Not too long ago, we reported on how Wonder Woman had been named an honorary ambassador for women’s empowerment worldwide at an impressive event at the United Nations.
At the time we also noted the announcement was greeted with some controversy within the UN, as many were upset that this honor was given to a fictional woman while a real women had been turned down for the post of Secretary General of the UN — a title that no woman has ever held.
There was a protest at the event and even a petition to remove Wonder Woman as any kind of spokesperson started up.
Well, now it seems Wonder Woman’s ambassadorship is over, although DC had plans that ran into 2017, when the Wonder Woman movie is slated to be released. It seems the controversy proved too much.
The petition garnered just a tad shy of 45,000 signatures and stated in part:
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. This is the character that the United Nations has decided to represent a globally important issue – that of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. It appears that this character will be promoted as the face of sustainable development goal 5 for the United Nations at large.
While the current version of Wonder Woman seems to have moved on from her days as “the epitome of a pin-up girl,” she just can’t put it behind her. And that’s too bad. The perception of female comics characters as scantily clad pin-ps is very inaccurate these days, but to the casual observer it may not always look that way.
While this seems like a real “they hate us!” moment, there were other aspects of the decision:
The UN did not provide further details as to why the Wonder Woman campaign was ending this week, but spokesman Jeffrey Brez said campaigns using fictional characters often last no longer than a few months.
The designation of Angry Birds, a collection of animated characters that originated in an online video game, as UN climate change envoys in March lasted a single day, he said.
DC Entertainment, which publishes DC Comics, said it was pleased with the exposure Wonder Woman brought to the UN’s global goal to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls by 2030 “as well as elevating the global conversation around the empowerment of women and girls.”
While Wonder Woman may have moved on, the core actions of Sustainable Goal #5, gender quality, are still with us. If you’re upset that Wonder Woman has been benched, the best way to honor her spirit is to pay attention to the goals of her campaign:
Speak out against discrimination and limitations on women and girls. Only 9% of news stories raise gender (in)equality issues, while 4% clearly challenge gender stereotypes. Call out sexist language and behaviour. Share positive stories of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
Join forces with others against gender-based violence and abuse. 1 in 3 women still experience physical or sexual violence. Speak out against gender-based violence.
Support full and effective participation and equal opportunity for women and girls in leadership in all aspects of life, including the workplace. Women and girls represent half of the world””s population, and therefore half of its potential. Mentor young women and girls.
Ensure all women and girls have access to quality learning. Today, over 63 million girls are out of school. In Areas facing humanitarian and protracted crises, millions drop out before they can complete their education. Demand access to safe, free and quality learning for all girls.
Celebrate women and girls who have and are making a difference every day. Do you know a #RealLifeWonderWoman? Tell us more about her online using the hashtags #RealLifeWonderWoman and #WithWonderWoman.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.