In 2016, Daily Dot ran a story which covered the attempt by some pole dancers to distance themselves from strippers, with their story "Strippers Talk Back to the hashtag #Notastripper". The story utilized the hashtag "yes a stripper" in support of the origins of pole dance. On the social media platform Instagram, some pole dancers try to differentiate between their exercise method, and the origin of the method, by using "not a stripper" as a hashtag. The hashtag can be viewed as derogatory, and pole dancing strippers utilize "yes a stripper" as a defense against the denigration of their style of dance, which is created and used in strip clubs.
These are the serious athletes performing death-defying tricks and displaying unfathomable muscular strength. Then there are also those who embrace the artistic side pole has to offer. The simplicity of a vertical apparatus is appealing in that so much can be created and so many stories can be told. Many of these dancers perform barefoot and have been known to incorporate modern dance, props and costumes into their routines. Finally the sexy side of pole is still practiced by many. These dancers usually wear heels. And although there is some debate within the community about which direction pole is heading, all three forms flourish, and many pole dancers enjoy all styles. There is something for everyone.
Pole dance in America has its roots in the "Little Egypt" traveling sideshows of the 1890s, which featured sensual "Kouta Kouta" or "Hoochie Coochie" belly dances, performed mostly by Ghawazi dancers making their first appearance in America. In an era where women dressed modestly in corsets, the dancers, dressed in short skirts and richly adorned in jewelry, caused quite a stir. During the 1920s, dancers introduced pole by sensually gyrating on the wooden tent poles to attract crowds.