Wonder Woman choice draws backlash from feminists
THE United Nations has designated Wonder Woman to head a women’s rights campaign, drawing angry protests over the weekend from feminist groups and some UN employees who denounced the appointment of a comic-book character as “ridiculous”. The UN tabbed the fictional superheroine to lead a yearlong campaign for the “empowerment of women and girls”.
But a website created by protesters slammed Wonder Woman as “the epitome of a ‘pin-up’ girl” – “a largebreasted white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmering thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif”.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was originally scheduled to attend, was not present. Neither was Antonio Guterres of Portugal, who was recently named as the next UN chief despite protests that it was time – after eight men in a row – for a woman to hold the top UN position.
Ban’s undersecretary general for communications, Cristina Gallach, described Wonder Woman as “an icon for her commitment to justice, peace and equality”.
In the back of the room several dozen protesters, both women and men, turned their back to the podium, some of them holding up clenched fists.
The campaign launch coincides with the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman’s first appearance in a comic book, and ahead of Warner Bros’s release of a film centred on the statuesque character next year.
Shazia Rafi, a leader of the She4SG movement, which pushed for a woman to succeed Ban as UN secretary general, said it was “ridiculous” to have a campaign for women’s empowerment be “represented by a cartoon when there are so many real-life women who could have been chosen”. Some 350 UN employees had signed a petition urging Ban to drop the Wonder Woman plan.
At a hastily convened news conference Gallach said that the United Nations has also appointed several prominent women as “flesh and blood ambassadors”. including the British actress Emma Watson, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, and Queen Mathilde of Belgium. –
Demonstrators stand up in protest during a ceremony as the UN names the comic character Wonder Woman its Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls during a ceremony on October 21 in New York.