UN Ambassador Wonder Woman

I was startled by the part where Suzanne Moore said Wonder Woman has been named a UN ambassador so I followed her link.

“This is the most fun the UN has had, I’m pretty sure right?” Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment said at a ceremony appointing Wonder Woman as the United Nations’ honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. The ceremony was meant to honor the fight for gender equality and the 75th anniversary of the character.

Pause to stare in amazement.

How insulting is that? What, because the empowerment of women and girls is so trivial and such a joke that a comic book character might as well be ambassador for it?


Image result for wonder woman

Not really about empowerment, or women and girls? Sexual fantasy rather than empowerment? The male gaze as opposed to the empowered woman or girl? Hello? Can anyone hear me?

t was announced that Wonder Woman would become an honorary ambassador earlier this month, in support of the UN’s sustainable development goal number five – “to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. The sustainable development goals were adopted by the UN in 2015 and hope to fulfill their agenda by 2030.

The news was met with both praise and criticism, and a petition was created by “Concerned United Nations staff members” asking the UN secretary general to reconsider. It mentioned concerns over her “overtly sexualized image” that is not “culturally encompassing or sensitive”.

And it’s also not about empowerment. It’s about the passive, powerless non-action of being looked at. It’s about being so unreal that only a comic can represent you.

Protesters entered the chamber at the start of the event, and stood with their backs turned and their fists raised. They walked out of the event about halfway through, but three women stood outside for a few minutes to speak about their actions.

Though they didn’t intend to speak about their protest to the media, one, who was asked if the Guardian could mention her remarks anonymously, said she wished a real person had been chosen for the role of ambassador.

“For something that is this important, you need a woman or a man who can speak, somebody who can travel, somebody who can champion these rights, somebody who is able to have an opinion, somebody that can be interviewed, somebody that can stand up in front of 192 member states and say this is what we would like you to do,” she said.

In other words an actual female human being, not a two-dimensional stylized drawing.

Also, it’s a commercial product. The UN presumably wouldn’t make a Mercedes SUV or Blue Goose Vodka an ambassador, so why make a comic book character one?

The ceremony on Friday featured famous guests, actors Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot who have both brought the character to life on screen, Patty Jenkins, the director of the forthcoming Wonder Woman film, and Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, which owns the character. The audience was full of Girl Scouts and young women and men, all in Wonder Woman T-shirts given out at the event. Jim Lee, co-publisher of DC Comics, and Phil Jimenez, a comic artist who has drawn Wonder Woman, were also there.

Cristina Gallach, UN under secretary general for communications and public information, attended on behalf of the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. She seemed to explain the choice of Wonder Woman in her remarks. “I don’t need to tell you Wonder Woman is an icon,” she said. “She has been known for justice, peace and equality and we are very pleased that this character will help us reach new audiences with essential messages about empowerment and equality.”

Nelson, who spoke next, commemorated the character’s long history in the DC Comics universe. Wonder Woman made her first appearance in All-Star Comics #8 back in 1941. The character soon got her own series and has been constantly transformed during her long history, with her origin story and costume specifics tweaked over the years.

As part of the yearlong campaign, DC Comics is developing a Wonder Woman comic that “tells the story of empowerment, peace, justice and equality” that will be available worldwide and in multiple languages, Nelson said.

Of course it is. How kind of the UN to give it such an advertising boost. Not so kind to women and girls though.

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