The new Lifetime series ‘Dance Moms’ may be picking up steam with viewership, but one person who won’t be tuning in is former ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star Katherine Heigl.
Heigl slammed ‘Dance Moms’ in her weekly iVillage blog for sending inappropriate messages to young girls and encouraging them to dress ‘provocatively’ at ages as young as 7. She wrote;
“I recently happened to catch an episode of Dance Moms and watched with open-mouthed amazement as girls as young as seven were encouraged to dress provocatively and shimmy around a stage doing a dance performance that could just as easily been a burlesque routine. I kept thinking all these girls were missing is a pole! I was also horrified by the way their instructor spoke to them when she felt they weren’t up to snuff. It was demeaning, belittling, and downright unkind.”
Reality television clearly has an agenda to fill these days as more and more viewers tune into train wreck series more than anything else, but shows like ‘Dance Moms’ and ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ begin to raise the question of what is actually crossing the line? Heigl’s main issue with ‘Dance Moms’ is the studio owner, Abby Lee Miller and her treatment of the children. She said;
“There is no reason to break anyone down in order to prepare them for inevitable disappointment or unkindness. There is no reason to diminish anyone’s self-esteem in order to get them to try harder next time. Especially not a child’s.”
The actress went on to talk about how terrifying it is that shows like these place a great deal of emphasis on the importance of being “sexy”, saying that it’s one thing to see “20-somethings” being sexy on the dance floor and quite another to see a 7 year old doing the same thing for a prize. She said;
“What in the world are we telling them? That sexy is the prize and is the talent they have? The young girls on Dance Moms are wonderfully talented, spirited ladies who should be encouraged to perform since they seem to truly have a knack for it. I just wish they were being inspired, instructed and supported for their gifts as I was when I found my creative path.”
Unfortunately good natured programming about love and support don’t usually bring in the viewers like drama filled, meltdown shows do, so unless the audience watching changes what they like to watch it’s unlikely that shows like ‘Dance Moms’ will be going anywhere any time soon.
Photo: Luke Ford