I am writing a short article tonight. Regarding an episode I watched with my daughter called “Dance Moms” that airs on Lifetime.
I thought it was suppose to be a show with a focus on the art of dance and to inspire younger people to pursue their dreams of becoming a dancer, HOWEVER, this evening was a very disturbing episode. It seemed like it was a show to portray what person with a mental illness is like thru her opinion and very wrong portrayal.
In their competition of dance, the teacher, had a young child perform while told to portray someone who was from an “insane asylum” wearing what portrayed as a “straight jacket” hands bound and wrapped tightly. Others may not agree with me that it is disturbing or offensive. But as for myself, it was very much so. And I didn’t like the fact that the network allowed it to air without any kind of warning for viewers. I continued to watch to see if at any moment they would explain things in a better light but nothing.
So how are we as a society going to eradicate the stigma that continues to be allowed to portray false representations of people who live with mental illness. I just don’t understand why this type of scene or dance was allowed to be aired on a regular television show with no filter or warning for people that could have been watching who are sensitive to things like this! It was offensive. I could understand if I was sitting down to watch what I knew would be a horror film (which I don’t watch them) but I wouldn’t expect that to be in a dance show on Lifetime with little kids as cast members being yelled at by am instructor who is telling them to portray this image! Where’s the moral of people these days? I guess that is become a thing of the past. Because there seems to be no filter anymore.
I’m very sensitive to stuff like this, because I had to watch my son suffer through his own mental health war. And even though he is in a much better place now, I still choose to advocate for others who are still in trauma. He battles everyday as he would say, but he is no where near the battle he was forced to fight before.
For those who know a little about history with mental illness and older terms, people would use those terms of “insane asylum” “straight jacket” “nuthouse” “psycho” among so many others when referring to mentally ill patients and it was demeaning and still is. People who live with mental illness are not “demonic” or “evil” or “dark” so the media needs to knock it off.
Evil people are evil, with evil intentions. It’s evil that drives evil, not mental illness! My son has a mental illness and he is NOT evil! He is the most compassionate, respectful, God-fearing, kind-hearted, giving young man people could come to know. But it’s because of “Stigma” that he and others are uncomfortable sharing their success stories due to fear of being labeled or ridiculed for having a health challenge that happens to impact the way their brain functions.
I’m not naive or oblivious to these either. And I tweeted about it while tagging dance moms and lifetime on my Twitter accounts, both personal and the business one. Hoping that there will not be a “next time” for an episode like this. I hope they will publicly apologize for anyone else it may have offended.
Scenes like these in media, are why stigma remains and continues, because there are other people who are uninformed and uneducated and believe what they see on television.
So I am asking anyone else who will stand with me on this valid complaint and has a Twitter account to RT (retweet) or Like it to show the network that it’s a valid concern for our society & hopefully they will be more aware & supportive toward ending the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Stigma must be eradicated! Please help me speak up and speak out on this, NOT being ok!!!!
Thank you for listening! And thank you for your support!