Happy Christmas 2021 pole dance gift guide! Sure, Christmas gift guides are a capitalist excuse to encourage people to spend money. But also, pole dancing is a fairly niche subculture of naked people that aren’t always understood by their loved ones – and the muggles in our lives will need some pointers when buying us Christmas presents, right? Read on to find items to please your pole dancer friends, partners and relatives this Christmas.
What to expect from my Christmas gift guide
This is my biggest Christmas gift guide so far and I love it even more than my previous ones. The new collaborations I’ve secured make me feel like I’ve really grown as a blogger, and even more importantly as a person, thanks to the discovery of more brands to work with, more inspirational people and more ways to be sustainable.
My Christmas gift guide is part wish list, part ‘tried and tested’ material, and it tries to follow a red theme not because I’m super unoriginal, but because red is my colour and it happens to look great over Christmas too.
When possible, I’ve tried to feature independent artists, brands and bookshops in this guide. I’ve bought some of the products featured, while some have been #gifted to me (as it’s highlighted in the subheadings mentioning them) and some are just at the top of my list of things to try. All opinions are, as always, my own.
Here are the categories I’m going to cover – click on the item you’re most interested in from this list to be redirected to it straight away:
So there’s a LOT of stuff here – and you have no excuse for not knowing what gifts you should get the pole dancers in your life now. Feel free to scroll down to the bits that you think will be best for you and/or the polers in your life, or take it all in for my special combo of 2021 gifts.
Polewear & Sexy gifts
RAD Polewear (#gift)
RAD Polewear was one of the first sites from which I ever purchased polewear. I buy from them for their colourful, skimpy and flattering designs that are durable enough to stand the test of time – I’ve had my first RAD top since 2018 and I still use it and love it.
Which is why I was thrilled when the lovely folks at RAD Polewear gifted me a limited edition set that I’ll definitely be wearing to bring extra sparkle to my holidays – both on and off the pole! A sparkly combo made of the Tri Leopard Glitter top (€37/£31.50) and the Peek Leopard Glitter high-waisted, bottoms (€32/£27.25), this set is covered in mesh-style leopard-print, sheer fabric that will make you shine during your holiday training (if you’ve got any planned) or during your New Year’s Eve party.
Extremely comfy and flattering, this set is definitely the life of the party: Flashdance fit meets bold 00s prints. I am living for it! *Special thanks to my wife @unicornpower for these pictures.
Make sure you keep an eye on RAD’s website between December 10 and 14 for their live date.
Winter-proof Off The Pole Burgundy set (#gift)
Ah, the Winter pole dance dilemma: do I stay warm, or look cute? By the time Christmas comes, getting naked to teach my classes and train is a pain, but luckily Off The Pole has just the set for you to keep yourself warm and stylish. The lovely Sarah Scott sent me OTP’s Classic sports bra (£36) and Lifestyle leggings (£38) in burgundy – and what a shade of burgundy it is! It looks stunning both as a set to warm up or flow in, or as something to head out in by throwing a cosy jumper over the leggings. Both items are tight and stretchy but super comfortable, they look divine and they keep everything in even upside down. Throw in a pair of Classic Tanga shorts (£24) in the same colour in case the polers in your life do end up getting naked 🙂
I’ve just become an Off The Pole Affiliate so, if you’ve missed their Black Friday sale, use my code: bloggeronpole10 for 10% off your Christmas goodies.
Hoodlum Fang Thong
If your vibe is more The Nightmare Before Christmas than Christmas, you have to get yourself one of Hoodlum Fang’s Halloweeny, bad-ass prints. As an out metalhead, Hoodlum Fang – the brand owned by non-binary, badass dancer Chloe, who have been educating the pole dance industry about inclusion of different gender identities throughout the past two years – has always been on my list.
Yet, I was DYING for Chloe to turn their spooky, rock n’roll prints into something skimpier. My prayers have been answered, and the response has materialised in this must-have super 80s, high waist high leg thong (£25). Perfect for all sexy Grinches.
Naughty Thoughts Sinner set (#gift)
Pole Junkie gifted me the Naughty Thoughts Sinner set back in January for our first collab and it’s one of my favourite set to this day. On the premium end of polewear brands, a Naughty Thoughts gift is a safe bet if you wanna be naughty and nice to the polers in your life.
