For some time now I have had conflicted feelings about pole dancers using social media to provide online pole guides, especially TikTok tutorials. I seem to go back and forth in my head about whether it’s safe, where the responsibility lies, should they have some sort of qualification or professional experience, and so on. So, I’ve decided to throw together my thoughts and see if it helps me come to a conclusion!
If you have any thoughts after reading this, or perhaps there is something I haven’t considered, let me know!
Online pole guides on TikTok… Or where it all began
For a quick backstory, the reason why this has been on my mind is a result of seeing the same few pole dancers on TikTok creating how-to’s in under a minute. A couple of these people state in their bios that they are instructors, while usually including a qualification or how many years of experience they have. Others, however, don’t seem to make it clear.
Maybe this is based on the instructors I have had in the past, but the rule in my mind has always been “don’t teach if you aren’t the instructor.” If I’m ever at a party with a pole (story of my life) and someone asks me how I did a move, my automatic response would be “I’m sorry, I’m not an instructor so I don’t feel comfortable teaching you.”
Just to clarify, I’m not trying to put anyone down here or shame them. I am simply processing my thoughts on the matter, as I have been taught that there are many dangers in pole dancing. For example, if you accidentally show someone the wrong technique and they carry that information with them, they could get hurt. Or if you try to learn moves before you are ready, you will be risking your own health and safety. So I think knowing the best way of learning is worth discussion.
Are qualifications relevant for teaching?
I recently asked the YKYAPW group where they stand on those without qualifications creating online pole guides. A common response was “what do we consider qualified to teach?” This is a good question, as there is no official governing body for all pole dancers around the world. And having a qualification might not necessarily make you a good teacher, even if you have experience. It just means you took the course and you have/had your own classes.
Before I asked this question, I felt like knowing there was some sort of qualification or experience provided some reassurance when I saw these videos. So at the time, my main concern was hobbyists. Now, I don’t know how I feel about ANYONE teaching via social media videos!
Responsibility: Legality vs Morality
Another common response to my question was that the viewer is responsible for their own actions should they follow the tutorial, and that they cannot sue anyone should they injure themselves in the process. Even if the instructor demonstrates poor technique.
While this is correct, does this mean it’s morally okay to post how-tos, knowing there is a chance we could put someone in danger? When an instructor hosts a zoom class, they have the ability to watch what you’re doing. This means that while they may not be able to physically spot you, they still have the ability to watch how you interpret their instructions. If they see that you aren’t following their guidance properly, they can stop you to ensure you stay as safe as possible.
With an online pole guide such as a TikTok video, however, you are cramming as much information as possible into 60 seconds, without knowing what the viewer is actually doing. So while it may not be your legal responsibility to control whether they follow you or not, I personally wouldn’t feel right telling others what to do through a short video.
One thing I should make clear is that I don’t think anyone has any harmful intent when it comes to short tutorials. It’s great that people in our community want to help others progress! There is a small chance that some might just be doing it for views or engagement but even if they did, I don’t believe they would teach anything they don’t feel confident in doing themselves (again, they may still have poor technique while feeling confident but they still mean well).
Something else to consider is that not everyone has access to a pole studio and rely on online content to teach them. So I understand why, if they REALLY wanted to learn these tutorials may benefit them in some way.
So… Where do I stand on online pole guides and tiktok tutorials?
As I said, I believe people truly mean well when they create these videos. It is up to the viewer if they should take the advice, but I still feel reserved about someone posting that content in the first place, especially if the person is a hobbyist. For me, the negatives outweigh the positives just a little bit.
So I’ll try to not judge, but I’ll stick to asking my own instructors for guidance if I see a move I’d like to learn. And you won’t catch me making tutorials any time soon!