In the past decade, pole fitness/dance has exploded in popularity. The reason is not so much about the "sexiness" of it but more so about the flexibility, strength, muscle tone and great six pack it produces. It is big business for many who train to master this art for the purpose of competitions nationally and internationally. Pole fitness is even taught in some gyms as an alternative to training with weights by using your own body strength to build muscle and tone problem areas, all while 'working the pole'.
The pole fitness rumored replacement to women's bodybuilding can easily seem like a slap in the face to these bodybuilders, as well as the fans who love them. It quickly comes across as a very bold statement that these women are no longer accepted in this industry since they are judged with much more harshness than their male counterparts. To many fans and viewers, putting a woman on the "pole" to perform acrobatics for the enjoyment of the audience is not much different than performing a sexy striptease at a club to seduce the audience. While pole fitness may be a very good way to build a lean body and sculpt muscles, to some, it may also come across as yet another way to showcase women in the light of how many male audiences desire to see them.
So what will become of women's bodybuilding? Most of these bodybuilders are not surprised at the competition changes. In fact, they're aware that they've been in the minority in the bodybuilding world from the start. It's not that they necessarily believe pole fitness is replacing their sport, yet understood that their sport is being phased out. However, just because there has been a decision to not include them in competitions does not mean the muscles go away. Some female bodybuilders will find other ways to showcase their physiques. Some will conform to the standards set by the industry and continue to compete but in different categories, which will force them to strip down the muscle mass, reducing their bodies to the standards of fitness or physique categories. Then there are those who will retire from the sport altogether and become personal trainers and mentors of the sport they have loved and lived so passionately.
Just because they leave the stage does not mean they're gone. Killing the competition category does not kill the desire to build. For women's bodybuilding, being accepted by a male dominant industry is the desire if they hope to continue in this sport and be included toward the professional level. But the continuance of the fans and like minded audiences they inspire, who also follow them, will keep them alive and going strong, whether they are on stage or off.