Monday, July 16, 2012
My first (sort of) feminist idol
On the way back from the cabin yesterday we were listening to the soundtrack from the original Muppet Movie for August's entertainment, and to Frank Oz's falsetto Miss Piggy solo ("Never Before, Never Again"). I told Paul, "You know, I thought Miss Piggy was really pretty". He nearly veered the car as he said, "What??". "Aw c'mon, she had such pretty blond hair, those eyelashes, those limpid Elizabeth Taylor eyes... and that karate kick in high heels! How could I not have loved her?" I retorted.
And I realized that long before loving Virginia Woolf, before loving Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, before loving any other kick-ass woman, I loved Miss Piggy. She kicked ass.
Apologies for the terrible images, I scanned them from my old Muppet Movie book. I loved the movie so much that I bought a storybook that fairly accurately captures the story and tone of the movie (sans glorious musical numbers) , and I still have it. It's much worn, the front cover fell off long ago, but lo and behold—it retains a purpose.
Sure Piggy is vain, obsessed with being in the spotlight or pursuing careers that focus on her looks—she probably spends more time on makeup and shoe-shopping and costume changes than on introspection. But in a way that's okay. She doesn't doubt herself. She doesn't think she's too fat. Miss Piggy thinks she's gorgeous no matter what her species or thigh-size, and she has no fear of going after her desires, including Kermit.
Upon re-reading my book, I see in the scene where they have been captured by the baddies that Miss Piggy falls a little short of my expections. It says:
Piggy leaned over to Kermit. "I want you to know," she whispered, "I'm not a bit worried. I know you are planning something bold and clever".
She is either waiting for her prince to save the day or assuaging the male ego. And wow, look at the sexy bondage! Who knew!
But when the shit really hits the fan, when Kermit is about to have his brains sucked out and baddie Krassman (played by Mel Brooks) says, "Okay, Pig, say good-bye to the frog!" everything changes.
The terrible war cry resounded through the barn and for an instant all its occupants were frozen in fear. An instant was all it took. The ropes which bound Miss Piggy to the post snapped like thread, unleashing her in all her fury. Eyes blazing like those of a thing possessed, she rocketed across the barn, catching Krassman square in the gut with a devastating karate kick. As the startled scientist crumpled before her onslaught, the enraged pig wheeled upon Hopper's hired henchmen.
"HI-YAAAH!" The pink tornado ripped through the rank of startled thugs, scattering them in her wake.
Look at that gorgeous hair whirling around. I would like to be a tornado, I wanted to be one then, when I was 7 years old. I do not have any martial arts background and have somehow moved past the years when I wished I could truly kick some punk kickboxer style. I've always stood up for myself, yelled back at lewd or racist comments, in a kind of reckless way. I no longer fear attack as much as I used to, I don't stay out as late and come home alone on the subway at 3 a.m. But in my heart of hearts I still feel convinced that if my man or my child are ever threatened some kind of feral looming sabertooth tiger silhouette will rise up, expanding me, and I will KICK. SOME. ASS.
Oh, and yes I have a healthy collection of stilettos, even if I don't have much opportunity to wear them these days.
Scans taken from my old Muppet Movie book, whose cover and title page are missing so I can't say who published it or photographed it or interpreted the script into a narrative. Sorry!