The comic book character Wonder Woman has been named Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls by the United Nations to help achieve the goals of gender equality and “empowerment for all women and girls.”
But some UN staff members objected, saying that Wonder Woman is too white, too American, too busty, and “culturally insensitive and overtly sexualized.”
A ceremony to commemorate Wonder Woman’s appointment, as well as her 75th anniversary as a character was attended by Wonder Woman actors Lynda Carter andGal Gadot, director of the character’s upcoming film Patty Jenkins and Girl Scouts dressed in Wonder Woman T-shirts.
A group of protestors were also in attendance as they turned their backs on the event with raised fists, before silently walking out of the event near the midway point.
When the idea of naming Wonder Woman was initially announced a group of concerned UN staff members launched a petition calling for Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to reconsider the choice.
The group stated Wonder Woman was an unfit ambassador describing her as culturally insensitive and overtly sexualized.
“Although the original creators may have intended Wonder Woman to represent a strong and independent ‘warrior’ woman with a feminist message, the reality is that the character’s current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots –the epitome of a ‘pin-up’ girl,” the petition states.
The petition also noted the importance of a strong, living, breathing female role model in inspiring young women and girls and criticized the UN for foregoing real life women.
“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 petition states. “The United Nations has decided that Wonder Woman is the role model that women and girls all round the world should look up to.”
Senior UN spokeswoman Cristina Gallach argued the values represented by Wonder Woman can be inspiring despite her image.
“I would say what matters more are the values and substance that [Wonder Woman] will represent — and this will be the challenge, and goal — of the campaign,” she said.
Wonder Woman “pin-up girl”? That’s a pretty big stretch. Somehow, it’s hard to see Wonder Woman clad in a scanty negligee posing for the camera. Perhaps the actress who played Wonder Woman in the 1970s, Lynda Carter, could have appeared dolled up like that. She feminized the character and Americanized it for TV.
The Wonder Woman of DC Comics is a far more dangerous woman — no mistaking her for a prom queen. Her debut in 1941 came amidst World War II, and the image of a powerful woman fighting America’s enemies caught on immediately with the public.
DC Comics has become far too politically correct in recent years, downplaying the American connection in many characters and turning some male superheroes into confused metrosexuals. But Wonder Woman seems to have survived intact from her origins as a strong, capable woman who fights for justice without losing her femininity.
It’s good that the UN has recognized that.
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