Feminists want strong women as role models, right? Well, not always.
They are assailing the United Nations over its decision to pick Wonder Woman to “lead” a campaign for the empowerment of young girls, saying the choice is demeaning to women.
A week ago, the UN announced that the superhero would become the UN Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. On Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will make it official.
The initial response to the decision was largely positive: Even influential feminist comics site the Mary Sue hailed the choice, writing: “Wonder Woman is a great, easily recognizable symbol of what women can become once freed from a patriarchal society.”
But other, less-nerdy feminists were less impressed with the decision. Shazia Rafi, a leader of the She4SG campaign, to make the next UN secretary-general a woman, and a former secretary general of Parliamentarians for Global Action, said the choice of Wonder Woman is “ridiculous”.
“The campaign for women’s empowerment is represented by a cartoon when there are so many real-life women who could have been chosen,” she added.
On Twitter, she doubled down and slammed the UN, saying: “UN does locker room talk” by downgrading women to a cartoon, while men continue to occupy the top ranks of the organization.
— Shazia Rafi (@ShaziaZRafi) October 16, 2016
Rafi has since written to the UN secretary-general asking him to skip the event on Friday and urging others to boycott the ceremony. She is demanding that Wonder Woman be dropped from the campaign.
“It should be scrapped,” Rafi told AFP.
— Marie O'Reilly (@Marie_O_R) October 13, 2016
The UN, however, is sticking to the decision, saying the choice of Wonder Woman was about reaching younger audiences. “In order to reach young people, in order to reach audiences outside this building, we need to be creative,” a UN spokesman said.
Rafi dismissed the explanation, claiming “younger women no longer look at themselves and think they need to be dressed in cleavage and bustiers to be taken seriously.”
Don’t UN bureaucrats have bigger problems to solve?