Wonder Woman has been around since the 1940s, when the Amazonian warrior princess made her debut in All Star Comics. Since then, Wonder Woman has become a global icon, and the Wonder Woman comic has been published almost continuously by DC Comics since 1986. Famously immortalized on our TV screens by Lynda Carter in the late 1970s, Wonder Woman has undergone something of a makeover in the years since, as society’s attitude towards women and equality have changed. Most recently, Gal Gadot has brought the character to life on the big screen, making her debut in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. She will star in her own Wonder Woman movie in 2017.
The Wonder Woman we now see in comics and on screen is strong, both emotionally and physically, and more than capable of saving the human race without the help of any man. She is her own person, as has been shown time and again, and is generally thought of as a good role model for women and young girls. However, the dispute has always raged long and hard over Wonder Woman’s appearance; is it too sexualized, or is she dressing for herself and not for the attention or approval of others? The answer is, of course, that people should be more concerned with the way Wonder Woman acts towards others than what clothes she is wearing – but like it or not, we live in a society that judges women, even fictional ones, on their appearance.
It seemed as though the United Nations had the right idea, though, when they appointed Wonder Woman as an honorary ambassador to promote the empowerment of women and to raise awareness of gender-based violence, back in October. At the time, the news was met favorably by fans of the character, and it was generally seen as a positive step forward for both the UN and female comic book characters, which are still lacking despite the progress being made. However, the United Nations has now announced (via BBC) that it is terminating its project with Wonder Woman this coming Friday, almost exactly two months after it was first announced. The UN have not given a reason, but it seems as though an online petition against the use of Wonder Woman may have been a strong factor in their decision. The petition gained over 45,000 signatures, deeming the use of Wonder Woman inappropriate for the UN’s cause, given her sexualized appearance. The petition read as follows:
“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.”
A spokesman for the UN pointed out that campaigns using fictional characters often only last a few months, but the petition to have her removed is leaving a bad taste. Regardless of Wonder Woman’s continued fight for equality, and the strength and perseverance she has shown in dealing with gender-based bias, it seems that the character’s costume still holds the most importance for some – and so, therefore, we now have one less woman in politics, albeit a fictional one.
DC Entertainment have said they are happy with the exposure Wonder Woman brought to the cause. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment will continue to work with the UN and Unicef on their year long project to raise awareness of gender-based violence and to promote empowerment of women. DC Entertainment spokesperson, Courtney Simmons, said that a planned issue of Wonder Woman, promoting the empowerment of women and girls, will still go ahead as planned, adding:
“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 UN honorary ambassadorship.”
Though the UN might not be using Wonder Woman to promote their cause, it seems as though DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. are still proud of the character and all she stands for.