A group of UN staff members created a petition to remove Wonder Woman as the Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.
Individuals known as “Concerned United Nations staff members” launched the appeal. It seeks to collect 2,000 signatures and has more than half way met its goal.
“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 with an American flag motif and knee high boots,” the statement read. “[She’s] the epitome of a ‘pin-up’ girl.”
The DC Comics character, created 75 years ago, will be the face of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5. The organization’s website says it aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”
Because of that goal, the petition outlines why the selection of Wonder Woman as an ambassador is startling.
“It is alarming that the United Nations would consider using a character with an overtly sexualized image at a time when the headline news in [the] United States and the world is the objectification of women and girls. The image that Wonder Woman projects is not culturally encompassing or sensitive.”
Instead of the animated character, the petition requests Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appoints “a real-life female role model” as the ambassador. The hope is that she can be someone for women and girls of all races can admire.
The move comes after critics derided the UN’s decision not to accept Ki-moon’s request to replace him with its first-ever woman secretary-general when his term is over this year.
On Twitter, Anne Marie Goetz criticized the decision as “disgusting.”
“Hope Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth reveals hypocrisy,” the academic and former U.N. adviser said.
Disgusting that the UN substitutes sexualized fake for real woman leader. Hope Wonder Woman's lasso of truth reveals hypocrisy @riotwomennn https://t.co/h1V68jmMNB
— anne marie goetz (@amgoetz) October 15, 2016
Lithuania representative Raimonda Murmokaite also recognized the many “real-life women and girls to inspire…us.”
I'd rather go for #Brave. But seriously, there should be plenty real life women and girls to inspire the rest of us pic.twitter.com/ZiysQ9sbPm
— RaMurmoka (@RaMurmoka) October 19, 2016
ABC News reported U.N. spokesman for the secretary-general Stéphane Dujarric revealed artistic collaborations are necessary to connect with wide audiences.
“I think this is a new and creative way for us to reach a different audience with critical messages about women’s empowerment,” he said at an Oct. 17 press conference.
Dujarric also noted Portugal’s António Guterres taking over as secretary-general next year is unrelated to Wonder Woman’s role.
Additionally, he mentioned the UN addressed petitioner’s concerns. Dujarric told The New York Times they changed the promotion to “bring a celebration of real-life women and girls making a difference every day into the core messaging.”