ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Video of a fitness routine featuring a pole is making the rounds on social media.
Why? Because it features kids.
The company, named Gympole, sells “professional pole equipment” that is portable and can be used in the comfort of your home.
One ad features young girls swinging on one of them in their backyard. The video has garnered millions of views as well as thousands of shares and comments.
Many view it as a sport and form of fitness, while others liken it to sexualizing children.
“Pole sports? really? come on.. This is a stripper pole.. You are teaching little girls to be pole dancers.. Don't try to sugarcoat it,” said Braden Hutson.
“This advertisement is feeding into pedophile culture. I mean I guess you got the reaction you wanted to create a buzz, but all I see is little girls at the strip club,” said Charrel Cryer.
But, Summer Serenity said, “It makes me happy to see this commercial done with children. It helps take away the negative associations that society has, while also showing its a fun and a good sport. A great way to be active and fit!”
“So why not address those comments and concerns? I have no issue with this now being a sport for kids. But fact of the matter is. The pole is at present, associated with strippers,” said Carol Spahiu.
As Spahiu pointed out, the pole is widely associated as being used in strip clubs. But, is that view starting to change?
We did some research and found that pole fitness competitions are growing in popularity. A Florida contest features anyone from ages 10 and up.
The semi-pro competition features transitional dance or movement between poles, spins and inner thigh holds.
The professional competition features handstands, splits and a static pole move.
According to their website, here’s the difference between divisions:
“Age and skill level. Novice divisions are for athletes aged 10-14 years, Junior divisions are for athletes aged 14-17 years. Semi-Pro and Professional divisions are for athletes aged 18+ years. Novice and Junior divisions will consist of both Semi-Pro and Professional level athletes.”
In the United Kingdom, pole classes for kids seem to be more popular. One fitness studio offers it to kids as young as five years old. The owner told the Birmingham Mail that pole dancing is “just another form of gymnastics and is being put for consideration as an Olympic sport in the future.”
Much closer to home, we found pole fitness classes being offered in Ocoee – a city that’s part of the Orlando Metropolitan area.
Foxy Fitness Studio and Pole offers pole classes no matter the age, but doesn’t specify if kids are allowed or not. They do have certain classes catered to children such as aerial fitness and Zumba.
In Miami, the owner of a pole dancing studio opened up classes to children and teens, but faced backlash.
© 2018 WTSP-TV