Too revealing a costume?

Erin Andrews is one of the most talked about stars on ABC’s hit reality show, “Dancing With the Stars.” But it’s not just because of her high-praised dancing ability or fiery love/hate relationship with her partner and dance pro, Maks.

Recently, Erin has been all over the media because of two separate stalking incidents, including one involving a man who filmed her through a peephole in her hotel room and posted nude video of her on the Internet.

Andrews continued to receive death threats from another stalker after she appeared on the DWTS, and in March the man who had filmed her was sentenced to federal prison.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, one of the co-hosts on ABC’s “The View” publicly criticized Erin for her choice of costume – or lack thereof – on Tuesday, subtly blaming her for the continued harassment. Hasselbeck stated:

“In light of what happened and as a legal [matter] – and as inexcusable as it was for that horrific guy to go in and try to peep on her in her hotel room. .. I mean, in some way if I’m him, I’m like, ‘Man! I just could’ve waited 12 weeks and seen this – a little bit less – without the prison time!'”

I believe Hasselbeck was mostly referring to a costume Andrews wore during salsa week – but in actuality, Erin was completely covered from the neck all the way down to her arms. It was considered “suggestive” because it was completely nude in color, making her appear to be, well, nude – with only purple sequins strategically designed around certain parts of her body for “cover.”

So when do the costumes become more about selling the body as a sex symbol rather than an art form?

Autumn Turley, a good friend with ties to DWTS gave me the inside scoop inside a true dancer’s world:

“In dance, we have to show our bodies because that’s what people are looking at,” she says. “For example, showing the lines of our arms, the definition and movement in our legs in certain dances, and the form of our backs is what professionals are judged on.”

She goes on to say, “If our costumes are too heavy or our dresses too long, we are actually docked points in professional ballroom.”

But professional dance off-camera and professional dance on-camera may actually be two different worlds.

“There is definitely a line,” Autumn states. “Wearing nothing but a bra and underwear like they do sometimes on DWTS just to show off your body detracts from the beautiful art that dancing is!”

She goes on to say that compared to the professional dancing world, DWTS sometimes goes over the top in their costuming for — what else? — ratings.

“Sex sells. That’s where I get disappointed, as a dancer. When on TV it becomes about getting ratings and selling the body instead of in the real dance world where costumes are used to complement the body, and enhance the art of dancing.”

So, were Erin’s costumes too revealing? Is it her fault she is continued to be pursued by stalkers and sexual predators because of what she chooses to wear on TV? And how much say do the stars really have in designing their own costumes for the show?

According to Autumn, “The stars have full say in the costumes they wear. Their pros (dancing partners) get to design their costumes, but then they run it by their stars to get approval. If there’s anything the stars don’t want, or don’t like, they have full reign to change it.”

So obviously, Erin approved of — and was comfortable in — ALL her costumes.

Now whether her costumes were appropriate for the situation is up to individual discretion. From Erin’s perspective, if she had stalkers before the show, filming her in the privacy of her own hotel room, why would what she wears now make any difference? And should she let these bad experiences dictate how she lives her life from now on? Agreeing to appear on DWTS, despite what’s happened in her past, seems to say, “I’m not going to let this bring me down, or scare me into not living my life.” She probably thinks of it as a way of overcoming her fears.

On the other hand, from Elisabeth’s perspective, she probably thinks if you are getting threats and have stalkers following you, you probably should not: a) even go on DWTS in the first place knowing that you’ll probably have to wear scantily clad costumes and open yourself up to even more stalkers and harassment, or b) at least go overboard in dressing modestly.

What do you think? Should Erin have gone on the show? Should her costumes be more modest? Do you think the women’s costumes on “Dancing With the Stars” need to be more family-friendly?

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