(Recasts headline, lead, story)
By Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Wonder Woman’s battle for equality for women and girls at the United Nations has come to a untimely end.
The scantily clad, curvaceous comic book superhero has had her appointment as a United Nations honorary ambassador cut in less than two months following protests.
A United Nations spokesman said the character’s role at the 193-member state organization would end on Friday despite plans for Wonder Woman to be used in an empowerment campaign for women and girls into 2017.
The move came after the Oct. 21 appointment of the superhero to fight for gender equality sparked heavy criticism, with nearly 45,000 people signing an online petition asking U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reconsider selection of the character.
“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,” the petition read.
Wonder Woman, a DC Comics Inc. heroine, first appeared in 1941, fighting villains, rescuing victims and unearthing evil plots.
Dozens of U.N. employees protested at the U.N. headquarters in New York City on the day of the appointment when Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, said the Wonder Woman campaign would feature various initiatives “over the course of the next year.”
The U.N. did not provide further details as to why the Wonder Woman campaign was ending this week but spokesman Jeffrey Brez said campaigns using fictional characters often lasted no longer than a few months.
He said “Angry Birds,” a collection of animated characters that originated in an online video game, were used as climate envoys in March for a single day.
DC Entertainment, which publishes DC Comics, said it was pleased with the exposure Wonder Woman brought to the U.N.’s global goals to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls by 2030.
“Wonder Woman stands for peace, justice and equality, and for 75 years she has been a motivating force for many and will continue to be long after the conclusion of her UN Honorary Ambassadorship,” said Courtney Simmons, from DC Entertainment,
DC Entertainment is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. that is a division of Time Warner.
Simmons said the release next year of a special-edition Wonder Woman comic book on the empowerment of women and girls, announced in October, is still planned.
A full-length Wonder Woman movie, unaffiliated with the U.N. campaign, starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot is scheduled for release by Warner Bros. in June next year. (Reporting by Sebastien Malo, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)