Despite the deceptive underboob detail, the red Sinner top (£59) is competition-proof and holds everything in while making you look like a rockstar. The Sinner bottoms (£52) have a BBL effect on your butt, making them my go-to photoshoot choice (exhibit A). Although the set is vinyl, it’s extremely comfortable and, unlike other vinyl sets I’ve tried, it doesn’t make you sweaty.
The perfect Christmas gift for the rock n’roll pole goddesses / gods in your life.
Nandzins pole bottoms
Made by the incredibly stunning vegan pole goddess @ms.felony, Nandzins’ custom made shorts are THE shorts to wear during a twerk class and any photoshoot where you may want to make your peaches shine.
From booty shorts to garters and leggings, Nandzins’ shorts come in a variety of different patterns – from monochrome to snakeprint, from denim to zebra print. You can order them via DM on their Insta, starting at $85, at the account below.
Creatures of XIX Baddies loungewear (#gift)
If there’s one thing that the lockdowns have shown us is that good loungewear is versatile, sexy, comfy and ideal for both work Zoom calls and workouts. Which is why I had my eye on Creatures of XIX’s Baddies loungewear collection since launch.
Creatures of XIX is one of my favourite polewear brands, one of the few that has managed to hold up despite countless washes, inverts and twerks in their fitting but flattering and comfy sets. When they launched their Baddies collection, complete with pastel coloured loungewear options, I knew I needed to try them and felt super chuffed that they were happy to collaborate with me on this post.
The Baddies Jalapeño loungewear looked perfect for my trademark no make-up, red lipstick look that has become a staple of my workouts, my pole teaching and my now mostly Zoom academic/pole Zoom chats. The Jalapeño joggers are snuggly and so perfectly high waist that they are flattering both with a sports bra and with a crop top. The joggers have an adjustable drawstring and ‘puffed up’ pockets made to accentuate the shape of your hips, and they’re made with a super soft French Terry Fabric.
The joggers look great when matched with the oversized Baddies Jalapeño crop jumper, detailed with ‘Creatures of XIX’ branding on the cuff. The jumper has a dropped shoulder seam and oversized sleeve that feel like a hug during cold, grey winter days.
As you can see above, I’ve also worn them with a pair of Club Hella Heels and it seems like a match made in… can’t be Heaven, but you got the gist. The verdict: Creatures’ loungewear is the sexiest loungewear you can get this year, the perfect treat under your pole friends’ 2021 Christmas tree.
Exo Wear bespoke outfits
I’ve been ordering from Exo Wear since lockdown and I think I have a problem – I literally want all their designs! I had them make some trousers for me that I’ve used both for Insta videos and to go out (when going out was allowed), and I’ve now ordered the below jumpsuit from them.
Based in Belarus, Exo Wear are an Insta shop sewing made-to-measure versatile, flattering designs. Their clothes are the right vibes for when you’re WFH and for pole – so basically all the time in 2020 / 2021. All you have to do is pick a design and a colour, take your measurements according to their instructions and place your order. So if you have a special pole dancer in mind, get them them these incredibly personalised, flattering outfits and they’ll be grateful forever.
Pole Sweet Pole red jumpsuit (#gift)
I love a good jumpsuit. I love a cosy, snuggly jumpsuit. And I love an 80s, tight, OTT jumpsuit. Pole Sweet Pole’s Riot Red one-shoulder jumpsuit (£40) is more like the latter, and it looks great during stretch classes, in exotic pole videos and during your walk from your flat to your coffee shop, with a fur coat on top. I may or may not even have worn it while teaching Zoom criminology seminars from home. Shhh.
The jumpsuit clings to the body and stays put through every movement, and looks incredibly flattering on all of your curves. It’s both extra and comfy, and it’s the energy I’ll be carrying into my holidays.
Shark Polewear red Vashkelita bodysuit
Shark Polewear is one of my favourite brands because their designs are both skimpy enough and comfortable enough for my taste, so much that even in their most revealing outfits I haven’t experienced any flashing. I have their Vashkelita bodysuit in black, and I’m dying to buy it in red too. So if you have a pole dancer in your life, make sure you put that under their Christmas tree!
The bodysuit (£56) available from Pole Junkie.
