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Pussy Power Hour: 9 Questions with Lisa D

Posted on March 23 2017

Lisa D found Pole back in 2001, her story of how learning pole tricks really is astonishing. We’ve wanted to interview Lisa for a long time now, after regularly hollering ‘HEAR HEAR' at her facebook statuses. she holds various titles including: Winner of Australian Pole Champ '15 & Pole Theatre Sydney Pole Art Champ '15. Lisa is most importantly an intelligent, compassionate and bold individual and this is only Part 1 of her amazing interview.

In your first year of Pole Dancing, what was your nemesis move, and who was your first pole idol?

My first year of pole was 2001, and to be honest I didn’t have a nemesis move. Pole as we know it wasn’t an art form that existed outside of strip clubs as far as I was aware (I didn’t know about Chinese pole or the stuff that was happening in America at that point).

Moves didn’t have names, I didn’t have a computer at home, there was no YouTube, there were no famous polers in the mainstream. I had no idea of the possibilities that were available on the pole, so I just made up moves as they came to mind and if I dreamed up something that was difficult I just practiced it until I could do it. Everything I did, I made up.

Since there weren’t contortionists, dancers, acrobats and unbelievable pole gymnasts in my face all the time I just worked with the capabilities of my body and wasn’t trying to put my head on my arse or push into a massive oversplit or anything like that. It was a different world. It was so much fun and there was no pressure. I adapted the basic spins and inverts I saw the other women do onstage (no one was doing aerial tricks outside of a sit, a layback and a hello boys). I was fairly strong from a combo of childhood gymnastics, martial arts and the heavy lifting I’d been doing in the job I had before pole so I didn’t find these moves difficult and I quickly began to dream up tricks for myself. It might sound unbelievable to 19 year olds today who are taking their first pole classes, but that is how it was. I had never seen a shoulder mount until I made one up. One day I thought, “If I can go upside down facing the pole, then I bet I can go upside down facing away from the pole.” So I went to a children’s playground and invented the shoulder mount for myself. I named it a 'Snail Invert” because my body curled up backwards like a snail shell. I was obsessed with making up tricks, and that was how I practiced – I’d go to the playground near my house late at night and use the fireman’s pole to see what was possible. 


A few years later (about 2004 I think) I saw a video online of an American poler called JK. She was WAY ahead of anything I’d ever seen and I was struck by her ease and power. She became my first idol. Rudi Miner and Felix Cane were also early idols.

If you could marry one pole celebrity who would it be?

I would marry Yvonne Smink (@yvonnesmink) so she could come back to Australia any time!  

Outside the pole world, what female inspires you and why?

I have a couple of close friends I’ve known for 15+ years who I am so proud of and who inspire me. One is an artist with so much talent and she thinks like no one else I know, and one moved overseas to pursue a difficult career and she’s seeing her hard work come to fruition. They are women of their own minds and they never miss a beat. They both inspire me to always try, to always think, to be able to laugh at my failures and keep moving forwards, and to not give in to apathy. I really miss living closer to both of them.

If you could have sex with any celeb, who would it be?

Michael Fassbender. But really, I reckon I’ll stick with Mat, cos he’s ok. Fassbender can be a backup in case of disaster only. But if I actually ever succeed in breaking into Fassbender’s house to show him the wedding scrapbook I photoshopped of us I do expect a thank-you handjob.

You can make one law that everyone in the world must abide by… what is it?

Live and LET LIVE, motherfuckers – with the caveat that if you are performing a selfish action and it has ramifications on another person or being, the recipient of the action takes precedence. So for example, I’m standing somewhere and a dude comes over and wants to smoke a cigarette near me, but I don’t want the passive smoke. He could say “Duuh, duh, fuckin’ duh, you’re not LETTING ME LIVE by asking that I don’t smoke here”, but as I am the recipient of the action (ie, I’m standing peacefully and then suddenly being poisoned by his smoke), I get right of way and he has to move. A magical fairy could decide who has right of way when. That pretty much rules out all violence and oppression, as those things don’t fit into the “let live” part of the equation. The fairy, of course, is a left-leaning humanist peacenik, because this is my fantasy! I have no idea how this would play out. Hopefully well, haha.


Which Tee from the Creatures Of XIX Teevocative range is your fave? 

I love the Come As You Are crop - it’s a sentiment I am 100% on board with. Just come as you are and do your thing.

come as you are crop tee

Do you have any non-fitness hobbies?

Pole basically rules my life, to be honest. I like reading, saying appalling things to my friends, I love eating out and I love periodically going fine dining so I can see what’s new in foam and smoke and tasty miniatures (not kidding, I love the occasional fine dining experience), going for long twilight walks with Mat, going for super late-night walks with my cat (he just comes with me around the neighbourhood. I don’t use a lead. It’s so adorable – but he’ll only do it at like midnight or later), watching shows on Netflix, being silly with Mat, travel. I like lakes and forests but don’t get much time to visit them.

Favourite book of all time?

I’ve loved different books so much and for different reasons:
‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ by John Kennedy Toole
‘The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch’ by Philip K. Dick
‘Raise the Red Lantern’ by Su Tong
‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov
‘Notes on a Scandal’ by Zoe Heller.

You recently highlighted an advertising campaign whereby Carefree labelled female discharge as 'Icky'. Are there any other campaigns that come to mind which you have seen and have been detrimental and/or offensive to women and what are the implications of these adverts? 

This was the description from Carefree...

We prefer this one... (wrote by Lisa!)

Yeah, this shit is everywhere, all the time. Oh, god – I kind of wish you’d asked fluffy questions, as now I’m going to spew bile for miles.

