On October 21st the United Nations named Wonder Woman as the Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. Her role is to raise awareness for achieving gender equality empowering all women and girls by 2030.
character should be representing women of the world. Wonder Woman is not the first cartoon to become an ambassador; Winnie the Pooh is an ambassador for the International Day of Friendship, Tinker Bell was made a honorary ambassador of green in 2009, and one of the Angry Birds characters is an ambassador for the International Day of Happiness. However, in this case many people feel that her physique, costume, and the fact that she is not a real person are detrimental to the campaign.
An online petition is calling the UN to reconsider the choice because Wonder Woman is a “culturally insensitive, overtly sexualized” and unrealistic role model for young women. “Having strong (living, breathing) female role models is a critical aspect of the goal of empowerment of women and girls…If the United Nations would like a list of incredible extraordinary women that would formidably carry out this role, we could surely be able to come up with a list from which the Secretary-General could choose.” Wonder Woman shares her role as ambassador with women like UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson and Messenger of Peace Charlize Theron, a South African actress and film producer.
As a united league of nations, many members of the UN also take insult with the clearly American outfit that Wonder Woman wears. Her red, white, and blue suit is another reminder to the world about how America has become a force, one that is not always beneficial to the growth of smaller forces. The strength of a woman does not lie in her country, but in herself, and using an American icon may not be the best way to display that. Furthermore, Wonder Woman is not real and has an unrealistic body type. She is muscular, super toned and strong, but also has large breasts and a prominent collar bone. While I take great pride in personally being very athletic, I know I would prefer a role model who encourages health or virtue, not one that is a demigoddess and Amazonian princess. There are so many real athletes that young women can look at, using an idea instead of these women just diminishes the work that they have done.
On the other hand, Wonder Woman does stand for something. She was her own hero, the first woman to be the hero in the story instead of the damsel in distress. She came about during World War II, and was shown fighting the Axis Powers. Along with Rosie the Riveter, Wonder Woman showed that women are capable of taking control of their own story, and can work alone or alongside men for peace and justice. Wonder Woman was one of the founders of the Justice League, which showed her as a leader among men and women, a balance that is hard to find even today.
I do not want to model myself after a cartoon. I do not need Wonder Woman’s justice. I just look at my mom. I do not need her strength. I can emulate my sister. To me, Wonder Woman is just a drawing. No matter how wide spread or popular she was, we should be looking to the real women who fight for us every day, through word, song, film, science, and art.