The United Nations, famous (infamous?) for having Saudi Arabia on the human rights council, recently appointing Wonder Woman as the honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. Then, even more recently enough, people threw a fit that it was reversed. Strangely enough of the people who complained aren’t who you think. UN staffers, feminists, and non-fans of the character were vocal about their opposition. Even written in the petition:
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 epitome of a pin-up girl.
What this says about women who do look like Wonder Woman is a bit of a double standard in my opinion. While every woman is different, there are probably a great many women who look like her and girls who will look like her. Saying they are abnormal is just as bad as saying any other body type is abnormal. Saying she’s a ‘white woman’ shows the ignorance of people who cannot tell the difference between the wide range of European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern people, as much as the ignorance of people who think all Asians are the same. And what’s wrong with pin-up girls? It’s a job just like any other, and there are highly talented, and successful burlesque dancers, pin-up models, and dancers and if we are empowering women that means accepting whatever job it is they decide is best for them, right? Who are we to shame any of these aspects of real women?
If a woman of Greek descent, who saves people all around the world and immigrates to America is too American, then which fictional character would work? What other fictional female character is as well known, especially with the upcoming DC movie? How many little girls, and even adults, cosplay as Diana every year? What message does the UN send to these woman and girls, and even boys, when they say Wonder Woman isn’t womaning well enough to be an example for girls to look up to?
And current iteration? Did they even google Wonder Woman before writing that? Take a look. Wonder Woman art is as varied as the artists who’ve drawn her. Just in the top few results, we have her in the traditional red, white and blue, decked out in armor, wearing pants, and covered from neck to toe in an armored body suit. She’s drawn as athletic and slender, or muscular and curvy, large chested or smaller, and everything in between. The current iteration of this immigrant super heroine is quite diverse really, and it seems to me she shows that women can be whatever they want, and look however they want when they do it.
Thankfully fans are speaking out, with one 14 year old girl starting a petition to reinstate her. Even Phil Jimenez shared this great tweet with art from Catherine and Sarah Satrun:
— Phil Jimenez (@Philjimeneznyc) December 13, 2016
Quite honestly, at the end of the day, if the point is to pick a woman who will fit everyone’s definition of a role-model, you’ll fail. You’re not going to find a single fictional female, or male character, that everyone will think is a perfect example. It’s simply not possible. What I do know is when I see the faces of little girls dressed as Wonder Woman, they look like they’re having the time of their lives. Do little girls really care what she’s wearing, or do they care that they feel like goddesses when they put on a costume and pretend to be Diana for a few hours? Should we be focusing on what a woman wears (I’m told that’s really bad), or what she does? Should our message be that a woman can do whatever she wants, and dress however she likes when she does it, or she can do it as long as she dresses in an acceptable manner? I may just be one of those silly guys, but it seems like a damn confusing message to me.