Poleboxx Christmas Edition (#gift)
PoleBoxx is a UK-based brand providing affordable and high quality monthly subscription boxes. They have come up with the perfect festive pole dance present, a Winter Wonderland themed box of pole treats (£25.99) that’ll look wonderful under every poler’s Christmas tree.
Quirky, thoughtful and including plenty of options, the Christmas Poleboxx is ideal for muggles that don’t know much about pole, but still want to gift the polers in their life a fail-proof pole themed present.
The Christmas box includes:
- 50ml bottle of PoleGrip, because we can never have enough grip aids
- White Fishnets to shoot our Christmas choreos
- Handmade ‘ho ho ho’ shoe protectors to save our shoes from kip dents
- Hot chocolate package aka the best post-training pick-me-up
- Christmas bathbomb for those post-training recovery baths
- A super cute stripper boots Christmas Card.
Poleboxx includes free shipping in the UK, and all its products and packaging are vegan and eco friendly.
Marie Mur lingerie (#gift)
If you’ve been following me for a while you know I’m a sucker for badass lingerie. Landing a Marie Mur collab this past summer was a dream come true, and since their designs are so incredible you shouldn’t be surprised that they have a special place in this gift guide.
Whether you’re after a glamour or a BDSM queen look, Marie Mur makes colourful, premium and super luxurious designs that will make you shine more than your Christmas tree. Go for the classy Jade lingerie set complete with gloves (£125), or understated chic with the Rosemary set (£172), which also looks fantastic under harnesses.
If, however, “going big” is your Christmas mantra, look no further than Marie Mur’s Shelly harness set (£243), complete with leather bra and harness. I’ve tested it upside down, so you know it’s good.
I fell in love with The Underargument because they are a sustainable, inclusive, unique lingerie brand, and I can’t get enough of brands like this. Owned by French former digital marketer Maïna Cissé, The Underargument selects its models through an ‘anti-casting‘ form, based on the story they share rather than on their look or size. The anti-casting was born because, as Cissé told The Guardian:
“Being a minority myself … I saw a lot of brands wanting to tick boxes, and wanting to pat themselves on the back because they had chosen models of colour or supposedly bigger or curvier [models] instead of staying in the safe zone.”
I love a game-changing brand that challenges narratives, even when the narratives pretend to be inclusive. But there’s more to love about The Underargument than boldness: their designs are classy, timeless and stunning, following themes such as: no.09 For dreaming // Against sleeping; no.05 For loving // Against conforming; no.04 For sexy // Against sexism; no.02 For identity // Against stereotypes; no.01 For awesome // Against perfection and so on.
I’d like to think that pole dancing is a big fuck you to beauty standards, gender identities and conforming to a certain standard. So get your favourite pole dancers a brand that embraces that “fuck you”, with style.
The Underargument’s designs start at £47 and can be found here.
Catherine D’Lish custom robes and gowns
I’ve had my eye on Catherine D’Lish’s custom robes and gowns for years. They should be a stunning stable of any performer’s wardrobe and, tbh, they look fantastic even as home decor on a mannequin. So what are you waiting for? Give the polers in your life – including me – an Aubergine “Cassandra” Dressing Gown ($499.99) or a Red “Cassandra” Dressing Gown this second.
*WINK WINK, if anyone wants to give me a birthday and/or Christmas present, you know what to do.
Club Hella Heels Chilli 8 Inch Classic Stiletto
Club Hella Heels are one of my favourite shoe brands at the moment, because they support sex workers and have a choice of vibrant colours and patterns. Their Stiletto collection is named after Hellas’ favourite strippers.
I have a ridiculous amount of their shoes, but too much is never enough, right? Keeping with the red theme, I’m currently looking at buying myself a pair of Hellas’ Chilli 8 Inch Classic Stiletto sandals, which are made to encourage you and help you point your toes and are as sturdy as they come (kip-proof, I found). So look no further than Hellas and buy a pair for the polers in your life!
Wellbeing & Spirituality
Self & More sex toys
2020 was WITHOUT DOUBT the year of the wanker. Whether you embraced singlehood or were separated from partners, or whether you wanted to jump on the 2020 sex toy crazy train, pleasure-related companies are still having an absolute boom, and I for one felt like experimenting – and haven’t stopped doing so in 2021. So give your friends some reasons to love themselves too and get them one of Self & More’s toys this Christmas. A gender-neutral sex toy company, Self & More is THE small business you need for your pleasure.
