wouldn’t have Googled to find the fine YouTube video at the top of  this page.

Who knows what the bosses at South Devon College (which caters for youngsters aged 14-19) expected when they put on a demonstration of pole dancing by the pneumatic Sam Remmer – you should read her Art of Dance blog here, even if it’s just to see the picture of “me at work”.

What other job could you turn up for wearing a pair of tiny black pants, areola defining gymslip top and leg warmers?

Few readers will be surprised that what they got (particularly for the second event, after word of mouth must have spread like wildfire) was a massive influx of teenage boys. None of whom could thereafter concentrate on lessons because they were too busy swapping mobile phone footage of the performance.

Obviously Ms Remmer is very image conscious and she pole dances for the health benefits and to keep herself trim. So she’s raging that the college tried to prevent her from videoing the event and using it for PR purposes – because that somehow suggests what she is does is seedy.

Let me be clear. I am a libertarian. I am open minded about lap dancing as part of the so-called “sex industry”, as long as it is well regulated. If both parties are happy and consensual with the transaction, then I  don’t see why men shouldn’t be able to pay for a scantily clad woman to dance for them – and for that woman to make a decent living in a safe environment.

I also fully understand that many women like to  take part in pole dancing as a purely fitness and health-related past-time – with no sexual overtones involved whatsoever.

But I’m sorry to have to break the news to those women that the other half of the population (ie men) are always going to struggle to think of it in non-sexualised terms. It’s also my belief that most women know this and that’s why most pole dancing classes are women-only affairs.

A nagging suspicion tells me that Ms Remmer is trying too hard to  play the bruised innocent. The lady doth protest too much. I know nowt about her, but I don’t thinks she can really be daft enough to have think this would pass off without causing eyes to pop. She seems like a woman who appreciates her own assets, so she must have suspected that her routine would send teenage boys into overdrive.

I defy anyone to watch the section of this video at around the 42 seconds mark and tell me there are no erotic overtones in a semi-naked woman writhing doggy fashion on a pole during a hip swinging, legs akimbo dance routine. Is it any wonder the row of heads (all boys)  in the front row for this performance are totally rapt throughout?

The resultant media storm (even making it as far afield as Australia) we can take with a pinch of salt. There may be a few sheepish high  heid yins at the college who will be a bit embarrassed to show their faces in the serious and arcane corridors of academia for a while. But I don’t expect anybody’s jobs will be on the line.

Indeed South Devon College has probably enjoyed a good deal of PR goodwill as a result- and certainly the wide-eyed (though I suspect deep-thinking) Ms Remmer has certainly enjoyed a profile lift she could only have dreamt off.

The whole thing has probably also been highly profitable for South West News Services, now known as SWNS, which is one of the UKs main press and picture agencies and a member of NAPA, where I hold a seat on the executive.

The only losers are the testosterone-tormented teenage boys who are no doubt being terribly sleep-deprived since watching the show.

And I’m not sure loser is really the correct term.


7 thoughts on “Pole dancing storm is a PR man’s dream

  1. The very fact you reference lap dancing, which has nothing whatsoever to do with this story, reveals your own prejudices. The whole point here is that the pole dance industry faces a constant battle against narrow-minded assumptions that it can only be a sexualised activity. Sadly, what your piece revelas is that the male gaze still thrives, even in those who claim to be ‘libertarian’ and educated. And your sly digs at Sam Remmer just compound this. Disappointing.


