Lifestyle & Belief

BBC includes a panda in female faces of 2011


Giant Panda Tian Tian has a bamboo snack Jan. 20, 2011 at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Washington and Beijing signed a new loan agreement, under which China is letting the giant pandas stay at the zoo for another five years.


Karen Bleier

BBC has caused mild outrage after choosing a panda bear as one of its top 12 female faces of 2011.  

Its decision to add Sweetie, a panda on loan to the Edinburgh Zoo after months of "Panda diplomacy," has come under heavy fire on Twitter.  

The BBC selected 12 men and women for its Faces of the Year 2011 and published two separate lists.  

The lists identify the most prominent women and men in the news for each of the months of the year. The men's page included Colin Firth, Herman Cain, and News of the World journalist Paul Mullan. 

More from GlobalPost: Pandas at the National Zoo get $4.5 million, 5 more years

The women's page included US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), British singer Adelle and Nafissatou Diallo, the woman who accused International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss Kahn of sexual assault. The page also included Sweetie the panda.

BBC defended its move and maintained that this isn't the first time a non-human has been picked for the list:

"Including Sweetie as one for the annual headline-makers was a light-hearted addition to the list, and this isn't the first time it has featured a non-human. 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 [2010]," the BBC told the Guardian.

Twitter users also complained that most of the women who made the cut were famous for their marriage related activities — think Pippa Middleton, Charlene Wittstock and the Duchess of Alba — rather than their accomplishments.

Here's a round-up of Twitter users's responses to the list: 

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