My children are too old now to much enjoy a movie like Show Dogs, which is aimed at an elementary school audience. Even still, I thought it important to help get the word out about the movie and to call attention to a part of the plot that has parents and those who work with children alarmed.
In her review of the movie on the Macaroni Kid website, Terina Maldonado points out that the movie, otherwise a harmless, fun-filled fare for children, includes a theme of submission to sexual groping. The movie is about talking dogs in a dog show and the main character, named Max, is really an undercover police dog who is participating in hopes of rescuing a panda that has been kidnapped. Part of the show, however, includes an examination of every dog show entry’s genitalia. Max at first balks at this unexpected and unwanted violation, but it is quickly explained to him that, if he wants to be taken seriously in his undercover role of dog show participant and succeed in his mission of exposing the criminals and rescuing the panda, he must get over his jitters about the exam and submit to it. Another dog, a former champion, who has submitted to such exams in the past, recommends that Max go to his “zen place” during the exam in order to get through it. The film includes the scene where Max’s genitalia are examined and where Max gets through it by imagining all sorts of pleasant scenes and experiences during the exam. As Terina Maldonado explains in her review:
“The day of the finals come and if Max doesn’t let his private parts be touched, he may lose the competition and any hope of finding the kidnapped panda. It all rests on his ability to let someone touch his private parts. The judge’s hands slowly reach behind Max and he goes to his “zen place”. He’s flying through the sky, dancing with his partner, there are fireworks and flowers-everything is great-all while someone is touching his private parts.”
This is what pedophiles do. They explain to children that what they are doing is normal, and if they want to make whoever happy, or make whatever happen, they need to submit to their own sexual exploitation. That a movie aimed at very young children would be giving those children this message is sickening.
Hollywood suffers an epidemic of sexual abuse of child actors. This is not well known because the industry has been pretty successful, with the help of the mainstream media, in keeping it hushed up. While the #MeToo movement has done much to expose the rampant abuse of women in the entertainment industry, the sexual abuse of children remains largely under wraps. Now, we have a movie that includes in its own plot a primer for children on how they should submit to sexual exploitation and how to get through it when a stranger or someone important wants to touch you.
Don’t take your kids to see Show Dogs. And, don’t forget to tell them about the dangers out there in a way that is age-appropriate, always making sure they know that they can come to you about anything.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.