Swansea University pole dancing exercise class axed for 'sexist attitudes'
A SWANSEA University group which uses pole dancing for exercise has been banned for 'upholding sexist attitudes'.
Swansea University Students' Union trustee board voted to ban the Swansea Student's Pole Fitness Society, after concluding the activity was "inextricably linked to the multi-million pound sex industry" and "upholds and bolsters sexist attitudes and behaviours".
The group's appeal to the board to reconsider the decision was rejected by the trustees. It stated: "Pole fitness and pole dancing are a direct spin off from lap dancing.
"We should not be deaf to the very real issue of pole fitness playing a part in upholding this raunch culture and objectification of women and girls and the impact of this on our female students."
The board also stated: "Evidence shows that young women aged 16 to 24 are the group of women who experience the most domestic and sexual violence.
"This is the age of a large group of our female students.
"We believe that activities such as 'pole fitness' contributes to an atmosphere where women are viewed as sexual objects and where violence against them is acceptable."
The Pole Fitness Society was initially allowed to become an official society of the union, but the decision was later revoked.
President of the pole fitness committee, Beth Morris, said it was ridiculous to suggest pole fitness would contribute to an atmosphere where violence against women was acceptable, and that comparisons were "highly, highly offensive".
She added: "Lap dancing occurs in gentleman's clubs. Pole fitness is strictly for fitness.
"The board needs to take account of the context in which these classes are being taught in.
"Since the classes are purely for fitness, there is therefore no link between it and the sex industry."
Treasurer of the society, Heidi Muir, also questioned the board's criteria for union societies.
She said: "There are union societies that encourage binge drinking, have done naked calendars, yet a fitness class which encourages a healthy lifestyle, body confidence and self-esteem doesn't fit into these policies".
A spokesperson for the students' union said: "Representatives from the Pole Fitness Society were contacted and the reasons behind the decision were explained in full to them."