I have no doubt that pole dancing, as a press release for California's first pole-dance championship next month puts it, "requires strength, agility, flexibility, and endurance." Nor do I believe that pole dancing is "just posing against a pole" but rather involves "spinning, inverts, climbing, and power holds."
But what does it mean to elevate to a sport an act that originated in strip clubs and which symbolizes a woman's role as a sex object? We'd pause (at least, I hope we would!) if there were a competitive lap-dancing competition. But a similar argument could be made for making it a competition: a woman needs strong calf and thigh muscles to "dance" over a man's lap.
Pole-dance exercise classes have gone mainstream, so it's no surprise pole dancing has turned competitive. Women get enough reminders from the media that our jobs are to be sexually alluring — why not actually just learn a sport or emulate the acrobats who perform for Cirque du Soleil? At least a high-wire act doesn't come with symbolic baggage.
Do you think it's weird that pole-dancing is so mainstream that it has become competitive sport?