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UN comes under fire for picking Wonder Woman as ambassador for women empowerment campaign

Actors Gal Gadot and Lynda Carter pose during an event to name Wonder Woman UN Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women at UN headquarters. Photograph: (Reuters)

United Nations Oct 22, 2016, 02.12 AM (IST)

The United Nations named comic-book-superhero Wonder Woman as the honorary ambassador for its “empowerment of women and girls” campaign on Friday, prompting a flurry of criticism from feminist groups and UN employees who denounced the choice as “ridiculous”.

 

The choice received an immediate backlash as protesters created a website where they slammed Wonder Woman as the “the epitome of a ‘pin-up’ girl” — “a large-breasted white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmering thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif", international news agency AFP reported. 

 

Visitors on the website posted sharp comments calling the choice of Wonder Woman as a “bad joke on all of us,” “absolutely offensive to women” and said that “to be empowered, women needed leadership positions at the UN.”

 

Leader of the She4sg movement Shazia Rafi called the move ridiculous, adding that many real-life women who could have been chosen for the post.

 

Around 350 UN employees have also signed a petition urging the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to drop the comic-book-superhero as the face of the campaign. During the campaign launch, several protesters were seen  turning their back to the crowd while several others held up clenched fists, AFP reported.

 

Ban Ki-Moon's undersecretary-general for communications, Cristina Gallach, however, described Wonder Woman as “an icon for her commitment to justice, peace and equality.”

 

The announcement was made in the presence of the actress Lynda Carter, who played the part on television, and of Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, the company that owns the rights to the character.

 

(WION with inputs from AFP)
 

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