In a remarkable feat of two-facedness, 30-year-old Penelope Clemm has been pole dancing recreationally for three years now, but has harbored an internalized hatred for sex workers her entire life.
Clemm strikes a delicate balance of acknowledging how much she loves pole dancing, but dismissing every woman who makes money doing the same thing.
“Pole class is the thing I look forward to most. I’m kind of hemorrhaging money to pay for all these classes, but it’s so worth it,” Clemm said. “Like, I wish someone would pay me to do this!” she laughed without a hint of irony.
She loves pole dancing classes so much that she’s taken to finding extra sources of income to afford them. “I sell crafts and accessories on Etsy so I can keep paying for these classes; it’s really great that I can monetize my abilities as I see fit, and make a cool $24.99 for doing something I love so much – all within my comfort zone!”
According to Clemm, pole dancing has done wonders for both her physique and self-esteem. “I never really liked exercising that much, then a friend dragged me to a class, and I loved it. It’s definitely made me stronger physically, but it makes me feel sexy in a way that I never did before. And yet, I still cannot conceptualize in the slightest how any self-respecting woman would do this for money.”
“I teach women like her all the time, but Penny really takes the cake,” says pole-dancing instructor Evelyn Tsung. “She is literally incapable of conceiving that other women might feel the same way about pole dancing, and that they’re perfectly comfortable – or happy – with performing public, sanctioned displays of their sexuality as a way of earning an income.”
When asked about personal experiences with sex workers, Clemm recounted the single time she’d been to a strip club four years ago for a friend’s bachelorette party: “Oh my god, I was so embarrassed for all those women in thongs performing incredible acts of strength and then getting paid large sums of money for it. Like, get a real job, honey – and maybe some dignity!”
However, like many people with deep-seated, internalized biases, Clemm had difficulty articulating why she holds this position. “It’s a matter of principle, and I have principles.”
She refused to elaborate further, but did make sure to tell us that she always gets a pole closest to the window because she loves when passersby stop to watch her.
Seems like Clemm is extremely comfortable with her hypocrisy. Remember: Mental gymnastics is the best exercise of all!