The honoree of the 2015 Sackler Center First Awards has been announced, and the winner is.... a muppet! No, you are not reading this in error, the Sackler Center is actually giving Miss Piggy a prestigious award because apparently no actual non-fiction female human being has done anything interesting or important over the last year. While previous Sackler Center First Awards have honored incredibly accomplished women such as Anita Hill, Julie Taymor, Toni Morrison and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor, Miss Piggy was chosen this year because she is "the persevering porcine pioneer of the arts, internationally famous diva and star of motion pictures, television, stage, and all other media in perpetuity throughout the universe."
The Brooklyn Museum press release:
The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum presents the Sackler Center First Awards, honoring women who are first in their fields.
The evening features Miss Piggy in conversation with Gloria Steinem.
The 2015 Sackler Center First Awards honors performer, actor, writer, and icon Miss Piggy, for more than forty years of blazing feminist trails with determination and humor, and for her groundbreaking role inspiring generations the world over.
Private reception and award ceremony
Award presented by Elizabeth A. Sackler
With Kermit the Frog
Miss Piggy, Kermit, and Gloria Steinem almost comically make up the perfect trifecta of speakers for the Brooklyn stroller set, making the $300 ticket price swallowable, and all proceeds benefit the Sackler Center, which is a great cause. But given we take so few moments to formally appreciate the efforts of women, it seems unfortunate that the Sackler Center chose to celebrate a fictional character created and voiced by men.
Lastly--am I blind? Because I cannot see how Miss Piggy embodies feminism whatsoever. Miss Piggy is a woman--and a pig(!)--that lampoons all of the stereotypically negative aspects and taboos of femininity: over-the-top vanity; sexual desperation; fatness; being oblivious to unrequited romantic advances; prone to capricious bouts of inexplicable anger; loudness; jealousy, etc. Others in the media seem to think that Miss Piggy is a great character because she takes ownership of these traits as a "diva," but it's precisely what makes her funny to some--her obliviousness to social mores--that lampoons women.
It feels slightly silly to seriously deconstruct Miss Piggy's character, but given the institutional context of the award and the prestige associated with the Sackler Center and Brooklyn Museum, this warrants a considered response. While Miss Piggy is a safe bet to ensure expensive ticket sales, she seems like an unwise decision for honoree.
What are your thoughts on Miss Piggy being honored by the Sackler Center First Awards? Do you think the Muppet is a feminist icon or a lampooning stereotype of negative female attributes?
*Image of Miss Piggy in gala attire courtesy the New York Post