I used to work at an ad agency, so I’m a bit numb to the way images are manipulated to make us feel certain ways so we’ll buy things, and the way those manipulated images are used to manipulate us into feeling certain other ways so we’ll buy more things. I like to think I’m smart enough to recognize what’s real and what’s not, and, and I don’t let it faze me.
But then today I saw this, and I’m outraged:
They have completely airbrushed out Miss Piggy’s nostrils.
And my mind is reeling with questions.
First among them – WHY?! Why is there suddenly a need to digitally manipulate a face that has had a successful modelling career for decades – with those very same nose holes? Do they think we’re too delicate to deal with the realities of porcine nasal cavities? Or is it more insidious than that? Is this a not-so-subtle attempt to downplay Miss Piggy’s horticultural heritage? Is there no longer room for a pig in the mainstream beauty ideal? What message does this send to young people about their own orifices?
Miss Piggy is known to be a headstrong and snout-proud individual, so I like to think it’s her wranglers who are responsible for this. After all, this is a pig who once said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye”. But she has not yet commented on the issue.
In an age when we’re all constantly bombarded with digitally manipulated images, it’s more important than ever for celebrities like Miss Piggy to set an example for young people, to show them that they don’t need to be nostrilless to feel beautiful and worthwhile. In the past, she has never been afraid to show nostril – with flare.
There’s one question I do know the answer to. It’s the one I ask myself as I imagine a young girl viewing this image of her idol. I picture her growing up with a deep, nagging feeling that there’s something wrong with her, something that must be fixed before she can feel valued. I can see her struggling, and finally taking the desperate step of traveling to Brazil for an illegal rhinoplastectomy. Even without nostrils, there’s still a hole inside her that can never be removed.
I think about that girl. And I ask myself: how does she smell?
If you’d like to show your support for natural nostrils, I’ve made a series of #nostrilgate pins. If you’d like one, ask me next time you see me or PM me your address on twitter and I’ll mail it to you. Also available as fridge magnets.