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My wife and I were driving around the other day having one of our deep philosophical conversations.  The subject in this particular instance was the Muppets.  As we discussed the Muppets in their various and sundry incarnations, we began to realize that the number of female Muppets is sadly lacking, especially at the headliner level.

In fact, and I invite correction if I am wrong, we could not come up with a single female Muppet, other than Miss Piggy, who would qualify as anything exceeding a bit player.  As we came to this conclusion I wracked my brain for another name.  Surely that couldn’t be right.  Surely there were others.

But, I can think of none.

Now, I know there are other female Muppets.  There is of course, Janice, lead guitarist for Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.  And there were a few female characters on Sesame Street who’s names escape me.  But none rise to the level of being considered part of the central cast.  Only Miss Piggy.

Does this mean Piggy is the token female?  Was Henson a sexist?  Or worse a misogynist?  I shudder to think of the man in such terms, but what other explanation do we have.

I never would have imagined “The Muppet Show” as an old boys’ club.  No wonder Piggy spent so much of her time practicing her martial arts.  Imagine the sexual harassment to which she was daily exposed to among a cast that was almost exclusively male.  I look back on my viewings of various Muppet properties, and I shiver.

Have I been supporting a system looking to keep women down?  Shame on you Jim Henson, shame.

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One Comment

  1. I disagree I think you need to watch The Dark Crystal as the gender roles and female character in that film are well ahead of is time, also in the film Labyrinth a young woman is once more the hero and has the power to reject a toxic man’s advances. Granted it is true that Puppets only has a token female character but sadly this is true of most shows of the 80’s because they were pitched to company CEO’s who believed that women liked toys and make up and didn’t care about fantasy and this can still be a problem to day in children and adult media. To Henson’s credit Piggy does not take crap from anyone she answers back and that wasn’t common in the 80’s because some people had the idea that women should be seen and not heard.


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