BBC's Faces of the Year

I’m pretty sure I complained about last year’s version too, but I didn’t write it down, so I’m saving this one for posterity.

The BBC has published four “Faces of the Year” articles this week: “the men” and “the women” for the UK and international markets.

Removing gender references, here are the lists:

January UK: An undercover police officer: infiltrated activists then changed sides.
Intl: A produce vendor: self-immolated when produce was confiscated, which sparked riots.
A politician: was shot.
February UK: An acting professional: won an Oscar.
Intl: A screenwriter: won an Oscar.
A singer: achieved two top-five hits simultaneously.
March UK: A rubbish collector: made a rap video that went big.
Intl: A prime minister: resigned.
A protestor: spoke up about being assaulted.
April A police officer: was killed in a sectarian bombing. UK: A designer: designed a wedding dress.
Intl: A party planner: was part of a wedding party.
May An admiral: planned the attack on bin Laden’s compound. A hotel worker: accused a politician of rape.
June A golfer: won the US Open. UK: A college administrator: had photos misrepresented as part of an identity fraud.
Intl: A tennis player: won a Grand Slam.
July UK: A news editor: was investigated for scandals.
Intl: A right-wing extremist: killed 77 people.
An Olympic athlete: got married.
August UK: A student: was mugged by people who had initially seemed to be helping him, after he was knocked off his bike by rioters.
Intl: A Tottenham resident: was shot by police, which sparked riots.
UK: A campaigner against gang violence: spoke out against looters in the local community.
Intl: A politician: won a straw poll in home state.
September A farmer: suggested that Rihanna and her entourage acquaint themselves with God. UK: A nurse: was arrested on suspicion of administering poison.
Intl: A politician: opened a debate at the UN.
October UK: A business owner: was accused of exercising undue influence over a politician.
Intl: A soldier returned home after being held captive abroad.
A wealthy aristocrat: got married.
November UK: A football manager: committed suicide.
Intl: An economist: became Prime Minister.
A marine: went on a date.
December A politician: was accused of sexual harassment. A panda: was a panda.

Now, I’m sure by now you’ve worked out which list is the men and which is the women. In case you haven’t, here are the original articles:
Faces of the Year 2011 – the men (UK edition)
Faces of the Year 2011 – the men (intl edition)
Faces of the Year 2011 – the women (UK edition)
Faces of the Year 2011 – the women (intl edition)

I’m not going to add much more commentary, because the rage is making me less than wholly coherent. But seriously, of the sixteen women featured, FULLY 25% of them are featured for their involvement in a wedding (and that’s assuming you accept the panda bear as a woman). That number is the same for both the UK and the international editions. And, in both editions, one more woman is featured for having gone on a date.

Despite the fact that all of these weddings (and the date), were between a man and a woman, and despite the fact that, across the two editions, more men are featured than women, not ONE SINGLE (or married :-p) man is featured for his involvement in a wedding or date. If you want to count sexual harassment, assault and rape in with those things, which I’d really rather not, we get one man (1/19), and another two women (making 7/16 in total, or 7/15 if you don’t count the panda).

Did I mention that of the 16 women featured across the two editions, 6.25% of them ARE PANDA BEARS!? There are more panda bears on BBC’s “Faces of the Year – the women” than there are women in Open Source. As Schwern pointed out last night, this stuff is much funnier when you don’t have to live it.

As a woman, I hate the idea of being applauded for something that’s just normal when a guy does it. I can’t stand the idea of special treatment. But if the women who are being lauded as “Faces of the Year” are being featured for their romantic lives, or their being a cute cuddly animal, maybe it is time for a women-focused “Faces of the Year: people who actually did cool stuff”.

Anyone want to put that together? I’ll send something nice to the first three people who compile one :-)

3 comments to BBC’s Faces of the Year

  • LilacTime

    Well, I don’t think the list is comprised (only) of people who did remarkable things. For example the farmer who didn’t like seeing Rihanna in bikini in his farm and cancelled the filming of her video, that he had authorized previously. That’s not a good thing.

    The guy who got mugged, by people who appeared to be helping him.

    Then, a lot of other men appearances are about people who did some respected role and fell in disgrace: scandals, suicides, victims of murder.

    But I get your point, for example that unforgivable tidbit about Pippa Middleton: she is the sister of the bride in a famous wedding and she has a nice ass? Seriously?

    And the one about Dilma Rousseff, oh so she appears on the list because it’s the first time a woman did something that was always done by men. And it was her who did it. Women are mentioned because “hey look, she is doing something only men did until now!” That shouldn’t be news anymore.

    And the panda. LOL, the panda.

  • Grey Beard

    I tweeted about the new Master of the National Maternity Hospital being a woman ( before I was aware of this rant. Does that invalidate my Tweet?

    And DARE I mention that the first two instances cited by Kevin in his response are linked to sexuality issues? Although I’d hate to be on the wrong end of the work for the women involved! LOL

  • Kevin Lyda

    OK, here’s a list:

    * Hillary Clinton stood up for gay rights.
    * In Seattle for the first time two women shared the first kiss when a Navy ship returned to port.
    * Elizabeth Warren announced her run for US Senate after being blocked by the Senate from heading the consumer protection agency she created. She articulated the social contract in a short youtube video in a way that clearly resonated with people based on views.
    * Republicans in Congress and state legislators across America voted for a record number of bills to reduce women’s health care choices.
    * Michelle Bachmann briefly led the Republican presidential nomination – proving that if women ran the world it would suck just as much (let’s pick the best of both genders and tell the assholes to feck off).
    * UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi participated in a panel that called for the removal of asylum protections at Greek universities – allowing police back on Greek campuses. Meanwhile back at UC Davis, campus police under Katehi and UC Davis police chief Annette Spicuzza learned that cell phones can record video now.
    * Oprah’s talk show ended.
    * For the first time in over two decades, Ireland has elected a male President. Lets hope he does OK.
    * Sadly 2011 saw the end of the first female speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi’s successor has led Congress to a 9% approval rating.
    * Rebekah Brooks – resigned and arrested due to investigation into phone hacking scandal.
    * Doron Matalon, Israel’s Rosa Parks. Good on her.
    * Aung San Suu Kyi met with Hillary Clinton and the Thai PM (separate meetings).
    * Brianna Amat was crowned homecoming queen at half-time of her local high school football game – she then kicked the game-winning field goal. The news part of this, sadly, was that no one was an asshole about it.
    * MA Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a lawsuit against a number of banks involved in the foreclosure crisis – putting serious pressure on a nationwide negotiation with state AGs and the banks to deal with a number of issues related to mortgages.

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