When I was a kid my sister and I were in possession of a hardback book with a powder-pink cover which taught me several very important things about being a woman — the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity, the proper use of the word “moi,” and that it’s completely acceptable to wear cocktail rings on top of your elbow-length lavender satin gloves.
Photos of the book from Rad Library. Nostalgia flooding back…and I’m still all about aping Piggy’s Chinese Banquet “recipe.”
Really though. Miss Piggy is a total badass. She was a feminist icon and a fashion icon long before you would ever have expected the twain to meet. She was Samantha Jones long before Kim Cattrall stepped into those Choos and started “oooh, honey”ing all over New York City. She was sexy, take-charge, and in control from the get-go, in a time when that kind of behavior was still taboo for women. And the fact that Piggy did all this while being a puppet with a man’s hand up her ass is…well, it’s a pretty sweet metaphor, if nothing else.
Can we talk about Miss Piggy for President on the cover of Life back in 1980? Or Miss Piggy writing about women in the workforce for The Saturday Evening Post in 1981? Or what about Miss Piggy getting all fucking nu-Jayne Mansfield on the cover of TV Guide, also in ’81? Piggy was a media juggernaut before media juggernauts even existed. She could probably teach the Kardashians a thing or two about self-promotion.
Miss Piggy was brought onto “The Muppet Show” in the mid-’70s as a minor character, but quickly proved to be a huge hit with viewers. In the late ’70s and early ’80s there was full-on Miss Piggy mania as her popularity eclipsed the other Muppets’ (even Kermit, the amphibian object of her affections — bittersweet, Piggy, non?). Miss Piggy’s Guide To Life hit the New York Times bestseller list in 1981, an honor no other Muppet book had achieved. Frank Oz, Piggy’s longtime voice and operator, has said that she is one of the few Muppets in the cast who has a fully realized, three-dimensional character. She even has a heartwrenching backstory — with a father who died young and a disinterested mother, Piggy had to enter beauty contests to survive. In an interview with the New York Times in 1976, Oz said that Piggy “has a lot of vulnerability which she has to hide.” Rings kinda true, doesn’t it?
There’s just something about that pig, man. In a way, I really think Miss Piggy’s psyche (and yes, I am talking about the psychological makeup of a Muppet, thank you very much) is relevant to a lot of young women today, and to the way we struggle with feminism and acceptance in a man’s world. Miss Piggy is headstrong and independent, she’ll do anything to get what she wants, and she’s not afraid to speak her mind, but she also wants to look sexy and be desired, and as the lone woman in a “boy’s club,” she harbors a strong internal need for attention that seems almost contradictory to her trademark confidence. Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?
Miss Piggy has fallen out of the public eye since the ’90s but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for her, so I’m pretty excited for the new Muppet movie coming out in November (and maybe also a little excited because my movie boyfriend, Jason Segel, is involved). As if that wasn’t enough to get me all hyped up, yesterday I learned that OPI has teamed up with Disney with a new line of Muppet-themed nail polishes for holiday 2011, so I can celebrate my Miss Piggy love in Muppet-approved fashion.
Just stop! They’re all perfect! But the pink, magenta, and red glitter shades are all specifically Miss Piggy-themed (“Excuse Moi!,” “Divine Swine,” and “Gettin Miss Piggy With It,” respectively) and they are also — naturally — my favorites.
I’ll leave you with this. Kissy-kissy!