By Sharanya Dutta
After pushing for a woman Secretary General for The United Nations (UN), and after seven REAL women were rejected for the position, the UN has, in what feels like an inadequate move towards, er… appeasement, appointed DC’s Wonder Woman (on her 75th birthday) as its new Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Woman and Girls.
But there were some seriously pissed off people at the Economic and Social Council chamber, who protested this move by silently turning their back to the stage, some with their fists in the air. They also started a petition to reconsider the decision, calling the message sent by this appointment “extremely disappointing”. The petition not so politely sums up the fact that the image of 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, 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. This is the character that the United Nations has decided to represent a globally important issue — that of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.”
Also, she’s NOT A REAL PERSON.
But since she’s championing the cause of gender equality and all, we looked at some Wonder Woman trivia, across genres, and here’s what we found.
When Wonder Woman was being conceptualized, this quote was released in The American Scholar: “Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman” quoted by William Moulton Marston, in a 1943 issue. She was then in a variety of secretarial roles, something that was constantly highlighted.
Marston is completely unapologetic about bondage in his comics. In 1944, he explains in an article called “Why 100,000,000 Americans Read Comics”: “…I maintained, men actually submit to women now, they do it on the sly with a sheepish grin because they’re ashamed of being ruled by weaklings. Give them an alluring woman stronger than themselves to submit to and they’ll be proud to become her willing slaves!”
She is overtly sexualised, a fact that her co superheroes seem to enjoy.
In Star Sapphire, “The costumes were so ridiculously naked that Wonder Woman’s had to use her iconic WW logo to hold her boobs…” As the article mentions, “[T]he only ‘strong’ in many ‘strong female comic book characters’ are the oblique muscles required to point their ass and boobs in the same direction.”
In an interview with David and Meredith Finch, illustrator and writer for Wonder Woman, #Issue 36 onwards, David says, “Really, from where I come from, and we’ve talked about this a lot, we want to make sure it’s a book that treats her as a human being first and foremost, but is also respectful of the fact that she represents something more. We want her to be a strong — I don’t want to say feminist, but a strong character. Beautiful, but strong.”
The same comic also shows Wonder Woman clutching a teddy bear for comfort. An Amazonian superhero, take note.
About the recent Batman vs Superman, this article says: “…she has a show-stopping cleavage, unleashed to maximum effect in a series of asymmetrical clothes whose only internal logic is to make sure you can see her breasts but her neck is covered… Furthermore, the stolen/borrowed files are no good to her, since she is foxed by the encryption, while Batman cracks into them with no problem at all, a plot element that has literally no purpose except to underscore that, even in the distant future, when you don’t need shelves put up because you no longer read books, women will still need men for IT support.”
In a time where sexual objectification and violence is rampant the world over, and given the fact that the UN has global reach, this decision seems… well, comic.