Wonder Woman's kryptonite may be vocal critics. She is apparently losing her job as honorary United Nations ambassador for empowering women and girls, as of this Friday.
The DC Comics character was only unveiled as the new face of a social media campaign in October -- in an event attended by past and future "Wonder Woman" stars Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot -- but now its over. It's possible that protests against the campaign cut it short, since there was expectation that it would continue into 2017. In fact, NPR was told in October that the U.N. and DC "committed to a year."
But just yesterday the news came out that Wonder Woman's U.N. job would end on Friday, December 16, and -- as NPR pointed out -- that was only made public because Reuters happened to call U.N. official Jeffrey Brez to check on the campaign. On Tuesday, Brez told NPR that the plan was always for DC Comics to continue activities in the coming year (their "Wonder Woman" movie with Gal Gadot is opening in June 2017) but not to keep the honorary U.N. post for long.
"We always knew it would end in December," he told NPR. "Soon after the launch [on October 21] we said, what day should it actually end on? And we decided on December 16 because after that, the holidays were coming up, and it didn't make sense to continue the campaign into the holiday season."
But why wouldn't it continue into 2017?
It's hard to discount the possible influence of protests, since -- in the past two months -- more than 44,500 supporters have signed an online petition by "Concerned United Nations staff members" called "Reconsider the Choice of Wonder Woman as the UN's Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls."
Here's the protest intro:
"Wonder Woman was created 75 years ago. 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.
At a time when issues such as gender parity in senior roles and the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and girls is at the top of the United Nation's agenda, including the "He for She" campaign, this appointment is more than surprising. It is alarming that the United Nations would consider using a character with an overtly sexualized image at a time when the headline news in United States and the world is the objectification of women and girls. The image that Wonder Woman projects (life-size cut outs of which have already appeared at UNHQ) is not culturally encompassing or sensitive –attributes the United Nations expects all its staff members to embody in the core value of respect for diversity."
However, two can play that game, and fans just launched their own petition to keep Wonder Woman as ambassador.
From here, it doesn't seem fair to reduce Wonder Woman to a "pin-up" girl, since she represents much more than her figure. But it is ironic that they are upset about her large breasts when one of the main complaints about Gal Gadot's casting as the new Wonder Woman was of her lack of large breasts. Gadot even joked about it to Jimmy Kimmel. Superman's pecs are bigger than anyone's, and his tight costume leaves even less to the imagination, but he's still an inspirational role model for boys and girls.
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