I went and saw the new Muppet movie in a theater a few weeks ago.  I’ve been sitting on this post for two reasons.  First, I’ve been horrendously busy with work.  And secondly, I had to think long and hard about a few things I found on the website for the movie (more on that in a moment).

I’ll admit that when I found out about the new Muppet Movie, I was extremely excited to see what Kermit and the gang are up to these days.  I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s watching Muppet Babies and the various Muppet Movies, and even a few reruns of the Muppet Show when we could find it.  Miss Piggy has always been my favorite.

As a chubby girl, it was amazing to see Miss Piggy turn a stereotype on it’s head.  She never seemed to identify as a “fat” character, though clearly as a pig she was heavier than her love interest, Kermit the Frog.  She didn’t shy away from the spotlight (understatement of the year!) and wasn’t ashamed to dress in beautiful and sometimes provocative clothes.  Always classy, always dressed to the nines, and never someone to mess with.  She stood out as the only “person” in my young life who was a powerful, beautiful, sexy, talented woman.  Who also happened to be a plus size.

So as I left the theater after seeing the new Muppet Movie, I thought about all of the things that Miss Piggy has taught me and other plus sized girls about fashion.

1) Life is short.  Wear a fabulous hat.

2) Pearls are for everyday wear.

3) Heels are for everyone.

4) Beauty knows no size limit.

I also made a few observations about how other characters react to Miss Piggy.  No one ever, in any way refers to her size.  In fact, none of the Muppets make fun of anyone based on their appearance.  Why is that?  There’s some evidence that Jim Henson saw puppets as a way to bring issues of equality and acceptance to people’s attention in a fun and easily acceptable way.

So after I saw the movie, I went to the official Muppet website to see if the Muppets were going to be in anything else soon.  There wasn’t any information about future projects, but there were some fun things to play with… and a few things that made me want to cry.  On Miss Piggy’s character page, you can play an awesome game where you design clothing for Miss Piggy based on the color and pattern preference she gives you in each round.  The dress form you’re designing on is very shapely, much like Miss Piggy herself.  It’s fun to play with, even if you’re not trying to win the game!

But I can’t get a couple of negative things out of my head, and they’re really bothering me.  First, there’s a bonus video clip (not shown in the movie, just on the web site) that shows Miss Piggy going through a drive through as she watches footage of herself.  At first, she orders what she wants, a double cheeseburger and a few other things.  Then she spots herself in one of the clips (they don’t show the clips, just her reactions to the clips) and she says “dear lord I look like a parade float!”  She then changes her order to a salad without dressing or croutons and a water.  The other upsetting thing is an “easter egg” bit you see if you click on Rizzo and the rats on Miss Piggy’s character page.  Miss Piggy walks across the screen wondering to herself if her outfit will make her look fat on the internet.  Then Rizzo walks across the screen making a comment about how “that pig puts the WIDE in world wide web!”

Why Disney?  Why did you do this to my favorite character?  Are we going to start making fun of Gonzo because he’s blue?  Or perhaps we’ll make Fozzie the butt of some mean jokes because he’s hairy?

Whatever your stance on dieting, health, and obesity, it should NEVER be ok to make jokes about anyone’s appearance.  And Miss Piggy’s sudden order change in the drive through?  Do we really want to send the message to little girls that they need to go on diets simply because of their appearance?  All kinds of evil flow from accepting these two bits as comedy and not taking a stand against their message.  Eating disorders, bullying, depression, body shame, discrimination, I could go on and on.

Kermit famously sang “It’s not easy being green”  which originated in the early 1970’s.  Maybe it’s time for Miss Piggy to go on record as accepting herself as she is and stop the self hating comments.

Until then, I think I’ll just take her exercise advise from Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life which according to the Muppet Wiki includes “napping and lifting mugs of hot chocolate. There are several step-by-step photographs of some exercises, such as achieving pin-up girl poses of increasing levels of difficulty all the way up to “The Garbo,” racing in place, and the gift-lift (how to unwrap a present).”

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