There is a movie out right now called “Show Dogs” that has been getting a lot of attention because of a scene with a terrible message associated with it. Parents who had seen it with their kids took to social media, warning other parents not to attend, explaining that the scene depicted a show dog having his private parts inspected and was told to “go to a zen place” and that he would be rewarded if he stayed still and let it happen.
"Disturbingly, these are similar tactics child abusers use when grooming children — telling them to pretend they are somewhere else and that they will get a reward for withstanding their discomfort," Dawn Hawkins, executive director of anti-pornography organization National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told CNN. "Children's movies must be held to a higher standard, and must teach children bodily autonomy, the ability to say 'no' and safety, not confusing messages endorsing unwanted genital touching.”
Following the outrage that began circulating the internet, officials from Global Road Entertainment, the media company behind "Show Dogs," made the decision to remove those disturbing scenes.
"The company takes these matters very seriously and remains committed to providing quality entertainment for the intended audiences based on the film's rating," according to a statement from the studio.
This was so reassuring to me, the fact that our voices and opinions can and do make a difference, and that it is important to use our voices to protect our children and stand for what we believe is right.
Many years ago, I was attending a movie premiere of a low-budget film I had made a cameo appearance in. I was dating my now-husband, Brad, and he and both of my parents attended with me. After the show, I introduced them all to the producer, and he asked me what my honest thoughts were about the show.
“Honestly?” I said. He nodded. “Honestly, I think there is a scene in the movie that is too scandalous and won’t go over well with the type of audience you’re trying to appeal to. I would edit it or take it out entirely. It made me a little uncomfortable, and I think it’s an unnecessary way to get an easy laugh.”
At that, my dad laughed out loud, embarrassed for me. He said he didn’t think it was that big of a deal, and him and the producer shared a "look" that to me said, “just a woman’s point of view.” It bothered me and I thought maybe I shouldn’t have said anything, but the producer smiled and thanked me for my time and Simon Cowell-inspired comments on his movie.
A few months later the show came out and I was surprised to discover that the producer did end up editing some of the “iffy” part. I wondered if maybe my comment made a difference in that decision, and I was glad I opened my mouth to give it.
We can use our voices for good or evil, as is proof of Roseanne Barr’s comeback sitcom being canceled for a racist and horribly rude comment she recently tweeted. According to Robert A. Iger, chief executive of ABC’s parent company Walt Disney Company, “there was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”
Barr apologized and announced she was “leaving” Twitter. I can’t say I’m sorry to hear it.
I’m sometimes sickened by the decisions made by the entertainment industry and the influence movies, TV shows and music has on all of us. But these two instances of companies who listened and made important decisions to make things right give me hope that our voices do matter.
Speak your goodness. Speak it strong. Let’s join our voices in a chorus for change.