Strong Females: Miss Piggy

Puppetry was a strong part of my childhood.  I thought of the Muppets, the Fraggles, the residents of Sesame Street as real individuals. I really got into the Nickelodeon show “Pinwheel” (I still hum the song to myself whenever I see a Pinwheel).

I enjoyed puppetry so much that when I was a teenager, I spent two years with my church’s Youth Puppetry club, learning how to do a proper puppet show and manipulate puppets. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever had a chance to do.  Even when we were off stage, we treated each puppet as if they had their own personality and purpose. We had names for all of them, and each member of our puppetry club had a favorite puppet or two. 

Then there are the Muppets. The Muppets are so much more than just puppets: they are characters, that have their own personalities, voices, and opinions. So, today, my Strong Female Series will focus on the most Feminine of Muppets, my Hero, Miss Piggy.

1. Who is the character? Miss Piggy, also known as “Piggy Lee” or “Pigathius” (And Peggy in foreign countries) piggy 1 2. What is her role/Career in the world she belongs to?

Miss Piggy is a Diva. This means that whenever there is a Muppet Production, she is the Female Lead. She would not have this any other way.  Piggy is the star, everyone knows it, and there is no countermanding or questioning her place in the role of the Muppets. Even when Kermit tried to fire her,  she would not go. She is integral to the Muppets.

3. What is the source of her power? Does she have [magic] power because she was born with it? If she was not “born to the power” how did she get the power? Did she have to put up a fight to obtain her power? [I.e. “Chosen by a mysterious Council, win via election, did she take power or have it forced upon her). Did she have to put up a fight to obtain her power?karatepig

Miss Piggy doesn’t have “magic power” like some of the other women covered in this series. Miss Piggy herself is power. As a Diva, Piggy makes sure that no other ladies get any limelight or attention. She is an actress, singer, dancer, and fashonista. Piggy has awesome Karate skills. She’s multi-talented, and is not afraid to show this off.

Life hasn’t always been easy for Miss Piggy. As a pig, she was born in a farm. She claims that growing up on a farm was “Very humbling… I don’t like being humble, so I got out fast.” Yes, she’s a Diva. But she’s earned it. She is a hard working woman, focused on her career (with her relationship a very close second.)

4. Who are the important men in her life? Can we, in any way, attribute her position, power, or authority in thanks to the men in her life? (father, brother, boyfriend/husband/lover)? (Did Daddy giver her the power, is she only cool because she’s the Chosen One’s girlfriend?)

While there are many, many men that Miss Piggy has associated with, she only has one man in her life: her beloved Kermit T. Frog. For Piggy, Kermit is the Moon and Stars, her soul mate. Piggy met almost every female guest of The Muppet Show with a hint of warning, jealousy, and a bit of anger. kermitpig  While she would frequently flirt with Male guests, if Kermit flirted with other girls, she would rage. She needed to remind him, “Kermie, you are mine!” From Kermit’s perspective, we are not ever really sure what he thinks about Miss Piggy.

From Kermit’s perspective: Does he love her? Does he even like her? Has he encouraged her romantic pursuit off-screen, or behind the scenes, only to publicly act like he’s not interested? There are hints throughout the Muppets about the relationship between Kermit and Piggy “off stage.” There are hints that they are  hinting that they are married, (or dating) and keeping it a secret to keep their personal and professional lives separate.

Kermit frequently denies this rumor, but Piggy seems to stir the rumor, wanting people to know that she and Kermit are one.

She is not cool because she’s Kermit’s woman. No, she is cool on her own right. Piggy does not limit her career to be around Kermit either: her career is so much more than the Muppet Show and Muppet Theater.

5. Is she ever used as a “damsel in Distress”? If so, how did she handle her capture/stress? Does she rescue herself, or did she put herself into stress to begin with?

Piggy is not the Damsel in Distress. When she is, it is merely ‘acting,’ playing a role of the Damsel, or is trying to get Kermit to pay her attention. . She has “bad-ass Karate skills” and could hurt anyone who tried to do her harm. 

6. Sex: Is sex and sexuality important to the character? Does she spend much of her time trying to impress the men around her? Is she the maiden/mother/crone?

Sex? Not as important in the story of Miss Piggy. She has her man, Kermit, and that’s all she’s concerned with. While she may flirt, she only has eyes for the Frog. Piggy does spend a lot of time trying to impress Kermit, working to convince him to marry her, to let others know that they are married, even to scare other women away from her frog. But her romantic relationship is nothing compared to the love Piggy has for herself.

Piggy has a very positive self-esteem and is proud of herself and her body; she does not consider herself a “big girl.” In one of her many roles, as a model, she has shown off pride in herself: Style Miss Piggy does not consider herself a “plus size model,” or a large girl. Nonetheless, she is a role model to overweight girls who are shy about themselves.

7. How “manly” is the character? Is she a tomboy or androgynous? Is she really just a male character in a female body?

This one is the tricky question. Miss Piggy is all feminine. There is never a doubt in anyone’s mind that Miss Piggy is a Miss.

EXCEPT…. She’s voiced and played by a man. Until 2002 Piggy was voiced and played by Frank Oz, and since then, she’s been voiced and played by Eric Jacobson. 

Does that make her androgynous? I don’t think so.  Perhaps playing Piggy gave Frank Oz (and now Eric Jacobson) a chance to explore their
“feminine sides.”

8. What are her weaknesses?

Miss Piggy is easy to anger, has extreme jealousy, and is fairly self-absorbed.

Mad piggy

9. How interesting would she be if she were a male character? 

As a man, Miss Piggy would be Creepy. If She were Male and Kermit were Female, well… There would be a sexual harassment suit in the works. I contend that a “Mr Pigg” would be a creepy boss to a “Miss Kermie” and that Miss Kermie might claim a hostile work envoirnment.

Except, there is the idea that the two have an existing off stage relationship: in which case, Piggy is just slightly unprofessional and unable to contain her emotions.

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