That Mother-Daughter Pole Dancing Controversy Is Just Another Instance Of The Patriarchy At Work

Photo: Getty Images.
Just when we thought the patriarchy, the internet, and the judgmental world at large had already criticized all aspects of motherhood that could possibly be criticized (from our feeding choices to our jobs or lack thereof), they've now come after our mother-daughter dance parties. Is there truly no fun allowed in parenting anymore?
A video that movement artist Ezama posted in the fall has gained traction — and an additional 1.5 million views — since it was shared on Instagram this week by news site The Shade Room. In the clip, Ezama and an adorable toddler are laughing, doing some impressive twirls on a pole, and generally having a great time dancing to a Bob Marley song. It's a beautiful, loving, and joyful moment. And yet, commenters have flocked to the post to share their praise, criticism, and of course plenty of unsolicited parenting advice. Because what's a Thursday on the interwebs without nine gallons of pure unsolicited parenting advice?
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The judgmental comments run the gamut from “Baby on a stripper pole. Not cute at all!” to "Black dysfunction. Shameless mother" to "Give her a book instead of a pole" to "Hmm, no parks nearby?" to "If I want to teach a child about fitness we can go run to raise money for some charity events" (well aren't YOU just a saint and a half?) to much worse.
Did you get all that, Ezama? The trolls of the world have spoken, and they are dead-set that showing your daughter (goddaughter, in this case) just how much fun expressive movement can be is somehow going to be detrimental to her...health? In reality, anyone who takes one look at Ezama's career, her badass moves — and her enviable upper-body strength — can see that dancing is anything but detrimental to her wellbeing. And the fact that she's setting an example and passing along a foundation of strength, freedom, creativity, and confidence to this little girl is all the more powerful.
Plus, these criticisms almost all come from a place of both unnecessarily demonizing actual strippers and sex workers and unnecessarily sexualizing a child. Society already hypersexualizes far too many young girls, especially young Black girls, both in the media and on the streets. And it's time to put a stop to it. A kid wearing a dress is a kid wearing a dress; a kid having fun dancing is a kid having fun dancing. Even referring to Ezama and her goddaughter as dancing on a "stripper pole" is adding an uncalled-for layer of sexualization. There's no stripping going on here, folks.
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Perhaps this comment sums it up best: "WHO CARES IT'S HER DAMN DAUGHTER NOT Y'ALL'S." And for what it's worth, pole dancing seems like a lot milder, more fun, and more confidence-boosting form of exercise than kiddie Soul Cycle.

#PressPlay Sis got skills! Via: @frobabies @ezamathemovementartist

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on

Video courtesy of Instagram / @theshaderoom.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
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