I’m beginning to wonder if the UN has lost the plot.
Because that’s the only thing that makes sense.
Let me explain.
Violence against women is a horrific stain on our planet and I find it shameful that in 2016 women are denied the same chances to even something as basic as an education in many places is indefensible.
And so I should be championing the fact that the United Nations, an organisation with a global reach and responsibilities, a budget of 5.4 billion with 193 member states, with the motto
The sons of Adam are limbs of each other, Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time affects one limb The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others
Thou art unworthy to be called by the name of a human. ((Persian) Iranian poet Saadi)
And the person that it picked- bearing in mind it had the the whole world (population 7.4 billion so assuming a 50/50 gender split that’s roughly 3.7 billion women) to chose from, they gave the position of an Honorary Ambassador with the explicit role to promote messages about women’s empowerment and gender-based violence… to Wonder Woman.
A fictional character.
Now, I don’t want to get into debates about whether or not they picked the right fictional character- that’s what the comment section is for. My complaint is that they picked a fictional character at all. With over 3.5 billion women to choose from, could the UN not find a real woman? A Chibook Schoolgirl? Malala Yousafazi? Jennifer Laurence?
Whilst I accept that we could do with more female leads in entertainment, this smacks less of accomplishing a serious need than of a corporation or uncle trying desperately to be hip and cool with the kids. I mean hell, Emma Watson has done incredible work for the UN in her role as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador since being appointed in July 2014. Why not just have her reprise her role as Hermione Granger?
And I would like to point out that The UN has itself come under some criticism for having a lack of gender parity in senior roles. Despite campaigns there has never been a female Secretary General and one analysis found that in 2015 nine of 10 senior leadership jobs went to men.
Comics site The Mary Sue welcomed the announcement “Wonder Woman is a great, easily-recognisable symbol of what women can become once freed from a patriarchal society”, it said.
But the UK Women’s Equality Party (membership 65’000, founded 2015) said it was “fittingly comic that the UN could not think of a single human woman who could take on this role”.
Party leader Sophie Walker said: “I meet extraordinary women every day: women who have survived violence, or defied gender norms to ascend to the top of a hostile industry, or blazed a trail in the arts or media or sport or health.”
“These women are truly superheroes. They don’t wear hotpants, they don’t have the power to wield Thor’s hammer – they change lives, and they are the role models our young people need to see.”
DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson will accept the role for her company’s comic book, TV and film character at a ceremony on 21 October.
And whilst I agree that the character can be seen as a role model, I can’t help but feel that by picking a fake person over a real one and not but putting it up for a vote so womany McWomanface can win the role a chance to engage people has been lost. I mean next month will I be typing that Superman has been picked as the fictional ambassador to promote messages about tolerance and empowerment for refugees?
I agree that we need to do something about this situation. Men and women should be equal, with the same chances as each other in life with their success being defined only by their talent and not their gender.
But until then, what do you guys think of the whole thing?