Thursday, 29 December 2011

PANDAGATE!!!!!!!!1!!!!11!!!ELEVENTY!!!

Yes, in case there were any doubt, I'm one of those obsessive sorts who mines Twitter throughout the day and who retweets issues that come to my attention (or pics of kittens, or clever articles - I'm not two-dimensional). Yesterday the issue du jour was the fact that a panda, Sweetie (my gawds, I even know its name) was listed as one of the year's top 12 newsworthy women. Women. Human women, in case that wasn't clear.

From what I've gathered, this is somewhat of a tradition for BBC to include animal nominees, so this year is not entirely exceptional. As it happens, however, the bulk of the BBC's list of noteworthy women that happen to be human leaves much to be desired, as well. As many others have pointed out, the lists just are not even:
Newsworthy male feats in 2011 include, apparently, being a politician (3), being a police officer, being a soldier (3), being an Oscar-winning screenwriter, being an athlete, being a revolutionary martyr, being a fascist mass-murderer who definitely shouldn't have any more sodding publicity, and being shot by the Metropolitan police. To be considered a newsworthy woman in 2011, meanwhile, you have to make an allegation of rape, be a pop star, go on a date with a pop star, get married to a royal, be the sister of someone who got married to a royal, be a royal and get married to someone who isn't a royal, or be a panda called Sweetie. 
My personal issue, specifically, is that this is just one more example of women's accomplishments being dismissed and erased. This #PandaGate isn't a huge deal in a vacuum. However, in a cultural environment where women are still underrepresented in politics, where our culturally-sanctioned role models have to be attractive in order to be valid, where even our access to health care is threaten because we're not trusted to make our own decisions with our bodies, this is just one more kick in the teeth.

Here's a blog that does well to list a lot of notable women from this past year that the BBC missed.

Now, here's the kind of Panda Gate I can really get behind.

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