It’s a good time to be Wonder Woman. We’re not even talking about the fictional character battling creatures mythical and societal in the pages of DC Comics – or even the live-action version in DC’s Justice League universe. No, the sun has never shone brighter on Wonder woman the cultural icon, as the last few weeks have seen the demi-goddess of the Amazons gain all new levels of social meaning. First came the confirmation that Wonder Woman was a champion of LGBTQ rights, and now she’s even being honored by world governments.
Thanks to her famous history as the foremost superhero fighting for equality, peace and justice for every citizen of the world, Wonder Woman has been named an Honorary Ambassador of the United Nations as part of a larger campaign to promote equality for girls and women around the world.
The announcement comes (via NPR) as the U.N. begins its next mission in support of its ‘Goal 5′, to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” It’s a job that’s perfect for Wonder Woman, given that her mission is largely the same (and has been since her inception). The appointment comes during DC Comics’ ongoing celebration of Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary celebration, with both actresses most famous for the role – Lynda Carter, star of the 1970s TV series and Gal Gadot, star of the DCEU’s upcoming Wonder Woman – set to attend the ceremony on October 21st.
In an official statement, outreach director of the United Nations’ Department of Public Information Maher Nasser explained why a fictional warrior fits the bill for the group’s next initiative:
“Wonder Woman’s character is the most iconic and well known female comic book superhero in the world, known for her strength, fairness and compassion, and her commitment to justice, peace and equality.”
The ceremony, to be attended by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson will actually mark the first meeting of Gadot and Carter – who will have much to discuss. Aside from the Wonder Woman movie cameo from Carter that almost was, there’s the recent suggestion, followed by confirmation from DC that the comic book heroine is “queer” (she has had romantic relationships with her fellow Amazons). It’s a clarification that Gadot has claimed “makes sense,” adding yet another way for Wonder Woman to act as the kind of female role model Carter claims the world still needs.
It’s unclear whether Gadot or Carter’s involvement in the campaign will continue beyond the official ceremony, or DC’s most famous heroine will be used as part of a global campaign promoting equality and social justice – just as her feature film promotes the very same message. It’s only the latest example of comic book publishers using the increased visibility of superheroes for social causes, with DC and IDW’s “Love is Love” comic raising funds and awareness in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy in Orlando, Florida (along with a broader move for inclusivity in DC’s catalogue).
She may not be the first fictional character given the honorary title, with Winnie the Pooh and an Angry Bird named Ambassadors for the International Day of Friendship and Happiness, respectively. Wonder Woman is expected to claim the title for more than just a day, though, continuing her fight on a brand new battlefield.
Wonder Woman opens in theaters on June 2, 2017