Famed Muppet Miss Piggy was a recent recipient of a major feminism award. The Brooklyn Museum Sackler Center First Awards honored the beloved Jim Henson character this week, along with trailblazers such as Sandra Day O’Connor and Toni Morrison. That’s certainly great news for fans of Miss Piggy, but not everyone was thrilled for the iconic character. Indeed, some people have gone out of their way to express umbrage at the idea of a mere puppet being honored as a feminist heroine.
Washington Post writer Justin Moyer was particularly offended at the notion. A feminism award for a puppet? How dare they!
“An inanimate, pig-shaped object often given voice by men has received an important feminist award before being interviewed by feminist icon Gloria Steinem about its fictional achievements.”
I don’t know whether Moyer is concern trolling about the feminism award, but it really sounds like he believes that men can’t be feminists or allies working for equal rights. That’s a rather damaging misconception which often places the onus on gender equality issues and education on women alone.
That attitude is a bit more disconcerting to me than whether or not an “inanimate object” is given a feminism award.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) June 4, 2015
In the case of Miss Piggy, it’s rather obtuse thinking to dismiss the character as merely “an inanimate object.” Expert puppeteers work very hard to bring her to life for audiences. If done correctly, it’s actually possible for people to form an emotional connection and attachment to characters like Miss Piggy. As for the “given voice by men” argument, it seems Moyer neglected to mention the fact that Miss Piggy was created by a woman named Bonnie Erickson.
“Sackler falsely credited Miss Piggy with human qualities a puppet cannot possess.”
Sackler credited Miss Piggy with inspiring generations of children to be themselves. As a character represented across various media formats, Miss Piggy has long demonstrated the personality traits of a tough, no-nonsense diva. This was true even at the height of the sexist ’70s. Many years later, Miss Piggy remains a fondly remembered and easily recognizable Jim Henson Muppet. If you were to stop the average American on the street, you would be hard-pressed to find one who doesn’t know who she is.
Indeed, you have to be something of a Grinch to go out of your way to discredit a beloved American cultural figure.
A character can demonstrate whatever beliefs its creators want. In the case of Miss Piggy, she’s “a feminist pig.” Miss Piggy (and yes, I do know that puppets can’t type) explained in her own words why she’s a perfect candidate to receive a feminism award.
“I believe that any woman who refuses to accept society’s preconceived notions of who or what they can be is a feminist. I believe any woman who is willing to struggle, strive (and if necessary learn karate) to make their mark in the world is a feminist. And, yes, I believe that any woman, who cares about her appearance, her star billing and most especially her percentage of the gross, is a feminist.
Moi is all of these things.”
There you have it, straight from the horse’s, or rather, the pig’s mouth. It certainly sounds like this character represents ideals that any modern woman or girl can be proud of. Therefore, there’s really no need to freak out at the idea of Miss Piggy receiving a feminism award.
No worries, women of the world: You are free to admire anyone who inspires you in a positive way. Even puppets.
[Image Credits: Kevin Winter/Getty Images]