The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
What the Muppets Taught Us About Body Image That We Forgot
As a child, I can remember Jim Henson’s unique creation, the Muppets, as most of us remember when we were children. There were plenty of Muppets, each with their own characteristics, body types, and personalities. Two characters that stand out as the most prominent faces of the Muppets are Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog, whom were in love with each other, despite being completely different body types and different species. None of the other Muppets ever seemed to question it, but it was just how it was. A frog and a pig were in love.
The frog was skinny and would never be fat or muscular, no matter how much he worked out, and no matter what he did, he would remain of stick-like stature. The pig, on the other hand, would never be skinny or muscular, no matter how much she worked out. In fact, she loved to eat, as pigs do. I can never recall a time, however, where this actually bothered her. She embraced her nature as a pig. Kermit the Frog also never fell out of love because Miss Piggy was, technically overweight. In reality, Miss Piggy is just a pig and she is of her normal weight.
The interesting thing is that Jim Henson, nor anyone involved with the Muppets ever tried to make them different. Miss Piggy is a pig and Kermit the Frog is a frog. Throughout the years, Miss Piggy has lost a few pounds here and there, looking slightly thinner, but the fact remains: Miss Piggy is a pig. She can never fully be skinny, nor should she be, as that is not really a pig’s nature. A thin pig is actually an unhealthy pig the same way a skinny cow is an unhealthy cow, and the same can go for any frog, as well as any human being.
I was born of normal weight, maintained my weight through young childhood, but than all of a sudden, I started to become overweight, and became known as husky in my later childhood years. As a teenager, I remained overweight, but never obese, though the “medical dictionary” would say otherwise. Approaching young adulthood, a new classification system set by the United States put most people, including myself, into the category of obese, possibly even morbidly obese, based on my height and weight. The problem is that I knew I was overweight and I looked overweight, but I did not look at all like the stereotypical obese person.
I am older now and have since learned to eat healthier, exercise, and take care of my body. I could always stand to lose a few more pounds, but I have lost a substantial amount of weight, but somehow still am classified as overweight, according to the BMI scale. While it is true that we could all stand to lose a few more pounds, eat healthier, and feel good about ourselves, there is always something we could or should be working on, but we do tend to develop some unrealistic expectations of ourselves, our body images, and the body images of others. In doing this, we begin to think of our mission and goals to be impossible to achieve, but setting small goals for ourselves and our bodies is more realistic. This does not mean that you should just give up on your dreams and goals and give into every whim and desire you have, especially when it comes to food, but to begin to understand your body, love your body, and learn its power, is a process, and does take time.
It is the lessons of the Muppets that can teach us to embrace our very nature, our body images, the body images of others, and to love others for who they are, not what they look like.