13 Dec 2016

Wonder Woman dropped from UN gender equality efforts

3:19 pm on 13 December 2016

Wonder Woman's reign as a United Nations honorary ambassador will come to an abrupt end this week.

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman

American actress Lynda Carter as Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman in the 1970s television series of the same name. Photo: ABC Television

The curvaceous white comic superhero was appointed two months ago to fight for gender equality in a move designed especially to appeal to young people.

But the appointment sparked heavy criticism that the choice sent the wrong messages.

Nearly 45,000 people signed an online petition asking UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reconsider the character's selection.

"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.

The UN said the character's role at the 193-member-state organisation would end on Friday, despite earlier plans for the empowerment campaign for women and girls to run into 2017.

Wonder Woman, a DC Comics Inc heroine, first appeared in 1941, fighting villains, rescuing victims and unearthing evil plots.

Dozens of UN employees protested at the organisation's headquarters in New York City on 21 October - the day of the character's appointment - when DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson said the campaign would feature various initiatives "over the course of the next year".

The UN did not provide further details as to why the campaign was ending, but a spokesman, Jeffrey Brez, said campaigns using fictional characters often lasted no longer than a few months.

He said "Angry Birds," a collection of animated characters that originated in an online video game, were used as climate envoys in March for a single day.

DC Entertainment, which publishes DC Comics, said it was pleased with the exposure the character brought to the UN's global goals to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls by 2030.

"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," DC Entertainment spokesperson Courtney Simmons said.

DC Entertainment is a subsidiary of Warner Bros Entertainment Inc, which is a division of Time Warner.

Ms Simmons said the release next year of a special-edition Wonder Woman comic book on the empowerment of women and girls, announced in October, was still planned.

A full-length Wonder Woman movie, unaffiliated with the UN campaign, starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot is scheduled for release by Warner Bros in June next year.

- Reuters

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