Although 2016 finally saw the introduction of comic book icon Wonder Woman in film franchises, with a full-length film set for June 2017, international politics aren’t quite ready to be lassoed by the Amazonian superhero.
In October, the United Nations named Wonder Woman an honorary ambassador for gender equality to accomplish Sustainable Development Goal #5, which aimed to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” and to celebrate the heroine’s debut 75 years prior. However, an online petition signed by nearly 45,000 people criticized the decision to use Wonder Woman as a representation of feminism and equality. Petitioners cited “an overtly sexualized image” and claimed Wonder Woman is “not culturally encompassing or sensitive.”
“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,” the petition read.
DC Entertainment spokeswoman Courtney Simmons barked back, saying, “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.”
Reactions to the decision have been mixed. Tara Peterson, a young fan from Mexico, started her own petition to restore Wonder Woman’s title, which gained more than 1,000 signatures hours after the UN’s announcement.
“She is a queer woman and Super Hero who should not be judged (nor should anyone) based on what she chooses to wear or how she looks,” Peterson writes in her petition.
Fans and critics of the decision also expressed their frustration on Twitter.
Whoever signed that petition to get Wonder Woman removed. YOU ARE part of the problem why we as a society can’t move forward.— wonder woman (@justhiccleague) December 13, 2016
I’ve never thought of Wonder Woman as “white”. She’s an Amazonian from Atlantis and her ethnicity is drawn ambiguously. She’s hardly Barbie. pic.twitter.com/BU1lOz2TQU— Caitlin Fitzsimmons (@niltiac) December 13, 2016
Wonder Woman losing her UN ambassadorship because of her being attractive is like saying Superman isn’t inspiring because he’s buff.— Ryan Mains (@RealRyanMains) December 13, 2016