Wonder Woman has been demoted from her role as ‘Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls’.
On Monday it was announced that Wonder Woman’s campaign will come to an end on Friday, just two months after it began.
The appointment of the DC Comics heroine was controversial to say the least, prompting protests and an online petition from UN staff.
Critics believe the character, who was created some 75 years ago, is “overtly sexualized”. This is “more than surprising” at a time when one of the principle concerns for women and girls is objectification.
A petition created by“Concerned United Nations staff members” has been signed by more than 44,000 people.
It read: “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.”
According to the Guardian, the UN did not provide further details to explain why the campaign would be drawing to a close. However spokesperson Jeffrey Brez said that campaigns using fictional characters often lasted no longer than a few months.
The petition adds: “The bottom line appears to be that the United Nations was unable to find a real life woman that would be able to champion the rights of ALL women on the issue of gender equality and the fight for their empowerment.” Its authors then offer to provide a list of suitable role models from which Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon could choose.
Courtney Simmons, a spokesperson for DC Entertainment, said on Monday that the company was “extremely pleased with the awareness” the partnership brought to the UN’s commitment to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” as part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #5.
“Wonder Woman stands for peace, justice and equality, and for 75 years she has been a motivating force for many and will continue to be long after the conclusion of her U.N. honorary ambassadorship,” Simmons said.
But while the appointment may have been controversial, the decision to remove her is also polarising. Wonder Woman supporters took to Twitter to question whether her removal is a step back rather than a step forward for women.