(An englightened and engaged) Comment by Alfonsina:
Even though I can see your point, Alisha, I think the criticism towards pole dancing lessons is that, yet again, spaces to explore one's sexuality (women's sexuality) are created and defined by a male fanstasy, and hence a male gaze.
Granted, as you comment, in this case you are stripping for yourself, in a safe environment, and kudos for that. But, one could argue that there are other ways to explore your sexuality in an empowering way that does not comply with a essentially male fantasy.
In "What is a Modern Girl to do" Maureen Dowd argues "It took only a few decades to create a brazen new world where the highest ideal is to acknowledge your inner slut. I am woman; see me strip."
It seems that today we feel that in order to assert one's sexuality, and the "freedom" as women we now benefit from, we must become sex kittens. Booty shaking, hard ass, Victoria Secret, pole dancing "empowered" women.
It's not about the personal benefits that you've found in cardio striptease, but how it contributes to a number of elements in society that push women into a cornered, male-defined sexuality of Playmates, and Maxim "chicks."
I think the issue is the lack of spaces and options for women to exert their sexuality in different and alternative ways that can (not must) move away from the male clichés.