One wonders who at the BBC--what gender, that is--decided on the ones they did pick, including Sweetie. (I suppose we should be glad there weren't more non-human females: a dolphin with a calf, a mare nuzzling a child, a bitch who'd nursed a kitten, a hen protecting her chicks...after all, if a panda is a fit substitute, why not?)
Of the human females chosen, one of two female politicians from the US was Michelle Bachmann, ignorant, spiteful, venomous, and not Elizabeth Warren, intelligent, thoughtful, moderate. The other was Gabby Giffords, more for her having been shot & recovered than for her political stance and her long-time courage in facing death threats. No problems with that choice, though.
The non-US politician, the first woman president of Brazil, is a choice I'd agree with (though not the only female politician of note in 2011.)
Four women "notable" only for their relationship, however tenuous, to a man: Charlene Wittstock (almost didn't marry a prince), a Spanish duchess (married a younger man), Pippa Middleton (sister married a prince), the US Marine who asked Justin Timberlake to the Marine Ball.
Two more were celebs: a tennis star and a singer.
Two more were victims of sexual violence, one in Libya and one in the US.
But consider: Three women shared the Nobel Peace Prize. Not one of them was on the BBC list.
Elizabeth Warren, as I mentioned, has been bucking the "meanness" trend in politics with common-sense,intelligent, and well-supported arguments for the past several years.
Forbes lists "10 most powerful women authors" . Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction (novel) this year. Kay Ryan won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry this year. Around the world, women have written notable fiction and nonfiction this year.
But the BBC couldn't find a single woman writer worth including anywhere in the world. Not the bestsellers in fiction. Not women writing solid, worthwhile nonfiction. Not journalists. Nope: women who write just don't count.
And not a single woman scientist. Not a single woman composer. Not a single woman human-rights activist. Not a single woman entrepreneur or even CEO of a major company...or for that matter a minor company. No women in agriculture. No women in aviation or space exploration. No women in banking, other finance fields. No women in communications. The only military woman chosen for having asked a celebrity to a dance.
So what did they find instead? What made them "female faces of the year?"
4 women attached (even peripherally) to a man.
3 women victims of crime (2 sexual assault, one attempted assassination)
1 pop singer
1 head of state (yay!)
1 really lousy politician (close to the worst the US has to offer)
and a panda named Sweetie.
So mostly...not women chosen for their accomplishments (tennis, singing and head of state excluded.
The male faces of the year included all humans (gee, no rare male animal flaunting his handsomeness and maybe named "Studly?" ) Two were crime victims (a policeman killed by a bomb, a student suffering assault and robbery during riots), one was a suicide (and counts as one of the two athletes as well), one was a US admiral, one was a US presidential candidate caught in sex scandal, one was an actor, one an undercover cop pretending to be an activist, one a farmer who disapproved of a pop star's clothing (yawn), one was a golfer (the second athlete), one was a businessman close to a political personage, one was journalist and phone-hacker, and one was a rapper whose political rap went viral. In other words, what led to their being chosen was their own actions and/or the political significance of the outcomes. None of the men were notable for being attached to a woman (let alone being the brother of someone who married someone notable.)
Part two: Those who confront misogyny--whether in its violent forms of rape, assault, and abuse or in its less violent forms--are used to the "Yes, but--" response. Here's an excellent article to ponder: "Why Yes, But is the Wrong Response to Misogyny". Most women have heard most of those Yes, but...excuses and more besides. "But" is not joined at the hip to "Yes," and those who speak as if it is need to surgically excise that pair from their vocabulary.