Wednesday 2 November 2016

Wonder Woman and the UN

In case you haven't heard it yet - Wonder Woman was named a UN Ambassador for women recently. And some people aren't happy about it.

Now, I totally get why this is an issue for a lot of people. I also get why some people are happy about this announcement.

But - and this is the radical bit - this occurrence is neither the end of the world nor the saviour of humanity.

Let me sum-up a bit for you dearest nerdlets, and show you that all sides have some pretty impressive, and equally valid, points:

Not a 'real' woman

The evidence for the prosecution, m'lady, is as follows:

  • Wonder Woman is fictional - she's not 'real.' There are plenty of non-fictional women who deserve the recognition of this role.

  • She is often over-sexualised. Do we really want little girls looking up to a sex symbol as their role model?

  • The creator of Wonder Woman was a man; her writers and artists are usually men. She is controlled by men.

  • She has no voice of her own - only what people give her. She is a puppet with no agency of her own.

  • Wonder Woman is commercial property - she is owned by DC comics. The UN currently has a women's ambassador who is beholden to commercial interests.

  • Wonder Woman is too American to be a global ambassador.

Seems like there's a real case to be answered against her, doesn't it?

Women are warriors

The defence presents it's case m'lady:

  • Wonder Woman is undeniably an icon with global recognition potential that needs little to no explanation.

  • To many, she seems more real than the 'real' women - your average little girl is more likely to recognise - and relate to - Wonder Woman, than to Angela Merkel; so let's use that recognition for good.

  • Wonder Woman was invented as a feminist icon - someone girls could look up to. This is a reclamation of her original identity - an undoing of the subversion of her original character; she wore a mini-skirt and knew it said nothing about her as a person. It was others who judged her for it.

  • She saves the dude-in-distress constantly. Seriously, that's what she spent the first lord-knows-how-many years of her career doing - saving the useless dude's a*s, so that he didn't get his butt killed.

  • She shows girls that women can be whatever they want to be. A boob-tube and a mini-skirt doesn't make you stupid, weak, or ineffective.

So, valued members of the jury, what do you think? Is the case for or against Wonder Woman strong enough to make a valid judgement?

Here's my take: let's do something really radical, and assume that appointing one UN Women's Ambassador isn't enough! Let's appoint, oh, I don't know - 2 women? 3 women? 5 women? A whole team of women? Lord knows there's enough work for them.

The question shouldn't be: should we appoint a fictional character to this position?

It should be: Can we appoint this fictional character and this activist and this neuroscientist and this CEO and this charity worker and...?

Because Wonder Woman is going to a great job, regardless of who's for her, and who's against her - but why the hell should she have to do this alone?

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  1. I do love the idea of having Wonder Woman as a ambassador, as I think a fictional icon is something that everyone will recognize. However I do think that we should add more actual women in there as well! There are some remarkable women out there doing remarkable things that we don't even know about.

  2. We do need more women ! But I like that she's an ambassador. I mean, feminism is about equal rights and perception (if that makes sense) so men "controlling" her isn't relevant as long as they follow those principles, at least that's my opinion ~

    1. Again, I see the reasons for and against, but either way: isn't it best to appoint more than one woman, if only to show that women cannot be reduced to one figure?

    2. Yeah definitely ! I don't understand why there's only one, it seems unfair

  3. I actually didn't know this... and I find it pretty interested that they elected a fictional character as a UN ambassador. I didn't know they could even do that! But yeah, pretty intriguing. I also found out some new facts about her character too. I didn't know she was created and her role appointed by men solely. I'm not going to state my own opinion because I have to be honest, I don't know much about Wonder Woman, but it does sound like she is someone a lot of younger kids could admire and relate to. You're definitely right about that.

    1. Her creator was indeed a man - but there was some input from his wife. And yes, she's usually drawn and written by men.

      I guess they're allowed to do what they want - they're the UN! ;)

      Honestly, I think there are points for and against - but the case here isn't simply black-and-white, and we need to realise that.


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