Long before Beyonce publicly branded herself as a feminist and before Taylor Swift even understood what being a feminist meant, there was Miss Piggy. And this week, the glamorous pig was honored with the Sackler Center First Award from the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.
Obviously, there has been some hee-hawing about how a Muppet can receive the same prestigious award given out to Sandra Day O'Connor, Toni Morrison, Anita Hill and other women who have been recognized as firsts in their fields and extraordinary barrier-breakers. But Miss Piggy shut down the haters in a way only she can.
"As a young woman born on a farm, I was told that my life would be nothing but mud, sweat and tears ... and the occasional trip to the 4-H fair," Miss Piggy wrote in an op-ed for Time."Now that may have been enough for some, but not for moi. I refused to accept someone else's definition of my life and my future. I knew there was something bigger and better out there — and that I could achieve it if I never, ever gave up. Thanks to grit, fortitude, perseverance, the inspiration of other great feminists and the aforementioned karate, I did in fact achieve those dreams. Today, I live in Hollywood, where there is still a lot of mud, sweat and tears, but the hours and compensation are much more attractive."
As Miss Piggy noted, there is no one way to be a good feminist and she can still be a trailblazing icon and an ambitious Hollywood starlet who cares about her appearance at the same time. That's because reducing any group - whether feminists, people or pigs - to any one stereotype is a damaging practice, as Piggy points out.
"How can a ... ahem, pig ... be a feminist?" Miss Piggy asked. "After all, the p word has long been associated with the very antithesis of feminists 'male chauvinist.' This, alas, is a vestige of latent 'species-ism.' Sure, there are male chauvinist pigs, but there are also male chauvinist humans and, on very rare occasions and at their own peril, male chauvinist amphibians. Let us not besmirch an entire species because of the sins of a few."
For those who don't know Miss Piggy well, her eloquence and intelligence here might have surprised you. But for those who have followed her career for decades, Miss Piggy has always been a nuanced, inspiring female icon who won't hesitate to oink in the face of the so-called "Meninists" and seek to educate those women daft enough to declare that they "don't need feminism."
So before you go about criticizing the fact that a Muppet pig just won an award for feminism, maybe you should think critically about all of those people who don't believe in feminism in the first place. It's what Miss Piggy would do.