In a CelebVillage blog series on iVillage, actress Katherine Heigl offers passionate posts on her personal experience as a mother. Her desire for her daughter Naleigh, she reveals, is to help her “live up to her potential in life.”
In her final post, “My Struggle to Make Sure My Daughter Knows Her Worth,” Heigl writes extensively about the reality show “Dance Moms.” In her opinion, it represents a warped idea of how to teach and motivate a young child to dance. And I completely agree.
I have not seen a whole episode of “Dance Moms” because I find it very disturbing. However, I’ve seen clips and can’t understand how this show is even allowed on the air. I feel that the teacher is emotionally abusive to the young girls. Heigl says it best in her blog; following are some of the excerpts:
[I] 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.
It terrifies me, the amount of value we place on a woman’s looks, body, and ability to drop it like it’s hot on the dancefloor. It’s one thing to walk into a club and see twentysomethings embracing their sexuality and having some fun, but it’s another thing altogether watching seven-year-olds shake their booties, bellies, and nonexistent boobies on a stage in a room full of adults and be handed a trophy for it. What in the world are we telling them? That sexy is the prize and is the talent they have?
We will have to find a way to convince our children that what they see in the world around them is not always right and true even when it’s far more prevalent than what we tell them is right and true.
Heigl’s absolutely correct. Society and the media have established their own sense of what’s normal behavior through reality shows, and young girls are picking up on it. We’ve discussed the sexualization of young girls in our post Too Young, Too Sexy, Too Fast and how it destroys a child’s innocent years. It also negatively affects a young girl’s self-worth in the long run.
It’s crazy that so many adults are willing to accept little girls becoming sexualized for the sake of fame and money. The moms in these shows are the primary caregivers of these children and yet they allow this to happen. Some do question the dance teacher’s methods, but then allow her to abuse them and their children anyway. I wish these “dance moms” had the same attitude as Heigl.
The good news is that Heigl is publicizing her concerns. Her suggestion that families instill their own good values to combat media pressure is praiseworthy. “We will have to perpetually battle and kick against the values mass media prioritize” she writes, “and emphasize those that truly matter.” It’s nice to know that even in Hollywood there are celebrities determined to raise their children as children.
I applaud Heigl for being so outspoken about the sexualization of young children in show business. I wish more Hollywood celebrities would not only reject shows like “Dance Moms,” but insist on instilling positive values in their own children’s lives, just as Heigl is trying to do. This would make a refreshing change in an industry that’s lost sight of wholesome family values.
Do you watch “Dance Moms”? What do you think about Heigl’s feelings about the show?