Category Archives: Controversial

Bring Lady Gaga to Syracuse for a Revolution Ride with SoulCycle

Anyone else guilty of keeping tabs on celebrities? (Especially Ryan Gosling in my case.) Even though I don’t read Perez Hilton’s blog on a regular basis anymore, I still enjoy knowing what’s going on in the lives of some starlets.  Case in point:  Lady Gaga.  Sure, I need to be working out or drinking an adult beverage or two to appreciate her music, but even so, when I heard the media slammed her for gaining 25 pounds, I became pretty peeved.


Weight, sizes, and numbers shouldn’t matter, but they unfortunately do in our culture.  However, in true Gaga fashion, the eccentric recording artist isn’t hiding the extra pounds; rather, she’s using it to highlight an important issue.  Earlier this year, Gaga launched her charity, the Born This Way Foundation, which aims to empower children and stop bullying, and now, in conjunction with this organization, she’s joined forces with SoulCycle to launch a Body Revolution campaign/charity ride. (Proceeds will benefit her charity.)

This initiative hopes to help raise awareness of body image problems.  With the event in its planning stages, Gaga has asked fans for input, and a group of Syracuse-based female triathletes have invited her to come to Upstate New York and host her charity ride.

What’s the connection between body image and the sport of triathlon?  At every swim start, there are all types of bodies present.  Sure the professionals and elite age-groupers boast nearly perfect physiques, and “normal” people with “normal” bodies also compete.  In an effort to bring Gaga to Syracuse, Lisa Dolbear posted an open letter on her blog, and here are some powerful sentiments:

“The way you [Lady Gaga] tackle a piano with emotion, technique, and hunger is the same way we tackle each workout.  The way you own the stage for hours on end is the same way we’ve taken to the roads for hours on end (Ironman can last for 17 hours…ride, ride pony!).

“Girls need to know that this kind of strength and fire doesn’t come from conforming to society’s idea of what they should be doing.  It doesn’t come from throwing up, cutting, abusive relationships, or drugs.  It doesn’t come from those short-term vices we find and rely on in our darkest moments.

“It comes from accepting yourself and your flaws and being brave enough to feed your passions despite the obstacles that are in your path.  It comes from feeling good enough about yourself that you can rise above the pressures from society to look and be a certain way—as a superstar, as an athlete…

“As a woman.

“In that spirit, I would like to invite you to lead a #RevolutionRide spin class with me to support the next generation of girls who are fighting against society every day—from the people in their day-to-day lives who judge and bully them, to the strangers at large who stereotype the way women should look and behave.”

Attending a SoulCycle charity ride with Lady Gaga—which, if held in Syracuse, is rumored to take place at the Carrier Dome—would be amazing.  Hopefully, she makes the trip to Central New York!

Have you met a celebrity?  What were they like in person?  Have you struggled with body-image issues?

Pole Dancing Classes For Kids: Yea or Nay?

If you’ve been following health and wellness trends recently, then you’ve probably heard about Duncan’s Twisted Grip and Fitness Studio, based in British Columbia, which is offering pole dancing classes for kids.  Uh, come again?


Five-year-olds should be running around outside and playing on jungle gyms, but studio owner Kristy Craig sees nothing wrong with youngsters shimming up and down a pole.  “There is nothing provocative.  There is nothing sexual about it … it’s pure fitness and strength and fun,” she told ABC News.  “I mean, kids love climbing trees.  They will climb anything.”

According to Jezebel, the kid-friendly class titled “Little Spinners” features moves taught in adult classes, but Craig says nothing’s inappropriate.  “There’s definitely movements in [the adult classes],” Craig explained to CTV British Columbia, “that are sexual, but there’s nothing geared toward stripping.”

Surprisingly, “Little Spinners” isn’t the first of its kind (remember JLN Pole Fitness?), but Craig admits it’s difficult to combat the sexual stigma attached to pole dancing.  She does have one industry professional in her corner, though–Canadian fitness instructor Carolyne Braid.  “It’s the use of a vertical pole to improve one’s coordination, flexibility, and strength,” she told the Winnipeg Sun.

A reported four students, including one boy, have signed up, but should children be exposed to this type of, er, “fitness”?  In an interview with CTV, Vancouver child psychologist Dr. Derek Swain said there’s no problem with pole dancing if it’s used only for physical activity.  However, it doesn’t exist in a vacuum, void of any societal connotations; its blatant association to the sex industry can’t go ignored.  For Swain, it’s the “social scenario” of such poles that makes the practice problematic.  “There are some parents who do tend to sexualize their children prematurely and inappropriately.  I don’t know whether this is involved in that.  You look at the beauty pageants with the little girls all dressed up, and … I wonder if this is another form of that kind of experience.”

Sure, kids need more exercise (heck, so do most of us adults), and pole dancing fanatics claim it’s helped them lose weight and improve flexibility, but surely there’s a more appropriate workout—gymnastics, dance classes—for children.

Have you ever taken a pole dancing class?  What did you think?  Should children be allowed to take pole dancing classes?