I’m a sucker (get it?) for clit suction toys, and Self & More have plenty in stock. The super premium and super quiet LELO Sona (£119) is one of their best sellers and one of my go-to toys each time I need a pick-me-up. It looks like an artwork and it will stand out in any sex toy collection.
If you’re still looking for suction toys but are looking for a less pricey option, the more affordable but equally powerful and travel-sized So Divine Rechargable Suction Stimulator (£45) is the one for you. Water-proof and powered with suction waves that gently stimulate your clitoris, this USB rechargeable gem comes with 11 functions to tease you into powerful orgasms.
The pink version of this lovely toy – which is even cuter if you ask me – is currently on sale with 40% off! Get it here.
If, however, these vibes look too big and scary, fear not: Self & More have toy options for beginners – like the Gaia Biodegradable Eco Vibrator. Quiet to boot and packing some powerful vibration, the Eco is crafted from Biofeel, which is a starch based bioplastic. This means that if you decide to throw it out, it’s completely recyclable and biodegradable.
If you’re thinking: “This is all well and good, but how about people with penises?” try the Tenga Geo Coral Penis Masturbator, a super soft toy that doubles up as a work of art to proudly display when not in use.
Looking to go wilder? Go with the Shaka Leopard Print Wand Vibrator – yes, it is actually leopard-print. With a powerful motor, three vibration settings and five speeds, this unisex toy can be used to massage the body all over or to provide delicious vibration to your most sensitive spots.
You can also throw in a “Wanker” tee (£29) now that you’re there. They look fab! Psst, don’t forget to use my code: bloggeronpole for a 10% discount and remember that orders over £35 get free shipping in the UK!
I’ve written and posted about my sports massages and osteopathy experience extensively, and I think by now you know that pole dancers are an achy bunch. Often however, what stops us from getting as many massages as we like is the very boring issue of money. So treat the pole dancers in your life to a sports massage or osteopathy package at their local or preferred clinics – and ‘thanks to’ teaching in and out of lockdowns, believe me, they will need them. If they’re Londoners, I really recommend a session with Kuu in Clapton, they rock!
The witchy polers in your life will love the opportunity to practice and meditate on beautiful, laser-cut altars like the ones from Laser Scribe Designs on Etsy. I purchased one for my own home and I’ve been using it ever since. Starting at £9.95 and going for £35-45 for bigger designs, these laser-cut witchy goodies are ideal for both decoration and spiritual practice.
Slashed It eBook
Pole dancers are businesswomen. They market their classes, their polewear brands, their studios, themselves. Many of us do pole alongside something else. And, because it’s 2021, we’re likely having to market and promote ourselves via social media.
Social media, as I’ve written extensively, are not the most welcoming, inclusive, easy-to-understand space for women, LGBTQIA+ people and non-white people, and trying to be noticeable on them and make money through them can sometimes feel like one giant struggle bus.
Helping the pole dancers in your life invest on their social media marketing strategy can give them a massive leg up against social media’s obscure mechanism – and Unsah Malik’s Slashed It ebook is the perfect way to do that. Part short marketing course, part step-by-step guide, Unsah’s ebook comes from years of social media marketing experience.
I know Unsah personally – we were in the same BA Journalism class at City, and we’re both born on 9 December lol… Except that she went on to be a social media editor at Elle when I was having my quarter life crisis. When I saw a bunch of media and marketing industry professionals review her book, I thought it was time for me to buy it too.
I’m getting some DMs about my career journey. This article here will be useful. You can apply these tips to pretty much any other industry too.— Unsah (@unsahmalik) August 1, 2020
Also, pls don’t compare ages and tell me you feel like a failure. You’re not. Point blank.https://t.co/ubmGbfYH9A
I HATE growth hackers and this is not a growth hacking book. This is about keeping your audience close and attracting new followers / customers, in a way that still feels true to you as a person or brand. And I can honestly say that my audience and engagement grew within a few weeks of implementing tips from the ebook’s first few pages.
If you don’t believe in any of this, Unsah made £15,000 from the ebook’s sales within the first few hours of launching, a practical example that her advice works.