Mainstream media and culture is steeped in, and dependent upon, messaging to women that encourages us to clamour after solutions to the many made-up problems our existence presents. Please note that I say “mainstream” here. There is not one area of our female-hood that isn’t available to be criticised and monetised.  

Let’s start at the top. The things that are humiliatingly inadequate on women:

Our hair - not glossy enough, thick enough, bouncy enough.
Eyebrows - not full enough.
Lashes - not long enough.
Eyes - too small, too close together.
Noses - too big.
Lips - too small.
Facial skin - too saggy, wrinkly, red, pimply, too many pores (?!?!), spider veins, brown spots, any signs of an age over 26 (good lord, NO!!).
Necks - wrinkly.
Breasts - so shit in so many ways.
Armpits - too armpitty; dry it, denude it, smooth it, make sure it’s not a slightly different colour to the surrounding skin (ew, that would be so gross, amirite?).
Arms - too muscly. Too fat. Too hairy.
Stomachs - stretch marks, fat of any description, hair of any description, looks like it’s had a baby (how dare you).
Butt - too big, too small, wrong shape, has a pimple, has cellulite, has stretch marks.
Vaginas – well, they stink, right? They are hairy and gross, right? The discharge is super icky, right?

Every razor ad seems to be about feeling like a “goddess”, as though a prerequisite for god-hood or the power that implies is that you have no hair. Yep, power, luxury, desirability, appealing feminine energy, that all-important youthful prettiness – all of those things are for the hairless, according to mainstream advertising culture. Like, come ON. COME ON!

And let’s not forget legs, too short, too pale, too hairy, not smooth enough, not good “skirt legs”. Feet, too rough, heel skin is ugly, toenails slightly yellowed (just disgusting), don’t you dare go out in sandals looking like that. Literally, every part from top to toe is just its own little money spinner.

So, I guess the answer to your question is that I think popular media and advertising culture is generally one big shit pile in how it deals with women.

I usually see it going in one of three ways...

1) It outright loathes us

“Your discharge is icky – your body is icky, you are icky…but don’t worry, we can fix you”.

2) It panders to us in the most transparent and smarmy ways

“Hey gals, love yourself…wow, awesome, now buy our crap because we said you should love yourself”.

3) It negs us

“Hey gals, embrace your flaws! Yep, what we’re telling you is that your perfectly normal stretch marks or the fact that your thighs touch are disgusting imperfections that make you less than an ideal specimen…but we want you to love yourself anyway, if you can bear to. And we want to help! We understand what it feels like to not be good enough, to be justifiably self-loathing due to your many appalling physical deficits, but if you buy our product and hashtag #beautyanyway you’ll be taking a stand and saying “I LOVE MYSELF DESPITE BEING A GROSS PIECE OF SHIT”.

I can’t even. Most mainstream advertising is so full of gender weirdness that it makes me firstly furious, and then despairing. I literally never watch free-to-air TV unless I’m stuck in a waiting room without my phone or a book, as it nudges me towards depression. What mainstream media pushes as the Aussie “norm” is laughable, and when people defend it with a non-defence I feel like I’m going to have a fucking embolism, as I’ve been talking about this for years and years, and the resistance so often comes packaged in the same three or four phrases with nothing to back them up. I can count on zero fingers the amount of times that someone has mounted a really cogent defence of the norm in response to the questions and observations I’ve seen so many feminists make. “Some people like this stuff”, “It’s not hurting anyone” (yes, it is), “That’s just how people are” (no, mainstream marketing is something we created to make money by telling people they need what we’re selling), “Who are you to judge?” (people say this when they feel uncomfortable but don’t have the ability to articulate what’s making them uncomfortable. It’s just a version of saying “shut up, doo-doo head”. If you challenge them, their next response is almost always “Some people like this stuff”). And of course I get people asking me “Why do you focus on the negatives?”, but where are the positives in being separated from your money by companies that feed on your insecurities? I have had some people say they don’t want to rock the boat and their comfort in social situations is enhanced by appearing “normal” (ie, shaved pits, wearing makeup), and I think that’s depressing, but a fair call. We’re all just trying to get by in one way or another.

One thing I think is especially detrimental to women in all of these mainstream advertising methods is the embedded expectation that most of a woman’s self love comes from how she regards her physical body. We’re either being told to love ourselves (with “ourselves” being code for “our visible exteriors”) or to hate and fix up parts of ourselves, but we’re not being told “A body is a body. You healthy? Good. Got interests and purpose and people to share your thoughts with? Good. So go live your life. If you want big eyelashes today, here’s a mascara for that. If you want to go swimming in a swimming costume, here are our many options.” Yeah, I know, sounds joyless, and like many industries would collapse or at least have to drastically downsize if women didn’t think their puss needed to smell like a Summer’s Eve or that they’re only fuckable if they look young or that the only good, un-disgusting armpit is a hairless, dry armpit. God, don’t get me started on anti-perspirant advertising. A lot of white-wearing or vaguely sporty or tamely indie women being wholesomely loveable and sooooo “confident” because there is no sweat coming from where we humans are meant to sweat from. Like, fucking seriously? Is this the best we can do?

I could go on and on. I hate it all. I spend a lot of my time NOT thinking about this stuff and avoiding mainstream media and publications like the plague, so my life is a happy one. I live, like many of us do, in a bubble of likeminded people. Little girls and little boys need to be helped to free themselves from this shit so we can continue to build alternative platforms and medias that serve us better.

Head over to facebook here and give her page a like to keep up with her, and follow on instagram here for inspiration. And if you enjoyed this interview, remember to share!

Part 2 of Lisa D's interview coming soon!

 

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