Wonder Woman might be a bonafide demigoddess, but staff members of the United Nations aren’t exactly falling under her superhero charm. As reported last week, Wonder Woman was appointed as an honorary UN ambassador for “the empowerment of women and girls,” simultaneously honoring gender equality and women’s empowerment while celebrating the 75th anniversary of the fictional character. What at first appeared as a fun, creative idea was soon met with a heavy bout of online criticism — the UN itself hasn’t had a women president in its 70-year history — but the critics didn’t solely come from anonymous comment boxes. Numerous UN staff members have expressed sharp disapproval over the honor, with more than 600 of them signing an online petition to condemn the superhero’s ambassador status. In the petition, the staffers urged Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to reconsider their choice, writing that Wonder Woman’s “overtly sexualized image” is not “culturally encompassing or sensitive.” As they explain: “The bottom line appears to be that the United Nations was unable to find a real life woman that would be able to champion the rights of all women on the issue of gender equality and the fight for their empowerment.”
On Friday, the staffers took their protest one step further at the official appointment ceremony in New York — where Wonder Woman actresses Gal Gadot and Lynda Carter were in attendance — by engaging in a silent protest in the UN chamber, The Guardian reports. Roughly 100 protesters stood with their backs turned and their fists raised at the start of the ceremony, and left about halfway through to gather at the lobby with various protest signs. “For something that is this important, you need a woman or a man who can speak,” a staffer told The Guardian on the condition of anonymity. “Somebody who can travel, somebody who can champion these rights, somebody who is able to have an opinion, somebody that can be interviewed, somebody that can stand up in front of 192 member states and say this is what we would like you to do.”
Ban has yet to formally comment on the protest, although Carter opined with some heated words on CBS This Morning: “It’s ridiculous. It’s bull because they’re nitpicking on something that has nothing to do with anything. They’re just being silly … get over yourself already.” Ka-pow!