Wonder Woman: From superhero to icon to UN Ambassador

     In a year that has seen death, destruction and the most controversial election of all time, some light shines through the darkness. On Oct. 21, 2016, the United Nations anointed the DC Comics Superheroine Wonder Woman an official ambassador of the U.N. in recognition of her 75th anniversary and status as a worldwide feminist icon. The decision to make the Amazonian Princess, who first appeared in the 1940s, has been met with a firestorm of controversy. This led to mass protests inside the U.N., as well as protests around the world. The United Nations has stated that they want to achieve gender equality and to promote a sense of empowerment for young girls around the world, so Wonder Woman has been chosen as the perfect candidate for the job. With Wonder Woman celebrating her 75th anniversary and the new live-action movie coming out next year, it seems only appropriate for her to receive this honor.

     Wonder Woman was created in the early 1900s by famed psychologist William Moulton Marston. Wonder Woman was created out of Marston’s idea that woman can be just as equal, if not better, than man. In the early comics, Wonder Woman, alias Diana Prince, was an Amazonian Princess, blessed by the gods, who had super strength and the ability to fly. She could deflect bullets with her silver gauntlets, and she welded her magical golden lasso, which forced anyone caught within its snare to tell the truth. In the 1950s she experienced a surge in popularity, becoming the first sole female member of the Justice Society of America (although her role was reduced to secretary, a sign of the rampant sexism at the time). In the 1960s Diana received a complete overhaul by revered feminist Gloria Steinem, in which she was stripped of her powers, instead relying on hand-to-hand combat, similar to Avengers agent Emma Peel. This incarnation of the character was met with negative criticism, and in the late 1980s, George Perez retooled her origin once again, and the result was what is widely considered to be one of the greatest origin stories of all time. The outcry over her being fictional is up for debate, as previous U.N. ambassadors include Superman and the red bird from Angry Birds.

     Attending the ceremony were 1970s Wonder Woman television series actress Lynda Carter, Israeli actress and star of next year’s Wonder Woman solo film Gal Gadot and comic book writers Jim Lee and Phil Jimenez. Patty Jenkins, director of the 2017 Wonder Woman solo film, was also present. After introducing the ceremony’s guests, a group of approximately 50 protestors stood silently, with their backs to the procession.

     “They are nitpicking on something that has nothing to do with anything. They want to see it gone. Wonder Woman is an idea. This is about fighting for freedom. I think they are just being silly,” Lynda Carter said in an interview on CBS’s “This Morning.” The U.N. protestors have stated that they “don’t think that a fictitious comic book character wearing basically what looks like a Playboy-type bunny outfit is really the right message we need to send to girls or even boys for that matter,” which I read as, “We believe women are equal and powerful!…Depending on what they are wearing.”

     Sources: CBS, Comic Book Resources, UN.org

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