The BBC picked the Woman of the Year for 2011. Sweetie, the panda, won hands down!
BBC executives debated for weeks about the most important woman of 2011. They considered Gabrielle Giffords, Michele Bachmann and Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, but none of those women were as important as Sweetie, the panda, who came to Scotland from mainland China.
Pippa Middleton is named as the female face of April after she caught the nation’s attention as maid of honor at the wedding of her sister Kate to Prince William.
For December, the BBC picked Sweetie the panda, who arrived along with Sunshine in Edinburgh from China. The pandas are on loan to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland for $1.2 million a year.
What was most shocking is that the BBC picked Sweetie as the most important woman of the entire year.
The list sparked a frenzy on Twitter with users labelling the episode “panda gate”.
john Prescott took to his Twitter account and said: “So the BBC couldn’t find a woman for Sports Personality of the Year but they could find a panda for a female face of 2011 #pandagate.”
A Labor MP, Stella Creasy, said: “No offence to sweetie – sure a lovely panda and best in class etc- but clue is in title ‘women’ not ‘female of the species’ of the year …”
Among the BBC’s men of the year were actor Colin Firth, golfer Rory McIlroy and police officer Ronan Kerr, who was killed by a bomb that exploded under his car in Northern Ireland. Rory McIlroy was named “Man of the Year.”
In response to the criticism, the BBC said it selects a male or female animal for the lists every year, with previous recipients including Peppa Pig and Benson the carp. “It’s not our fault that there was no significant woman this year. Well, not a woman more important than Sweetie.”
“In 2009, Benson the Carp, a much-caught giant fish, was August’s entry on the male list and last year Peppa the Pig was on the female list for April. But this is the first time that an animal has taken the crown.”
Here’s the complete BBC list.
January: Gabrielle Giffords
March: Libyan Eman al-Obeidi
April: Pippa Middleton
May: Nafissatou Diallo (accused Dominque Strauss-Khan of rape)
June: Li Na (first Chinese woman to win a Grand Slam singles title)
July: Charlene Wittstock (married Prince Albert of Monaco)
August: Michele Bachmann
September: Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff
October: The Duchess of Alba (Spain) got married again at age 85.
November: Corporal Kelsey de Santis, a US Marine from Virginia, went to the Marine Ball with Justin Timberlake.
December: Sweetie, the panda, arrived in Scotland from mainland China.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR: Sweetie, the panda!