Thursday, December 29, 2011

The BBC's sexist credentials were on show, once again, when the Corporation published Faces of the Year 2011. There's been considerable anger over the choice of a panda to represent the woman's face of December. The Guardian's Zoe Williams made her views known, last night, on Sky News' preview of today's papers.

The BBC's press office tried to play down the furore with this comment on Twitter:-

Sweetie isn't the first non-human on Faces of the year list, Peppa Pig last year and Benson the carp on the 2009 male list #pandagate

Sweetie (or Tian Tian) is the female giant panda which arrived at Edinburgh Zoo earlier this month, along with a male panda called Sunshine (Yang Guang)

So, reading the BBC's press comment, you could be forgiven for thinking the BBC wasn't sexist or misogynistic after all. If they chose a male carp in 2009 that proves the point, doesn't it?

No, actually.

Let's take a closer look at the evidence, to see why.

Newsround Blog has been able to trace BBC Magazine 'Faces of the Year' back to 2007. In that year and the following year the list was split into two, one for men and one for women. The were no non-human faces in either 2007 or 2008 -

Men 2007
Women 2007

Men 2008
Women 2008

However when we reach 2009, you will see that the lists are no longer titled "Faces of the year - the men" and "Faces of the year - the women" The titles are changed to "Faces of the year - part one" and "Faces of the year - part two" respectively

And if you check the two parts you will observe the wording of part 1 states: "Some of the males who have made the headlines in 2009 ... " whereas part 2 states: "Some of the women who have made the headlines in 2009 ... "

Take particular notice of the term "males" rather than "men" in part 1.

But now look what happens in 2010:-

Although the female list includes a pig, albeit a fictional pig, the BBC had no qualms about using the title "Faces of the year 2010 - the women"

Men 2010
Women 2010

And then in 2011 - when no women were shortlisted for BBC Sports Personality of the Year - a panda was chosen by the BBC as the "woman" best representing December 2011.

Men 2011
Women 2011

BBC misogyny?

Guilty as charged.

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