Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Spinning the pole: A discursive analysis of the websites of recreational pole dancing studios

Donaghue, N., Kurz, T.R. and Whitehead, K. (2011) Spinning the pole: A discursive analysis of the websites of recreational pole dancing studios. Feminism & Psychology, 21 (4). pp. 443-457.

PDF - Authors' Version
Download (108kB)
Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


Pole dancing is an activity that came to prominence in strip clubs. Despite its widespread reinvention as a fitness activity for women, pole dancing is still strongly associated with, and indeed trades on, its exotic, erotic and sexual connotations. In this article, we examine how the pole dancing industry portrays itself to potential participants via a discursive analysis of the websites of 15 major pole dancing studios in Australia. In particular, we examine some of the ways in which pole dancing trades on its erotic associations and capitalizes on the emerging postfeminist sensibility in western countries and its advocacy of empowerment through sexual agency, while at the same time promoting an alternative, ironic construction in which pole dancing is simply something a bit different - a novel way to get an upper body workout while having 'a bit of a laugh'. We argue that the tensions between authenticity and parody uncovered by our analyses reflect a tension that infuses 'raunch culture' more widely, and discuss the insecurity and contingency of the 'empowerment' offered in these practices.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Sage
Copyright: © The Author(s) 2011
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year