Despite progress in the public’s understanding of what we do, many of us still fight stereotypes. Some of pole dancing’s loudest critics have never tried it themselves. Just last year, Marina Heck, a schoolteacher, was forced to resign from her position following controversy that she is a pole dancer. Even if what we are doing is completely athletic and far removed from the type of pole dancing performed in strip clubs, we still need to explain ourselves. Many times when revealing to strangers what it is I do, I find myself hesitating because I don’t feel like justifying my passion to a skeptic.
K.T. Coates, a famed competitive pole dancer, and the International Pole Sports Federation, are currently promoting a campaign to include competitive pole dance in the Olympics and an application was made to the International Olympic Committee to recognise pole as a sport in September 2016.[15] Numerous competitions exist, including the World Pole Sport Championship, U.S. Pole Federation Championship, Pole Art, Miss Pole Dance America, and the International Pole Masters Cup Championship.[16]

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,[9] performed mostly by Ghawazi dancers making their first appearance in America.[10] In an era where women dressed modestly in corsets, the dancers, dressed in short skirts and richly adorned in jewelry, caused quite a stir.[11][12] During the 1920s, dancers introduced pole by sensually gyrating on the wooden tent poles to attract crowds.[13]