The ebook may look pricy – £71.99 – and but once you have it, it’s updated for a lifetime according to new social media trends and changes. Plus, as soon as you buy it, you can get your own affiliate link, which allows you to make the money back and make money from it in the future. Hence my affiliate link plug! So give the pole dancers in your life the gift of digital marketing stardom here: www.slashedit.co.uk/ultimate-ebook/rb4s0
Indi Pole mentorships or masterclasses
Despite their crappiness, lockdowns have opened up the access to more online learning from some of your pole idols – and Indi Pole dance have been constantly delivering, with online pole camps, workshops and masterclasses that have helped many polers keep up their training and find inspiration even in the most boring days of self-isolation this year.
Their masterclasses with the likes of Doris Arnold and Jazzy K will help you kip, choreograph and create sexy routines like no other. The masterclasses are an investment towards your pole dancing skills, and treating the polers in your life to one of them might just make sure they’ll love you forever.
Twerk Technicians certification
Getting my Twerk Technicians certification was one of the best investments I made in 2020, both as an individual and as an instructor. With pole dance being such a melting pot of different arts coming from so many cultures – stripping, Black culture etc. – it’s incredibly important that we teach and learn something with full awareness of its origins.
The Twerk Technicians certs are incredibly well-priced for an instructor training course, and they are the perfect blend of theory – e.g. looking into twerk’s history, different styles and advice on how to help students get a move – and practice, with some killer exercises that made my butt rounder, stronger and peachier within just a few weeks of working on them.
Plus, the Twerk Technician certs are 100% lockdown-proof, meaning that you can take them from the comfort of your room via Zoom – I passed my exam by twerking 7pm to midnight UK time, and your poler friends can do it too!
Find the certification here, starting at £115.
Online class subscriptions and private classes with your pole idols
I was blown away when, last year, one of my followers bought her friend a series of private classes with me. I had never thought of such a thoughtful gift, so she inspired me to put similar options here in my Christmas gift guide.
By booking workshops, subscriptions and private 1-1 lessons, you can help the pole dancers in your life support their pole idols and progress in their pole journey. All you have to do is notice which polers and studios they tag the most on IG, check if they’ve got availability and book!
Some examples below:
- My Buy Me A Coffee bundles or 1-1 packages for the rock n’polers in your life
- Medusa Mamii’s Serpentina Studios, to help the polers in your life learn masterful slinkery from a badass sex worker and performer
- Jazzy K’s Patreon, giving your poler friends the chance to learn from one of our industry’s most inspiring instructors
- The Polecologist is a pole artist with a PhD in psychology, offering pole and flexibility tutorials as well as mentoring via Patreon
- A master in hypno flow and hard tricks, Pole Kitten’s Patreon is currently all the rage.
NSFW Christmas gift ideas
Scruffy Designs (#gift)
I’m a sucker for cute stationery and gift ideas, particularly when they have a NSFW twist. So when my fellow Italian Federica launched her online shop, Scruffy Designs, I was knew I had to include it in my 2021 Christmas gift guide.
Scruffy Designs‘ notebooks bundle (£6) is the alternative to your average, boring, WFH stationery. The notebooks are perfect to carry around in case inspiration strikes, and they fit even on the tiniest desk in your home office, adding a sprinkle of colour to those dull days of back-to-back Zoom meetings. Aaand if you want to add a twist to your pole dancers’ gift, wrap them in Scruffy Designs’ cute willy wrapping paper (£2.50), which manages to somehow be both classy and silly at the same time, to end 2021 with some extra good vibes.
Exotic Cancer keychains
Exotic Cancer’s Instagram account has been a constant source of education in my pole dancing journey, providing humorous insights about sex work and creating an aesthetic that is to die for.
Betty’s Bodies Portrait
Betty’s Bodies is an IG account created by an amazing black artist drawing killer portraits of diverse subjects – from full-body portraits to bum or breast sketches.
Her commissions are now open and I, for one, can’t think of a more personalised, thoughtful gift than giving the pole dancers in your life a portrait of their own bodies for a unique #sundaybumday.
Body part portrait commissions start at £45, but from Wednesday onwards you’ll be able to take advantage of Betty’s Black Friday sale. Read more on Betty’s Bodies commission page.
Flare LDN candles
Is a house even a pole house without some naked art? Flare London is a West London based independent shop making gorgeous body-shaped candles which are almost too pretty to burn.
