Wonder Woman Will No Longer Be Empowering Young Girls for the United Nations

Image via Getty.
Image via Getty.

In early October, it was announced that Wonder Woman was being made a U.N. Honorary Ambassador as part of an initiative to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” Wonder Woman’s participation in this has been cancelled.

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Apparently, during the announcement, 50 U.N. staffers turned their back in protest because she’s both fictional and dang sexy. In a petition against the appointment, Wonder Woman was described in these terms:

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 protesters are also asking that the U.N. consider a real human woman as an ambassador, writing, “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.” This all said, it’s actually not uncommon for the U.N. to appoint fictional characters as ambassadors, so Wonder Woman’s appointment was probably not intended to be an insult aimed at all of womankind.

Nonetheless, the petition has accrued almost 45,000 signatures, and The Guardian reports that Wonder Woman is being sent back to Themyscira. She is officially out of office on Friday, making her tenure as an official symbol of empowerment only two months long. Sad. Personally, I appreciate an ambassador with a dedication to truth and justice and incredible thigh definition.

It’s a shame her name has been sullied in this fracas, but the planned release of a WW comic about the empowerment of women and girls will still be released, according to DC spokesperson Courtney Simmons. In a statement, Simmons reminds us that this super hero won’t be defined by one bad work experience, saying, “Wonder Woman stands for peace, justice and equality, and for 75 years she has been a motivating force for many and will continue to be long after the conclusion of her UN honorary ambassadorship.”

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

DISCUSSION

dunlin
Dunlin

This is probably an unpopular opinion, but...they’re not wrong.

I’m all for a strong female role model as ambassador, fictional or otherwise, and I love me some Wonder Woman (and had the Underoos to prove it back in the day), but she is covered in the American flag and some of the over-sexualized representation I do personally find a little problematic, especially when put to the purpose of representing the UN in any capacity. It is pretty Ameri-centric, although I would be hard-pressed to come up with any other example, which goes back to the “where are all of the rest of the female role models”.

I’m also tired of Wonder Woman having to be all things to all women, while simultaneously the aforementioned pin-up model. Still. There are precious few comic book heroines who aren’t presented in this fashion. This folds into the whole “yes, but that’s the character” issue, which I do understand but wish we could move past.

In general, I want a bigger well of fictional kick-ass women in all manner of clothing and body types to choose from, please, which ties more into the whole issue of representation in comics than anything UN related.

It’s a radical idea, I know, but why does she have to keep her flag swimsuit at all times? I kind of think a larger conversation could be created if WW shows up in a headscarf, for example. Then again, I can see why they don’t, maybe that’s not the conversation we want to have at this point. Although maybe it’s the perfect time for it.