“Show Dog” stars Will Arnett as an FBI agent named Frank who is forced into partnering with a talking dog named Max (voiced by Ludacris) to infiltrate a prestigious dog show in the hopes of rescuing a kidnapped panda. One of the film’s plot points involved the character Max learning to cope with the idea of having a judge examine his genitals while competing in the dog show.
The backlash against “Show Dogs” has come swift and fierce, including from left-wing outlets like Slate, which also castigated the film for having a whole plotline dedicated to unwanted genitals fondling in a children’s movie. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) said the film pushes a “troubling message that grooms children for sexual abuse.” The group’s executive director, Karen Hawkins, noted that this comfortable “zen place” the character Max ascends to during the unwanted touching is a tactic used by child molesters.
Did Will Arnett or Ludacris or Natasha Lyonne not see anything remotely troubling in having a plot point focused on unwanted genital touching in a movie intended for little kids? If not for the whole pedophile grooming thing, then what about good old-fashioned age-appropriateness? The sexism inherent here must also be acknowledged. Imagine if the character Max were a female dog named Maxine. Would the makers of “Show Dogs” have been so ambivalent about the genital touching?
ht/ all too much