Flare London is a vegan and sustainable shop that doesn’t use any plastic in the manufacturing process or in packaging. Even unsellable candles are melted back down and the wax is reused! Find Flare London’s candles, starting at £15, on Etsy here.
A boob, butt or vulva cast by Lydia Reeves
In October, I went to Lydia Reeves‘ London exhibition raising awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month and was blown away by her work. A Brighton-based female cast artist, Lydia focuses on allowing people to celebrate their incredible bodies, and to help eradicate any shame, embarrassment or negative thoughts that they may have encountered throughout their lives. She makes gorgeous boob, vulva or bum casts that can then be purchased and proudly displayed in your home. For the ultimate thoughtful NSFW gift, consider booking your poler friends in for a casting session.
*Lydia does not currently cast people with penises.
X-Pole Home Pole
If your main philosophy is “Go big or go home,” then consider gifting a pole to the pole dancers in your life. If they can fit it into their flat and put it up, having a home pole can change a pole dancer’s life: by training more often and repeating the moves I tried in class during my solo workouts, I became strong and prepared enough to become an instructor. So check out my blog guide about house poles for dummies, and consider using my affiliate link to buy a pole for the polers in your life and secure their undying love and gratitude.
Liquid chalk grip is a pole dancer’s best friend, but with Dry Hands selling for similar prices to liquid gold, many pole dancers are looking for a viable alternative. Get them a few bottles of Dragonfly Grip – £12 for a single bottle, £32 for a pack of three and £50 for a pack of five – here.
Unsurprisingly, given that Dragonfly’s products are made with movement and pole dancers in mind, their grip is also fantastic. Read more about grips here.
Yoga and splits blocks
Considering 2020 and 2021 have meant dipping in and out of lockdown, many pole dancers left without studio poles took up yoga and stretching from home. This Christmas, you can help them in their stretching and flexibility journey with some yoga blocks.
Try Manduka’s Recycled Foam Yoga Block (£16), a lightweight yoga block made of over 50% recycled EVA foam, providing comfort, style and support.
Pole Physics non-slip body lotion (#gift)
Ever heard of pole dancers’ lizard skin? Because we need to grip on the pole, we don’t often wear body lotion. So if you’ve heard your poler friends complain about dry skin, gift them a solution this Christmas: a non-slip body lotion that you can put on even during training days!
Developed by Australian pole dancers for pole dancers, eco-friendly pole brand Pole Physics is so far the only no-slick, non-slip body lotion designed specifically to be used by polers.
I tried their Mini Kit because I’m greedy – I wanted to try all the lotions! This is travel-sized and costs £20.24. The kit includes:
- 50ml Luxe Gradual Tan
- 50ml Aussie Lemon Myrtle
- 50ml Sensitive Unscented Lotion
- 50ml Arnica & Green Tea Blend.
Pole Physics is the only product in the world designed to improve the health of your skin when you pole dance. This is how it compares with traditional lotions.
The Aussie Lemon Myrtle and Arnica & Green Tea blend are my faves. They smell amazing, and their scent remains on you for the whole day. They have left my skin hydrated yet grippy – because grip products work better on healthy skin.
Healthier skin that grips better and smells great? A no-brainer gift.
One of my biggest pre-lockdown mistakes was not investing in a foam roller and boy, when all massage therapists shut down because of lockdown, did I need one!
Give the polers in your life the gift of less achey muscles this Christmas, with the Vari Massage Foam Roller (£32.99) from Yoga Mad. Offering varying degrees of intensity for at-home massage, the Vari roller is the best for myofascial release to help with tight muscles. The Vari roller doesn’t break down despite sustained use, and it has a range of different patterns for varying massages to suit your individual needs.
In 2021 I’ve started really focusing on improving my active flexibility, and using ankle weights during my warm-ups and active flex sessions has helped me tone and strengthen my legs. Help the polers in your life get stronger with these P Volve ankle weights from Cult Beauty (£17).
The Art of Drag by Jake Hall
The Art of Drag (£18.99) explores the fabulous mix of fashion, theatre, gender and politics that have created drag, the show-stopping entertainment we know and love today. In the book, Jake Hall delve into its ancient beginnings, to the present day and beyond through vibrant illustrations.
