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Netflix's Strip Down, Rise Up uses pole dancing to empower women -- at the expense of pole dancing's sex worker past

  • "Sadly, the documentary spends little time discussing sex workers and the role they have played in the popularization of pole dancing," says Adrie Rose. "There is no mention of those who sell sexual fantasy or gratification to make a living, which feels like a glaring oversight. After all, it is sex workers who revolutionized the art form. They create the tricks and 'flash' that make competitors like Bond so popular, getting little to no credit for the trends that sweep through pole classes. Due to this oversight, the documentary’s aim of highlighting feminine empowerment falls flat. And it suggests that the narrative of power and agency is only available to a specific, nontaboo group of women. This is especially disappointing because the opportunity to positively frame sex work in documentary film is so rare. Too often these stories are given a traumatic treatment or conflated with trafficking, flattening the lives of complex women. The agency of sex workers is equally important and it deserves equal screen time."

    TOPICS: Strip Down, Rise Up, Netflix, Documentaries