by Charlotte Brockway
Last Friday, the United Nations announced Wonder Woman as Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. The decision came as part of a campaign to raise awareness on Sustainable Development Goal 5, which is achieving gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls. It is one of 17 goals set by the UN to achieve a more prosperous, protected planet. This iconic female superhero in DC Comics has made great strides in displacing the stereotypical Damsel in Distress since her inception in the midst of World War II, offering a strong, capable heroine with a strategic mind and and incredible fighting skills.
Though some warm response by the public, some do not view Wonder Woman’s UN appointment as a milestone worth celebrating. The decision received mixed views both from the public and those within the UN. Some have gone so far as to petition the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to retrieve the UN’s decision.
When asking Drewids about their thoughts on the UN’s decision, many had nothing to add, as they were unaware of the situation. However, others offered insightful commentary.
“I do not agree with Secretary General Ban Ki Moon,” said Alex Slotkin (’17), “The Secretary General wants to choose a real life woman, with all of her perfections and imperfections, to be the ambassador. As a general rule, it is better to look toward an ideal image of what we want rather than something that is attempting to enact the ideal. After all, a perfect form of, say, strong ‘womanhood’ has much more to be desired than someone who at times falls in line with that description and at other times does not. That is not to say there is no value in having a living role model, but what the UN is doing is creating a narrative that, like many cultures have done, begins with a fictional, idealized character and goes from there. I also disagree with subsequent arguments that Wonder Woman’s clothing and appearance make her anything but a role model. Although what we wear does matter, how we wear it matters more. Wonder Woman wears a normally ‘gendered’ piece of clothing to highlight her attempt at breaking gender norms, and I think that is wonderful (pun intended).”
“I love Wonder Woman as a character,” said Esther Tobe (’17), “I think this a great opportunity to get word out about women’s empowerment, however I think this should not be an honorary position but a real position with a real woman in the position. I think that this is a good start and even though Wonder Woman is not real, she is a mostly universal character that many women can identify with. However, this should only be the beginning to making real change in the world.” The UN has not released an official statement countering the controversy.