PETA-style species confusion and anthropomorphism is going mainstream. The BBC listed twelve women “faces of the year. ” And one of them is a panda. From the BBC story:
Sweetie (Tian Tian), along with her fellow giant panda Sunshine (Yang Guang), was welcomed at Edinburgh airport with cheers and bagpipes after the pair’s 11-hour journey from Chengdu in western China. Their arrival is the culmination of five years of lobbying by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the government. Even the four pilots wore kilts in the pandas’ honour. The pandas are on loan for a decade at a cost of £600,000 per year. Zoo bosses are hoping that Sweetie will produce cubs during that time.
Representative Gabrielle Giffords is rightly named for her fortitude in coming back from an assassination attempt. But to juxtapose her and the other women named with an animal is just insulting–and demeaning to human exceptionalism. A female panda is not a “woman,” she is a “sow.” The words we use matter.