If I had a dime for every time I heard women called bitches by men and women alike, I’d be rich. I have heard women be called cows, horses, whales, elephants, rats, cats, chickens, foxes, jackals, and cougars. But pandas?
The BBC listed, by month, different women who made headlines in 2011. In December, they put a picture of Sweetie, Scotland’s new panda by way of China. I guess there were no notable women in December’s headlines. To me that says that under this patriarchal system, women are still not being recognized.
But seriously, who decided on the panda? I didn’t see any animals listed for the notable men. Whoever decided to put an animal in couldn’t have put in a picture of their mother at least?
Was it too political to put in a friend? I have a friend Jennifer who volunteers at a food bank. A friend Mindy who works at an art program for homeless people. A few other women friends who work at a Rape Crisis Center and another two who work with immigrants fighting for immigrant rights. My sister is a nurse. I know tens of poets. I know four or five teachers and eight or so social workers. I know several women with more than one job outside of their homes. I know stay at home mothers and working mothers alike who feed, play with, teach, and love their children every difficult moment of every day. I know women writers and poets. I know women who clean other people’s houses and care for other people’s children in addition to their own. I know a musician is also a barista.
So, explain to me how the only choice for a notable woman was a panda bear.
It did prompt me to look up pandas and on Wikipedia it says female pandas are not tolerant of other female pandas in their area. So the BBC noted a female animal who doesn’t get along with other female animals of her kind. The plot thickens.
All I can say is screw the list. Someone is going to say, Oh see, feminists can’t laugh about anything. You take things too seriously. See, you can’t even laugh about things like this. But someone is always going to say that and how many times do we have to laugh at things like this. In some ways it’s funny, it makes the list less serious, but how serious was it anyways? Three are about fairy tale weddings. Of course there was the really negative one about the nurse “cleared of hospital saline murder plot.” I guess the panda helps with that one.
Grrl Code: Women can be together and grow stronger through offensive things like this where you simultaneously kind of want to laugh and also cry. And you know what else- we can get along. Look at all those women I listed, they’re all cool women and all of them fun to chill with drinking coffee or tea. And ALL of them remarkable, notable, headline worthy women. Don’t believe the subtext, there are awesome women who should have been named instead of the panda and it doesn’t matter how cute that panda is.
Women- solidarity- Don’t be a panda. And men: don’t just grin and bear it.