There has been an international outburst overnight in response to the public shaming seen on ABC's Good Morning America, this Thursday.
TV presenter Lara Spencer has received a wave of online criticism from dancers and dance supporters, calling for her to apologise for comments made against Prince George, the eldest child of Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.
During a "Hot News" segment on the show, Spencer reveals to the audience that the upcoming school curriculum to be followed by young Prince George, will include the study of ballet. This fact she clearly finds both hilarious, and inconceivable.
She begins by listing the subjects deemed "acceptable" for a young royal to study, and finishes with the punch line that ballet will be included in his curriculum.
"In addition to the usual first or second grade things, like math, science and history, the future King of England will be putting down the Play-Doh to take on religious studies, computer programming, poetry and ballet, among other things," she said.
As laughter erupts from both the hosts and the audience, one is instantly made aware that the inclusion of ballet in the young Prince's curriculum is funny, embarrassing, and bewildering.
However, the most bewildering element of the segment, is the fact that such a damaging, archaic and uneducated opinion was allowed to air.
In a time when men and women from all classes, races, genders and religions are fighting for social equality, it comes off in particularly bad taste to insult a child for something as rudimentary as dancing.
Ballet is an art form that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts in the 15th and 16th century, and despite contemporary awareness of the intense physical requirements of the job, there still remains a gender-focused stigma. Public mocking for an interest in art education is unfortunately still prevalent in our society, perpetuating a culture of bullying and intimidation.
Jake Burden, the director of arts organisation Ballet Brothers and accomplished ballet teacher at the National College of Dance had this to say about the issue:
"This situation is proof that more education is needed worldwide for those who believe ballet is an exclusively feminine art form. Everyone knows of the beauty of the female ballerinas, but who do you think lifts those girls up? This art form is not specific to a single gender."
He goes on to discuss the negative effect this prevailing opinion can have.
"As an ex professional ballet dancer, I both saw, and experienced a lot of bullying growing up. I find it very difficult to watch someone who doesn't understanding the world of dance or ballet, use their international platform to abuse it."
These are opinions that have been echoed by many from across the world, and a number of online petitions have been created calling for apologies from both Spencer and Good Morning America, for allowing such damaging opinions to be voiced on air.
Since the public backlash against the incident, Spencer has posted a public apology on her Instagram.
"My sincere apologies for an insensitive comment I made in pop news yesterday," she wrote. "From ballet to anything one wants to explore in life, I say GO FOR IT. I fully believe we should all be free to pursue our passions. Go climb your mountain and love every minute of it."
If anything, this floundering faux pas is an opportunity for Good Morning America to show its dedication to supporting gender equality in the performing arts, and potentially introduce a segment that promotes the achievements and benefits of dance education.
One thing is for sure- although not everyone is a ballerina, everyone should be free to pursue the art form they most enjoy. Gender stereotyped humiliation on a global scale, especially geared towards children, is archaic, outdated and should be eliminated from the accepted social norms as soon as possible.