Katherine Heigl has taken aim at reality TV show "Dance Moms," insisting she was "horrified" to see young girls writhing like strippers in the program.
The star, who is mother to an adopted daughter called Naleigh, has written a blog about the importance of self-esteem for iVillage.com and she singles out the show as an example of how young females are "demeaned" and "berated" over their looks.
"Dance Moms" follows a group of mothers and children eager to pursue a career in showbusiness, and Heigl is adamant such coaching is bad for young girls.
She writes, "I'm not much of a reality TV watcher... But 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... 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 twenty-somethings embracing their sexuality and having some fun, but it's another thing altogether watching seven-year-olds shake their booties, bellies, and non-existent 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?"
Heigl goes on to reveal her own mother helped protect her self-esteem when she was a child, and she fears many kids don't receive the same kind of support.
She adds, "My mother worked hard to build up my self-esteem... and made it her priority to see me grow into a young woman who had a sure and steady sense of herself that could not be torn apart. The example my mother set for me is what I hope to achieve and emulate on behalf of my own daughter..."