The United Nations has come under heavy criticism for appointing Wonder Woman, a comic book character, as an ambassador, BBC is reporting.
The U.N. came under fire after making Wonder Woman an Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls Friday. The decision coincided with the famous heroine's 75th birthday. According to sources, Wonder Woman, also known as Princess Diana of Thermyscria, is billed to spearhead a 12-month social media campaign to promote gender equality and women empowerment.
The decision has sparked outrage worldwide with advocates for women rights condemning the action. In an online petition of more than 1000 people including "concerned" U.N. staff members, there has been a rallying cry that the decision be reversed because the comic book character is simply unrealistic and out-of-touch with societal problems.
"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."Those who criticized the move slammed the U.N. for its inability to find a real woman that could champion the rights of females irrespective of creed and culture.
The divisive move is coming at a time when the U.N. has selected Portuguese Antonio Guterres as the next secretary-general after Ban Ki-Moon steps down at the end of the year. There had been a worldwide push for the organization to pick its first woman secretary-general.
However, the 71-year-old organization had rejected seven female candidates for Guterres. Anne Marie Goetz, a former adviser to the body and who was at the forefront of the campaign for a woman secretary-general, called the choice "disgusting" and called for Wonder Woman to use her "lasso of truth" to expose the hypocrisy of the United Nations.
Wonder Woman, a fictional Amazonian princess, was created by Havard-trained psychologist William Marston in 1941 and has since been arguably regarded as the most popular female super hero character in comic books. According to the U.N., this helped sway decision makers towards the princess an ambassador.
"The focus of the U.N. was on her feminist background, being the first female superhero in a world of male superheroes, and that basically she always fought for fairness, justice and peace."
Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, threw her support behind the U.N. making Wonder Woman an Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.
"Her ability to operate alone and be her own independent person but also to work right alongside with the same strength and same abilities as some of the strongest male super heroes, I think is a testament to her character and kind of ties back the U.N. designation and this idea of gender equality."Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the secretary-general, said it was crucial that the U.N. reach younger audiences by building creative alliances. He said using Wonder Woman as an ambassador was to breach predictable borders, adding that the campaign stemmed beyond the 600 U.N. members that had signed the petition.
He added that the U.N. continued to work with wonderful women worldwide to push different goals and objectives including Alaa Murabit of Libya, Brazilian soccer player Marta, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Angelina Jolie.
On Friday, Gal Gadot, star of the new Wonder Woman movie due out next year and Lynda Carter who played the Amazon princess on TV from 1975 to 1979 were at the U.N. office in New York to show their support. Many staffers in their own show of support turned their backs and raised their fists.
The online petition has urged the U.N. to reconsider the role of Wonder Woman as ambassador, pointing out that it would be happy to come up with a list of extraordinary real-life women who could perform the duties much better, adding that it was shocking that the body would be considering a sexually exploitative image as a role model for women and young girls.
"It is alarming that the United Nations would consider using a character with an overtly sexualized image at a time when the headlines news in United States and the world is the objectification of women and girls."
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[Featured Image by Bebeto Matthews/AP Images]