    • Well Puss,
      Thanks for the comment – even if you were showing your claws.
      Firstly, there was nothing sly about the digs. They were just digs.
      I’ve got precisely nowt against Sam Remmer and think she scored a big PR hit.
      Nor would I unduly want to see the college taken to task. It was an error of judgement by them – and ultimately a harmless one.
      There’s an old saying: “If it looks like a mouse, acts like a mouse and sounds like a mouse – then it’s probably a mouse.”
      The same can generally be said of men (not being a woman, I can’t speak for that particular gender).
      All I can tell you is that a fully clothed woman swinging clumsily round a pole would be totally un-erotic and non-sexualised.
      A woman wearing very little and busting the kind of moves normally found in lap dancing bars (hence my slip of the tongue) turns it into a “sexualised” activity.
      Sorry if you don’t like it. I know many women hate to hear that sexaul behavioural responses are programmed into men at a genetic of limbic level. But that’s the simple truth.
      Yes, all men have a duty to behave responsibly when dealing with those responses – but to expect us not to have them at all is asking the impossible.
      If this wasn’t a sexually-charged performance, then pray tell why so many teenage boys turned up with their mobile phones? And why did those same young men, sit rapt throughout?
      Do you think they show the same slavish attention to Dancing On Ice?
      Likewise, do you suspect their behaviour it was a purely social response driven by peer group pressure and media portrayal of pole dancing?
      Or do you accept that it was a fundamental response to primordial male hardwiring?
      I know which I think.
      The pole dance industry doesn’t face a battle against “narrow-minded assumptions” – certainly not from me.
      It faces a constant battle with the reality that, when performed well and by an attractive woman, it triggers an automatic erotic response, which can vary from mild upwards.
      Sorry if that doesn’t sit comfortably with you.
      There is nothing (and nor should there be) to stop women from pole dancing with other women in a fun and non-sexualised way. There may even be a small minority of healthy heterosexual men who don’t find it brings any sort of response from them.
      But sooner or later you’ll have to accept that good pole dancing gets a particular response from men.
      Then again, perhaps you’d like to pioneers un-erotic pole dancing.
      Somehow I don’t think it would be much of a draw for the very women you’re targeting.
      I don’t pretend to be any sort of expert in female behaviour – but I suspect that what many women like about it is that it’s flirty, a bit naughty – and yes a harmless turn on for watching men.
      But hey – why don’t you take all the fun out of it and tell me it’s purely a fitness regime?

      • in relation to your comment about being fully clothed, did u know that skin contact is crucial to grip to the pole and if she wore trackies she would not be able to do many of those high impact moves. This would be something you knew if you had actually tried it. I would be baffled if you attended one of her pole lessons and did not have any change of opinion. If people find this sexy then thats absolutely fine, however people who pole dance for sport should not be condemmed to a sex worker’s reputation! Do you find the horizontal bar in gymnastics sexy? or is it just anything vertical that resembles a phallis to you? Like i say everyone is entitled to find things erotic, just dont presume that your libido is what causes people to take up this activity.

        This performance shows more mallakhamb (a traditional male dominated indian sport) than anything else. Have you seen mallakhamb? Is it an erotic performance? Ms Remmer’s linking moves are neat, graceful and elegant… they are by no means sleezy.
        Oh and the digs at Remmmer about being image conscious??? I think you’ll find everyone is slightly, but is that the reason people play sport? or do gymnastics.

        By the way, if you do wish to try a pole lesson in plymouth, let me know and i will pay and attend with you.

      • Hey Em,

        Thanks for your reply – and the kind offer of paying for a pole dancing lesson in Plymouth.

        You are absolutely right that Ms Remmer displays grace, elegance and athleticism.

        Also, those who participate in mallakhamb do wear very little to allow the skin-friction contact you mentions.

        It seems pretty clear though that mallakhamb gymnasts don’t perform to breathy, bass-thumping tunes or perform doggy style humping movements or sexually-charged hip wiggling.

        Yes, there are similiarities between mallakhamb and Ms Remmer’s exuberant performance.

        But what are really pronounced are the differeneces. One is sexually charged, the other is not.
        I actually enjoyed Ms Remmer’s dance. I’m just not sure it was the ideal performance for a bunch of spotty and excitable teenage boys.

        But hey, that’s only my opinion – and I really appreciate you taking the time to share yours. Thanks again.

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