Sexist? A Panda is One of BBC's Female 'Faces of the Year,' Humans on List Are Mostly Princesses and Brides

 Just one week after BBC chose its 'Sports Personality of the Year' from an all-male shortlist, the broadcaster idiotically gave a panda the December slot in its 'Faces of the Year 2011: The Women' list. The response on the web was predictable: outrage. Were there no women more influential than a panda?

Making matters worse, the women who did make the BBC's elite list appear to have been selected more for the size of their weddings than the reach of their influence. From The Huffington Post:

we're scratching our heads over the BBC's annual Faces of the Year 2011: The Women roundup, in part for what seems like an odd emphasis on, well, weddings. The feature, published online Tuesday, spotlights 12 famous women who "made the headlines" in 2011. Among them :Charlene Wittstock, the Duchess of Alba, and Pippa Middleton (a slightly different version of the list the BBC created for UK readers also includes Kate Middleton's wedding dress designer Sarah Burton).

in a year when women made incredible strides in a wide variety of fields, it seems odd that the BBC should devote so much digital ink to celebrating women whose biggest achievement was getting married--or being in the orbit of a famous bride (it's worth noting that the male equivalent of the list did not include any grooms or groomsmen).

But brides are not the only subgroup of women represented in the list. As Jezebel reported, "All in all, more than half of the BBC's "Faces of the Year: Women" are rape victims, princesses and thereabouts, or bears":

Not only is a bear deemed to appropriately fit the "woman" category, the rest of the list will leave people who were hoping for a progressive set of female movers and shakers disappointed. Sure, it includes Michele Bachmann, who, for all of her frothing, hateful votemongering, is at least a politician, and Dilma Rousseff, the first female President of Brazil. But the list also includes Charlene Wittstock, a woman famous for almost not marrying a prince, a very wealthy Spanish duchess who married a younger man, and Pippa Middleton, a woman famous for being related to a woman who married a prince. We've also got two sexual assault victims on the list— Eman al-Obeidi, the Libyan woman who was dragged away from reporters while trying to tell them she'd been raped by Gaddafi forces, and Nafissatou Diallo, the woman who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in his $12 zillion per night hotel room. And then there's the US Marine who successfully asked Justin Timberlake to go to a dance with her.

 Of course, a twitter storm followed the BBC's sexism, appropriately identified by the hash tag #Pandagate: 

 Catherine Mayer  

Here's why  matters: 3 out of 4 people in the news are men. Don't give the 1 female slot to a panda 

 

 The subeditor 

I'm more angry that two women have made it into the BBC list simply for getting married. And one for making a wedding dress.

  Andrew Mueller 

Are there any women on the BBC's Pandas Of The Year list? 

 guernseylibrary 

@ 

 they could have chosen their December entry from sports personality of year? Or maybe Nobel list.... 

 As BBC proves, acquiring recognition for women's accomplishments may be as difficult as achieving them.  By choosing a panda, brides, and victims as Faces of the Year, BBC perpetuates a system that trivializes women's progress, as well as the great obstacles the incredible women they ignored have overcome. 

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at December 30, 2011, 5:29am

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
[x]
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Activism
Drugs
Economy
Education
Environment
Food
Media
World
Today's Top Stories