Gloria Steinem and Miss Piggy onstage at the Brooklyn Museum. (Photo: Instagram)
Miss Piggy has starred on TV and film since 1974, served as a spokesperson for brands like Lay’s Chips, has written numerous books, and — like any A-list celebrity looking to expand her brand — even has a perfume collaboration called Moi by Miss Piggy. Yet, it wasn’t until Thursday night that she finally received her first award: The annual Sackler Center First Awards for women who are first in their fields, presented by the The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. This award, headed by feminist art philanthropist and public historian Elizabeth Sackler and feminist activist Gloria Steinem, has previously honored groundbreakers like journalist Connie Chung, writer Toni Morrison, and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Miss Piggy’s acceptance of the award was a reminder that some of our most influential and important icons come from childhood — it’s not a surprise that the pre-ceremony cookies and milk reception was filled with sugar-binging children dressed as miniature versions of their parents.
Gloria Steinem and Kermit the Frog. (Photo: Yahoo Beauty)
Steinem — who had just come back from marching for peace between South and North Korea — sat in the front row with the star’s beau, Kermit the Frog. “We want to know: Are you a feminist, Kermit?” Steinem asked her webby seatmate. Yes, he replied: “No one has broken through more glass ceilings than Miss Piggy, and no one has swept up more broken glass than me.” He continued, receiving chuckles from the audience: “The Muppets wouldn’t be so successful without her, and her extravagance has made our successful necessary.” Fans of The Muppets know that while it took decades for Kermit to learn how to be a good companion, Miss Piggy always demanded the utmost love and respect from him — a lesson in self-esteem worthy of emulation from all species.
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. (Photo: Jonathan Grassi/PatrickMcMullan.com for the Brooklyn Museum)
Regarding Kermit’s support for Miss Piggy, Steinem tells Yahoo Beauty, “The men who are the best allies, including Kermit, understand that we’re all limited by gender prisons. Men may be limited less, but they’re limited too. So, once they see feminism as something that is setting them free, they become more reliable allies.” Kermit also said onstage, “The truth is, I believe in strong women. I always have. I’ve worked with one of the strongest of them all for decades. Although, she did bring me along to carry the trophy.”
Miss Piggy’s Sackler Center First Award. (Photo: Twitter)
“Thank you for your grit, your humor, and your confidence. For teaching us that beauty comes from within, and for this, we thank you,” Sackler said as she presented the glittering award to Miss Piggy, who rocked voluminous blonde curls sweeping over her shoulders. In April, Sackler remarked to Newsweek that “[i]n spite of what some people might perceive as obstacles—being a pig, being maybe a little overweight—[Miss Piggy] nonetheless has this extraordinary sense of self.”
Moi by Miss Piggy: “Why be you when you can be Moi?” (Video: QVC)
Miss Piggy, who famously refers to herself as moi, gave the confident and endearing speech that we’d expect from a childhood favorite. “Someone who said I’m not a feminist in this room,” she announced amidst gasps from the audience. “No, it’s not the frog — he wouldn’t dare. It is moi.” She concedes to admitting that she wasn’t a feminist in the past, but now has full heartedly embraced the sisterhood. Feminist revolutionary Steinem joined Miss Piggy onstage for a chat, where the two bonded over tap dancing. “I tried very hard to tap dance my way out of Toledo, Ohio. In elevators with music, when no one is looking, I tap dance,” Steinem confessed. “I have to show you my special kick-step,” Miss Piggy deadpanned. “It’s great when you’re debating chauvinists.” She also told Steinem that her success comes from her confidence. In fact, “Kermit wouldn’t be anywhere without me,” she announced matter-of-factly. Some of her role models include Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Lucille Ball, and Norma Desmond, she added. “They showed everybody that a strong woman was capable of anything they set their mind to.”
Gloria Steinem chats with Miss Piggy. (Photo: Cameron Blaylock for the Brooklyn Museum)
“We can do whatever we f—— well please,” Steinem told Miss Piggy in front of an auditorium of parents and children who were reminded that they were not watching Sesame Street. “If you believe in yourself, then fooling everyone else is easy,” Miss Piggy added. The audience, from ages 2 to 99, male and female, human and non-human, gasped, giggled, and applauded at Steinem and Miss Piggy’s subversive comments. After all, this was real life and not a PBS special, and Miss Piggy’s declaration as a feminist just brought feminism to young children who are just beginning to learn about themselves.