The Misogyny and Authoritarianism of ‘Paw Patrol’

The characters may look cute and cuddly, but the popular cartoon sends a subtly sinister message

Walt D

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Photo: Nickelodeon/Viacom

Take a moment to consider what your kids are watching and how it will impact their future perception of authority, gender, and society.

If you’re a parent with young children you’re likely familiar with the cartoon Paw Patrol. The show is broadcast in 160 countries and rakes in $300 million in toy sales each year. For those lucky few who haven’t been exposed to Paw Patrol, here is a quick primer: A boy named Ryder and his team of search and rescue dogs (each with its own Village People-style theme and rescue vehicle) save the hapless residents of Adventure Bay on a daily basis.

On the surface, Paw Patrol seems like harmless fun. However, the themes presented to the impressionable audience depict a misogynistic, conservative authoritarian fantasy.

The cartoon presents a world where it is common practice for police to track people with surveillance drones. Its depiction of gender dismisses women’s position in the workplace and government. Finally, it builds a world where there are no social services, leaving citizens at the mercy of a private entity. In short, it is everything Trump’s Republican Party is pushing on the United States.

Authoritarianism

Let’s start with the desensitization of our youth to the police state. The leader of the Paw Patrol pups is a male police dog named Chase. Chase is simultaneously subservient to his boss, Ryder, and authoritarian toward his fellow Paw Patrol teammates. Chase is a classic authoritarian who manages to be both bootlicker and bully. In the early seasons, Chase is decked out in police blues with a sharp-looking officer’s cap.

The impressionable audience is taught that the police are unquestionably the authority in our society.

Chase is presented to the young audience as the leader of the Paw Patrol. Chase’s only qualification for this leadership role is that he is a police dog and, thus, is a natural figure of authority. The Paw Patrol’s primary task is to undertake rescue operations. This…

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