In a move that is sure to go down in adorable bear history, the BBC has named a female panda named Sweetie one of its female Faces of the Year. 2011 was either lacking severely in girlchievements or a banner year for lady pandas. So what was Sweetie's glorious achievement that elevated her, a bear, over that of all female humans who did stuff?
She got off of an airplane in Scotland, to great fanfare. That's it. Hooray for Sweetie the panda, woman face of the year.
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.
All in all, more than half of the BBC's "Faces of the Year: Women" are rape victims, princesses and thereabouts, or bears.
We really can have it all, ladies. Girl power.
So good to know that I have to do to be a woman of note. Anyone have any other, better suggestions for badass women of 2011? For starters this year's Nobel Prize laureates, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman certainly qualify. Any woman involved in the Arab Spring, tbqh. (Speaking of which, the recent outcry by Egyptian women against police abuse of a hijabi woman comes to mind right away.) There's also Leanne Iskander, a badass 16 year-old queer girl who fought Missisauga's Catholic school board when they stopped her from creating a GSA at her school. After hosting her school's first anti-homophobia day Pride Toronto named her 'Honoured Dyke.'
ETA: I don't like the flippant way the article treats Eman al-Obeidi and Nafissatou Diallo. Yes, women shouldn't have to be raped to be part of a list like this but reporting sexual assault is incredibly brave and I do think these two women should be on the list.