Gympole pole dancing video sparks parents' anger
A POLE dancing company has sparked online controversy by using prepubescent children performing stripper-esque moves to promote a backyard pole-dancing kit.
The 35 second advertisement for the GymPole product features slow motion footage of young girls as they swing around the pole, which is designed for adult use.
The video has been viewed more than 1.8 million times since it was uploaded eleven days ago and 3500 comments have been left, many of them angry.
According to the company, "we just wanted to promote juniors in pole sports as we think they are super talented".
But others have accused the company of unnecessarily exploiting children in advertising and "feeding into a paedophile culture."
"Pole dancing originated in strip clubs and men - rightly - associate pole dancing with sexual arousal. These girls are innocently having fun and have no idea that men may be getting off on this," wrote one commentator on Facebook..
But others defended the advertisement saying "it makes me happy to see this commercial done with children. It helps to take away the negative associations that society has [with pole dancing], while showing it is a fun and good sport."
Parenting author and teen girl educator, Dannielle Miller said that adults should not view innocent childish play through a sexualised lens, or shame girls or women based on clothing choice, but still had concerns with the production elements of the advertisement.
"Surely these feed child predator's fantasies?"
On the other hand, Professor Catharine Lumby from Macquaire University says that pole dancing is increasingly seen as a legitimate form of exercise.
"We know we need to encourage young girls to exercise. I did my own form of pole dancing, improvised around a Hills hoist when I was eight years old," quipped Professor Lumby.
"Pre-teen girls love dancing, mucking around and showing off. They enjoy gymnastics and the big danger here is that maybe it's the adults who are sexualising them rather than them sexualising themselves."
"We need to be very cautions of imposing adult ideas on young girls," said Professor Lumby.
In Australia, pole dancing classes for under 12's have taken off in recent years.
PoleAthletica studio in Sydney's Surry Hills offers pole-dancing classes for children aged between 6 and twelve.
The PoleFit Kids program runs for ten weeks at a cost of $229.
Beach Fit Dance studio in Newcastle also offers two pole-fitness courses for children: one for children aged under 12, and one for children aged 5 and under.
"This class was started due to the high demand from our existing clients - they would bring their young children to the studio and the kids would run straight to the poles!" says the website.
"They love spinning and trying new moves, even at a young age."