Top Divas, #6... and why gays REALLY love our divas
6. Miss Piggy
She's fierce, determined, extremely confident, a fighter, she is all the grande dames of the theatre bundled up in to one compact little package. And like any great star, she started out as a minor character and rose to the ranks of cult icon. She pays tribute to all the great female archetypes at the same time lampooning them. She proclaims herself to be the greatest star all the while, she grimly acknowledges her physical inadequacies. She leaps into every great female role ever created, be it Scarlett in "Gone With the Wind", Cleopatra, or Joan of Arc. She begs, demands, struts, coyly flirts and climbs to the top, over countless bodies, if she must. But she's not all toughness. She has a very tender and a surprisingly vulnerable side. She is the cliche of the soul who's great bravado masks her deep insecurities, which one can only expect from the underdog that she is. I mean, who would expect a pig from her humble beginnings to win the love of her life, great fame, and personal contentment? She wills it so, with brutality, humor, and panache.
I was one of many young boys who saw her and instantly fell in awe. People wonder why we love those great women like Judy, Bette, Barbra, Liza. I think it's because we appreciate their immense talent and admire the way they reached those heights without the benefits of great physical beauty. What they had went deeper, but just was just as worthy, more worthy, than the obvious beauty. Not that these women weren't physically beautiful, but it sometimes took a closer look to see. And once seen, complemented by those inner gifts, everyone who sees it realizes this is the real thing, more deserving of appreciation than the cookie cutter mold.
As a soft, more artistic, "sensitive" boys growing up in the world we, most of us, realize we will never be the kind of man our fathers want us to be. We don't fit the accepted mold. We have talents, but not the kind that is considered fit for men. We have flair, creativity, sensitivity, open emotions. But what can we do with those gifts that are often seen as liabilities by those who's approval we want to win? And then we see these women in similar circumstances. Women who didn't fit the mold that men expected them to. They had obstacles to overcome, but overcame them because they had something more than that beauty. A gift that a lot of men would love to deny because they couldn't mash it down or denigrate it as a commodity for their personal use like they could with physical beauty. They were feminists all, the great divas. They make it well known that they are as good as any man, by proclaiming, not that their gifts are the same as the patriarch, but uniquely theirs and equal to any man's. And as a kid growing up who related to their gifts more than those of the straight man, I took faith in their fight to be heard. They seemed to be saying to me that their successes and rewards could be mine if I only had faith in my own unique strengths. Strengths that I might be the only one to see for the time being.
We don't relate to Garland because her life was rough and our lives are rough. That story is just another way to keep us down. The idea that we related to her weaknesses and love to exalt in them, to wallow in them. No. We relate to her because she is overcame great odds to rise to great heights. There was something deep inside her that she didn't always believe in, but that was apparent to everyone who met her. It dragged you toward her. And I'm not talking about her voice, but her strength of spirit, her absolute willingness to expose her open veins and emote authentically about her full experience of life. She sang about things people don't always want to hear about. It's that power of self expression as well as the immense instrument that allowed it that make us love her. Her fall from grace only reminds us that such self expression and naked sincerity can come with great cost and if you truly want to follow the diva's path you may have to pay a heavy price. However, that price may very well be one you are willing to pay for the reward of artistic and personal fulfillment.
And isn't it ironic that such an icon as Miss Piggy stemmed from the minds of men. Starting out as kind of a joke on women, she evolved into a fully realized, three dimensional character in spite of what they saw her as initially, she had her own ideas. The art that was the character proclaimed to her makers that she was something more, as much as the character itself proclaimed this to her fellow muppets. And soon the artists were under the control of their art as much as she was under theirs. Now that's a diva.