After two months of protest, the United Nations drops Wonder Woman as equality ambassador

The comic book character, who turned 75 this month, came under fire for being "overtly sexualised"

After two months of protest, the United Nations drops Wonder Woman as equality ambassador

Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Cristina Gallach (centre), at the designation of Wonder Woman as the Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls [UN Photo/Kim Haughton]

Wonder Woman, the world’s most well-known superheroine, has had her tenure as an honorary ambassador for the United Nations cut short, after a number of protests were made in the two months since she was announced in the role.

A UN spokesperson said that Wonder Woman, also known by her alias Diana Prince, would finish up her duties as an ambassador for worldwide equality for women and girls at the 193-member state organisation this Friday, despite initial plans for her role to continue into 2017. But since her appointment on October 21st, an online petition, attributed to a group describing itself as concerned UN staff, has collected nearly 45,000 signatures condemning the use of an “overtly sexualised” fictional character in place of a real woman runs counter to the UN’s ideals.

“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,” the petition claims.

Wonder Woman was created in December 1941, in part by psychologist William Moulton Marston, who is also credited with the invention of the polygraph test, who designed Prince to represent a number of his own personal philosophies concerning love and sexual submission.

Since large cardboard cut-outs of the character were placed in the UN headquarters in New York in October, UN employees have protested her appointment, claiming the images of the character, who wears a star-spangled bodice, is “not culturally encompassing or sensitive.”

In responding to the end of Wonder Woman’s time with the UN, spokesman Jeffrey Brez said that the organisation’s use of fictional characters rarely lasts longer than a few months. When the UN used the popular mobile game Angry Birds to highlight climate change in March, the computer game characters were only employed as special envoys for one day.

DC Entertainment, the media company that controls the rights to the character, said it was proud of the work Wonder Woman had done for the UN in its attempts to gender equality by 2030, saying that the character plays an important role in the empowerment of women and girls.

“Wonder Woman stands for peace, justice and equality, and for 5 years she had been a motivating force for many and will continue to be long after the conclusion of her UN Honorary Ambassadorship,” said DC Entertainment’s Courtney Simmons.

A feature-length Wonder Woman movie, starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot in the title role, is set for release in 2017.

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