Last October 21, the United Nations named a fictional character as an honorary ambassador for a special cause; not the first time they’d ever done so but this particular appointment made significant waves, and not all in a good way. When DC Comics super-heroine Wonder Woman was appointed Honorary UN Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls in a ceremony that also celebrated 75 years of her publishing life, and attended by actresses that have portrayed her - Lynda Carter in the 70s and Gal Gadot for the DCEU – UN staffers who were critical of the choice held a silent protest by turning their backs on the proceedings, and later embarking on a signature campaign to overturn the decision.
Now barely two months later, the protesters have won according to Reuters. Effective Friday December 16 Wonder Woman’s role as honorary ambassador, said to carry over into late 2017, will be cut short as told by a UN spokesman. The staff petition to have the role reconsidered for another,preferably real, woman, has reached over 45,000 signatures of support and been submitted to outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
The text of the petition argued that although Wonder Woman’s creators in the 1940s did conceptualize her as “an independent warrior woman with a feminist message”, the current depiction of the heroine as a perfectly-proportioned busty and good-looking woman in a skimpy swimsuit costume was incongruous to the real-world women and girls she was supposedly championing as honorary ambassador.
Opponents of the UN staffers’ move to remove Wonder Woman from the ambassadorship have opined that the powerful backlash against the character as a female role model may have been exacerbated by the recent UN Secretary-General selection, wherein a significant number of women diplomat candidates lost out to António Guterres of Portugal, who shall take over for Ban on the first day of the new year. This was refuted in the UN petition which further read: “The bottom line appears to be that the United Nations was unable to find a real life woman that would be able to champion the rights of ALL women on the issue of gender equality and the fight for their empowerment.” The petitioners then claim to be able to provide multiple alternatives to take Wonder Woman’s place as ambassador to women and girls.
Despite the short tenure given her (though not beating the record of “Angry Birds” which were honorary UN ambassadors for climate change for a single day), Wonder Woman seems ready to go big in the public eye come 2017, with her big movie starring Gal Gadot. Furthermore, a special “Wonder Woman” comic issue celebrating her (woefully short) UN ambassadorship will still be completed and released in the near future.
Photo Credit to http://www.nytimes.com/