Katherine Heigl: Lifetime's Dance Moms Is "Demeaning" and "Belittling"

Celebrity News Jan. 30, 2012 AT 7:30PM
Katherine Heigl: Lifetime's Dance Moms Is "Demeaning" and "Belittling" Credit: Kevin Winter/NBCUniversal/Getty Images; Lifetime

Katherine Heigl has a bone to pick with Lifetime's popular reality series Dance Moms.

In her weekly iVillage blog post, the 33-year-old One For the Money star slams the popular show for sending inappropriate messages to young girls.

"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."

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"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," Heigl writes. "It was demeaning, belittling, and downright unkind."

Heigl was particularly perturbed by the behavior of Abby Lee Miller, the brash dance studio owner from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "There is no reason to break anyone down in order to prepare them for inevitable disappointment or unkindness," she says. "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."

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Heigl -- who has a 3-year-old daughter, Naleigh, with husband Josh Kelley -- is bothered by "the amount of value we place on a woman's looks, body and ability to drop it like it's hot on the dance floor."

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"It's one thing to walk into a club and see 20-somethings embracing their sexuality and having some fun, but it's another thing altogether watching 7-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," she says. "What in the world are we telling them? That sexy is the prize and is the talent they have?"

Heigl doesn't place the blame on the child performers, however. "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," the Grey's Anatomy alum explains.

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"I just wish they were being inspired, instructed and supported for their gifts as I was when I found my creative path."

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