From the comic book realm of Themyscira to New York City, Amazonian princess Wonder Woman (aka Diana Prince) was appointed Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls at the United Nations today.
The U.N. event, coinciding with the character’s 75th anniversary, featured statements by Carter, Gal Gadot of the 2017 Wonder Woman film directed by Patty Jenkins (also in attendance), president of DC Entertainment Diane Nelson, and UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Cristina Gallach.
Wonder Woman’s role will be part of the U.N.’s campaign for achieving gender equality by 2030. Said Nelson, the strength and backing of Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, which own the rights to the character, agree to “add Wonder Woman to their arsenal” of raising awareness of the struggles women face – and U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 5. According to Gallach, the iconic status of the “newest recruit to the cause” – and her “commitment to justice, peace, and equality” – will help the U.N. reach new audiences with essential messages of empowerment with the theme of “Think of all the wonders you can do.”
The new campaign will include launching a special 2017 Wonder Woman comic book that, said Nelson, “tells the story of empowerment, peace, justice, and equality. For the first time in the publisher’s history, it will be available around the world in multiple languages simultaneously. The character will also be made available to U.N. agencies to “leverage the commanding visual image” in outstanding programs, said Nelson.
“What makes Wonder Woman empowering isn’t that she represents ‘look what girls can do,’ it’s that she represents ‘look what girls can already do’,” said Nelson. “We believe in addition to the exemplary work that amazing real women are doing in the fight for gender equality, it is to be commended the U.N. understands stories, even comic book stories, can inspire, teach, and reveal injustices.”
Meanwhile, Lynda Carter, star of the 1975-79 live-action Wonder Woman show, provided the heart for the U.N. gathering, and the political edge – and made one think at least her Wonder Woman would not be voting for Donald Trump.
“We are stronger together,” said Carter, echoing Hillary Clinton’s message, before adding that women are half the world, and “mothers of all mankind.”
“We believe in fair play, and fair pay, and playing by the rules,” she added. “We stand by our men – as they stand beside us. And now we call upon on these good men of the world to work with us, and help us achieve the freedoms that all women and girls worldwide so richly deserve.”
Speaking to the silent protest taking place in the assembly, and an online petition of more than 600 U.N. staff members calling on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to recall the ambassador appointment, Carter said, “Please embrace her.”
“Wonder Woman lives, do not doubt it; she lives in every woman, and Wonder Woman helps bring out the inner strength every woman has … I see it in the letters, and the stories, and in social media, and I see it in the tears that fall from the eyes of women who say she saved them, inspired them from some awful thing they endured – because they saw they could do something great.”
Mocking Trump’s signature pronunciation three or four times, Carter said she hoped we could all look back on 2017 as a year of “Yuge progress!” She then moved on to the topic of immigration, and its connection to Wonder Woman.
“My grandmother was an immigrant born in Mexico,” she said. “We are all immigrants; I really like immigrants.”
When Carter stepped off the stage to a standing ovation, Gadot replaced her, suggesting Carter should be president of the United States – a nod to the former’s new role as Commander in Chief on The CW show, Supergirl.
“Wonder Woman seeks to promote strength, wisdom, leadership, justice, and love,” said Gadot. “Qualities that, when combined, make us the very best we can be.”
Gadot’s statement went on that the “honor” of the initiative helps set a good example for both boys and girls on a “massively global scale.”
“Wonder Woman is a fighter, better than most, but it’s what she fights for that is important,” said Gadot in closing. “It is her vision of a future of peace and acceptance that makes her the right ambassador for everyone.”
Created in 1941 by psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston -- along with his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston (who added the “intellect and attitude to the characters, said Carter, echoing Marston’s granddaughter, Christie) – Wonder Woman has undergone many iterations. At times sporting patriotic colors, and a star-spangled skirt, the character is a founding member of DC Comics’ Justice League, and considered one of the publisher’s Trinity, alongside Superman and Batman. Recently revealed to canonically queer, the character is a comic book icon that has evolved over time, but has overall transcended the damsel-in-distress trope.