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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 16, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 51
UN fires Wonder Woman

Comic book hero was supposed to symbolize women's empowerment
Section One
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UN fires Wonder Woman

Comic book hero was supposed to symbolize women's empowerment

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Less than two months after being symbolically appointed an 'honorary ambassador' by the UN, DC Comics hero Wonder Woman has been removed from the post.

A UN spokesperson made the announcement December 13. As of December 16, Wonder Woman and the UN will part company, the spokesperson said.

The announcement brought a premature end to what was supposed to be a collaboration between the UN's children's agency, UNICEF, Warner Bros., and DC Entertainment to advance gender equality and women's empowerment.

While well intentioned, the choice of Wonder Woman did not go over well among all UN constituencies. A petition against the selection gathered nearly 45,000 signatures.

'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 petition read.

More than 1,000 'concerned' UN staff members issued the petition, charging that Wonder Woman was not an appropriate choice. She is '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,' the petition said.

France's highest-ranking female cabinet minister, Ségolène Royal, told CBS News that 'Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai would have been a good choice' to highlight women's empowerment.

Anne Marie Goetz, a New York University professor of global affairs and former adviser on peace and security issues for UN Women, called the decision to feature Wonder Woman 'disgusting.'

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem told CBS News she was 'all for symbolism' but 'we are now looking for women with real terrestrial power.'

She added she would rather see the UN elect its first woman Secretary General.

UN officials said they had been misunderstood.

'The focus [of the UN] 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,' Maher Nasser told NPR.

The organization said the Wonder Woman appointment was meant to 'highlight what we can collectively achieve if women and girls are empowered' and 'to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,' according to the UN's website on sustainable development goals.

In her brief career as a UN ambassador, Wonder Woman joined Winnie the Pooh, who became the Ambassador of Friendship in 1998; Tinkerbell, who was named Ambassador of Green in 2009; and Angry Birds leader Red, who became the Honorary Ambassador for the International Day of Happiness in 2016.

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