The Art of Drag is also a chance to support one of my favourite journalists and writers, the non-binary legend Jake Hall. They have written for Dazed Digital, i-D, VICE, Highsnobiety, INTO, Refinery29 UK, and British Vogue, among others, covering topics from sustainability in fashion to body-shaming in queer communities.
Buy The Art of Drag from Foyles here.
We Need To Talk About Money by Otegha Uwagba
Otegha Uwagba is a British Nigerian writer, founder of women in business newsletter Women Who and a former ad agency professional. I have always been a huge fan of her work and I’ve only been fangirling harder after We Need To Talk About Money was published. Her book is a must-read for anyone working in the creative industries – including the pole industry – and it’s particularly important for those of us trying to make it in a country that sees us as “outsiders”.
Sharing harsh but important truths about things such as the invisible labour women have to perform in offices to succeed, or the unacknowledged but taxing cost of haircare, waxes and other forms of female grooming, We Need To Talk About Money is a stark reminder to stand up for ourselves, to ask for raises and/or charge higher fees, and to not back down when being mistreated in the workplace. Buy it from my fave London bookshop, BookBar, here for £14.99.
Sex & social media by Katrin Tiidenberg and Emily van der Nagel
Whether they’re pole dancers, sex workers, activists, educators or artists, chances are your poler friends have been shadowbanned at least once. Sex & Social Media is an accessible academic book that will explain you and them how and why this is happening, highlighting the discrepancy between the media headlines (people fearing sexy stuff on social media) and what popular Google searches show (people wanting sexy stuff on social media).
Finished @kkatot & @emvdn’s book “Sex & Social Media” in less than a day. So helpful for my research & so many important points on why social media platforms need to allow people to create safe spaces within them to express their sexuality 💜 thanks for resending @EmeraldSoc pic.twitter.com/IyKfQ7lDgw— Blogger On Pole (Carolina 🇮🇹🇬🇧🏳️🌈) (@bloggeronpole) August 22, 2020
The authors describe how social media have changed and shaped sex; address the common misconceptions about socially mediated sex; explain the spaces where social media sex happens, and the practices that count as social media sex. Buy it here (£16.99).
TikTok Boom by Chris Stokel-Walker
If you follow me on social media you are probably aware that Chris Stokel-Walker literally saved my ass from TikTok jail multiple times. The least I can do is add his book to my gift guide – not just out of gratitude, but because it’s the most comprehensive and informative book I’ve read about TikTok so far.
TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform for pole, with some polers (me included) having gained hundreds of thousands of followers on it. In this book, Chris Stokel-Walker traces its origins, explains its moderation and growth processes – and cites yours truly too :). Get it from Waterstones here for £14.99 and help the polers in your life learn more about and grow on TikTok.
The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye
Pole as an industry desperately needs to be more inclusive of trans people, but particularly in Britain, conversations about trans people are becoming incredibly toxic. This is why we should all arm ourselves with knowledge – and Shon Faye’s The Transgender Issue is that knowledge.
Trans people in Britain today have become a culture war ‘issue,’ the subjects of a toxic and increasingly polarised ‘debate’ which generates reliable controversy for newspapers and talk shows. This media frenzy conceals a simple fact: that we are having the wrong conversation, a conversation in which trans people themselves are reduced to a talking point and denied a meaningful voice.
A must read for polers who want to do better, The Transgender Issue is a compelling analysis of trans lives from youth to old age, exploring work, family, housing, healthcare, sex work, the prison system and trans participation in the LGBTQ+ and feminist communities, in contemporary Britain and beyond. Get it from Gay’s The Word here for £20.
Rough by Rachel Thompson
Rough is a revolutionary non-fiction work exploring the narratives of sexual violence that we don’t talk about. Through powerful 50 powerful testimonies, this book shines a light on ‘grey area sex,’ or the sexual violence that takes place in our bedrooms and beyond, sometimes at the hands of people we know, trust, or even love.
While this may look like an odd, even triggering read to add to a Christmas gift guide, I as a survivor found it really crucial and liberating. While discussing how systems of oppression manifest in our sexual culture, Rough still manages to be intersectional, sex-positive, kink-positive, without engaging in porn and sex worker bashing (sadly a rarity in mainstream discussions around sex). Gift it to challenge the polers in your life to have nuanced, intersectional and sex-positive conversations about consent.
Get it from Pages of Hackney for £14.99 here.