TIME chose "The Protester" for its Person of the Year -- a generic label that may very well include women. (The magazine's cover graphic depicts an individual whose eyes and brows might be taken for either gender.)
But in a narrative that explains the process of picking, although the editors cite two women under consideration (Kate Middleton and Gabrielle Giffords) only one actually made the runners-up list -- the princess with the happily-ever-after marriage, not the Congresswoman shot point-blank in the head who has struggled for months to reclaim the pieces of who she was before the shooting.
Sorry TIME, but there's so much more to admire in Giffords than in Middleton. Haven't we outgrown the "someday my prince will come" myth?
It's almost as if the editors were channeling the Brothers Grimm. Why else would they choose the fairy tale over the true-life story of inspiration and recovery?
Instead, Giffords was relegated to the ridiculously-named "People Who Mattered" list and lumped in with the likes of Kim Kardashian. Really?
Kardashian may be the trashiest of the third-tier "People Who Mattered" category, but she isn't the most infamous. One quarter of the women who "mattered" in 2011 -- according to TIME -- were associated with a tragic, controversial crime. The mix of victims and suspected perpetrators: Casey Anthony, Amanda Knox, Nafissatou Diallo, Gabrielle Giffords,
The following five made the list for their "entertainment" value: singer/songwriter Adele; writer/comedian/actress Kristin Wiig whose film Bridesmaids upended "chick flick" conventions; presidential candidate and butt of many jokes Michele 'Wild-Eyed' Bachmann (TIME's label, not mine); reality TV diva Kim Kardashian who may have gotten married under false pretenses; and Yale Law Professor Amy Chua whose memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was interpreted by many as a kidney punch in the Mommy Wars.
Fortunately, TIME included eight influential women who "mattered" in ways that moved women forward in politics, medicine, human rights and technology. These are the women who stories are worth repeating:
- Camila Vallejo who led the student uprising against the policies of Chilean President Sebastián Piñera
- Secretary of State Hilary Clinton,
- Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson
- German chancellor Angela Merkel
- Dr. Virginia A. Moyer whose work helped identify the perils of overscreening for diseases such as prostate cancer
- Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff who champions political reform and human rights
- Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who got behind the site's tailored-ad platform which is now its main revenue source
- Harvard professor and now Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, the driving force behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
I'm not the only one who thinks TIME bungled its annual list for 2011. Jena McGregor who writes "On Leadership" at the Washington Post feels similarly and observes, "A little more perspective on who's deserving of being the person (or, at any rate, the woman) who made the most impact on our year seems in order."
Who do you think should have been considered? Any names that TIME missed that you'd like to add?
Addendum: Commenters have mentioned the three women who were awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize -- the link to their story is below. So why were they passed over by TIME?