Friday, June 12, 2015

Miss Piggy, Role Model

I have had friends point this out to me:
On Thursday Miss Piggy—yes, that Miss Piggy, the animated force of nature who’s charmed audiences for four decades—was presented with this year’s Sackler Center First Award by Elizabeth A. Sackler and Gloria Steinem. (Yes, that Gloria Steinem.) She joins the ranks of such luminaries as Connie Chung, Toni Morrison, and Julie Taymor, “women who have broken gender barriers and made remarkable contributions in their fields.” The event took place at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, and included a charming back-and-forth between Steinem and Miss Piggy’s date, Kermit the Frog (who is “very proud” of her, he said), a video retrospective of her career, and a brief onstage chat between Steinem and the honoree herself.

The highlight, however, was certainly Miss Piggy’s acceptance speech, in which she declared that while she once did not identify as such, “Starting today, moi IS a feminist!” She also addressed the criticism she’s received for being honored with the Sackler Center First Award, namely that she’s not a “real person”:

So, why Miss Piggy? I spoke with Sackler before the ceremony, and she explained:
“Miss Piggy embodies the human characteristics that we so look up to, and I think all of the earlier Sackler Center First Awardees … have within them the very qualities that we see straight out from Miss Piggy: Determination, grit, humor, tenacity, direction—a decision of what you want to do, and how you’re going to get there.”
Piggy certainly contains some character flaws common among self-described feminists these days, particularly narcissism and attention-whoring, but she is in one very particular way deeply opposed to their dogma. Specifically, she has learned (and apparently frequently uses) karate. Self-defense is not the gender feminist's method of choice to deal with threats to women's persons; instead we hear demands for utopias along the lines of "teach men not to rape". That this is delusional and unworkable apparently does not register. In this regard, Piggy has adapted herself to the world that is, not the one she wishes existed, which sets her apart and above her modern feminist sisters. The choice may seem like a joke, but feminists could actually stand to learn a great deal from watching her.

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