Lifetime's Dance Moms is trashy but entertaining
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 23:01
For the sake of my own conscience, I’m going to pretend that I was not the only SMU student who spent a little too much time watching Dance Moms over the break. I am also going to tell myself that Dance Moms is artistic enough, what with the dancing and all, to keep it out of the category of complete trash reality TV. Now that I can live with myself, let us proceed.
For the select few of my readers who have not jumped on the Dance Moms bandwagon, let me give you a brief synopsis. The show follows a Pittsburgh dance company full of very young and very talented little girls. It also follows their mothers who apparently have enough time on their hands to spend every waking moment at the dance studio with their daughters. Because it wouldn’t be a proper reality show without a constant source of conflict, we have the overbearing dance teacher in the mix who frequently pushes the crazy buttons in all the mothers.
For any girl who grew up participating in one of the more feminine sports, this should be a familiar scenario. Gymnastics, dance, cheerleading, ice skating or anything else that requires a skimpy rhinestone-studded outfit is bound to come with at least one psycho mother per team. We’ve all seen that mom come in with a giant gift basket full of baked goods, leading us to wonder if our coach will still be with us tomorrow after consuming poisoned muffins.
As entertaining as these crazies may be, it is impossible to ignore the effects these mothers have on their daughters. The little girls on Dance Moms are constantly being verbally abused, compared to their teammates and shoved into the middle of adult feuds. Now, I’m no psychologist, but I’m pretty sure that is not a healthy environment for a child. After seeing it firsthand among my own friends growing up, I know that it results in low self-esteem and strained family relationships.
Why am I expressing my concerns over middle-aged women living through their daughters to a body of college students? Time and time again I have listened to my friends talk about how their kids will be tall, thin and beautiful dancers, or short, blonde and tiny cheerleaders. Er…I’m sorry, did I hear you correctly? Did you just tell me that your unborn children are going to look a certain way and be phenomenally good at the same sport in which you were only mediocre? In other words, “I am going to be very dissatisfied with my child and I am going to put tremendous amounts of pressure on her so that she grows up to be just as self-loathing as I am because that is the way my mother treated me and I hate her for it.” That is the crazy I hear when teenagers begin to talk of their future children.
Let us be very careful, SMU girls. We are very quick to point out the flaws found in the mothers on Dance Moms, but it sounds like many of us are on our way to similar behavior.
Thrall is a sophomore majoring in journalism and film.