Pennsylvania ponders what's a "sexually-oriented business"?
With a name like "SeXXXercise," it was sure to raise some eyebrows. And now dance school owner Stephanie Babines has more free publicity for her pole dancing classes than she ever could have hoped for:
Babines filed a lawsuit against officials in Butler County, PA, for refusing to let her operate a dance studio featuring classes like "stiletto strut" and "power lap dance." The SeXXXercise classes, part of the so-popular-right-now pole dancing trend, would be women-only with no spectators aloud. In other words, they were plain-old, sexy exercise classes,.
But nothing doing, said officials, who accused her of operating a "sexually-oriented business."
Never mind it's a dance studio and the classes are performed fully clothed. The township's code enforcement officer cited Babines' web site, OhMyYoureGorgeous.com, as evidence she planned to operate a sexually-oriented business, blaming her (gasp!) black and pink color scheme and (no!) stiletto graphic. In her complaint, Babines wrote:
"The studio is not a men’s entertainment club or strip joint, nor is it a mere front for such activity. Rather, the dance Ms. Babines hopes to teach is part of a growing national exercise movement. Chronicled in U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, Pittsburgh Magazine, and Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, pole dancing provides “a workout that combines aerobics, dance, yoga, [and] strength training.” Ms. Babines has seen her dance classes help women get in shape, build self-confidence, and express their sexuality."
Thankfully, tast night, the Adams Township zoning board in Butler County relented and the pole-dancing will go on. Babines is free to open her dance studio and teach her SeXXXercise classes immediately.
It's a victorious day for the First Amendment, but a total bummer of a reminder that this country's relationship with sexuality is upside-down. Really, what's this nonsense about no "sexually oriented businesses"? Does Pennsylvania have any sex shops? Strip clubs? Victoria's Secrets? Newstands selling copies of Playboy? Let's be honest -- Adams Township had a problem with a business promoting women's sexuality, not just a "sexually oriented business." Nothing gets Americans quite so nervous as empowered women enjoying sex and being sexual.
Go shut down all the newstands selling porno mags and then we'll take you seriously, guys, okay?