Pandamonium erupted when the BBC included Tian Tian (AKA “Sweetie”) in its year-end wrap up Faces of the Year 2011 – The Women. The new arrival at the Edinburgh Zoo shared the honors with the likes of Pippa Middleton, the singer Adele, and Eman al-Obeidi, the defiant victim of Colonel Gaddafi’s regime, prompting nearly 48% of the respondents to an online poll to agree that her inclusion “belittled the achievements of the other women in the list.”
Labour MP Stella Creasy was so annoyed that she issued a statement on the matter, saying the BBC had a long way to go when it came to representing women without making them a joke.
“Whilst we all love a good panda story, in a year when Christine Lagarde became head of the IMF, or Helle Throning-Schmidt became prime minister of Denmark, or even the sad death of Amy Winehouse, it’s frustrating the BBC couldn’t think of 12 human female faces who have made the news this year.”
Tian Tian declined to comment, but her defenders noted that 52% of those surveyed felt she was an appropriate choice because “the list was clearly intended to be light hearted.”