Diana Prince, long time agent of the United States government, has been released from her position as an honorary ambassador to the United Nations. In October of this year, the UN announced that Diana would be the figurehead for a new “feminist” campaign referred to as UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 5.
The objective of goal no. 5 is to attain “gender equality and empower all women and girls by the year 2030” (CNN). Such a large global initiative would, obviously, take a tremendous amount of effort, time, and the sensational charisma of an icon such as Diana Prince who, just this year, is anticipating the debut of her biographical film, Wonder Woman.
Yes, in recent years, it’s been no secret that Ms. Prince, in an effort to further the labors of women, has revealed to the public that she is the pant-less paragon of justice sent to us from the land of Themyscira. An Amazonian by birth, Diana quickly assimilated to the ways of American life and her often controversial costume is a reflection of her American values. Any more American and she’d be saving the day dressed as apple pie.
So why has this woman who has devoted her life to the service of others been removed from such a significant place of honor?
Diana’s signature costume which includes a strapless bathing suit, thigh high boots, and protective accessories was perceived by many at the UN as, “Not culturally encompassing or sensitive.” Because the last thing the UN wants to be seen doing is regulating what women wear or how they should look by parading around such a scantily clad woman as a sign of empowerment. The simple lesson here is that choosing your own clothing – no matter what it looks like – is in itself an oppressive act.
Women at large are not the sum of their clothing…
There was also the issue of Diana’s race and her build. Many at the UN could not imagine how a white woman with large breasts and a smaller than average waist could accurately depict all the various women of the world striving for equality. Let’s just completely ignore the fact that that’s exactly what Diana has been doing since her birth in 1941. As a woman of color, I thoroughly understand the position of UN leaders to find a more widely appealing character to spearhead gender equality, but if that was the concern since the beginning, why tap Ms. Prince at all?
The cynics of the world believe this was purely a publicity stunt to boost viewership of the Wonder Woman film. Others have argued that Diana’s presence was simply intended to be a lightning rod to goal no. 5 and her association with it was always intended to be short-lived. After all, what better way to boost the women’s movement than to shamelessly use a women just for attention and to then shove her back into the closet when all was said and done?
MissMuslim reached out to UN-Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for comment and we have not heard back.
The fact of the matter is that goal no. 5 is incredibly lofty at best. The United Nations seeks to achieve equality AND empower women and girls on a global scale. Yet, the UN also turns its back on atrocities currently affecting women and girls such as the illegal occupation of Palestine, the utter destruction of Syria, the kidnapping and selling of young women in Nigeria, and a litany of other issues that were not going to become any more or less evident by the employ of Diana Prince and her brand of girl power.
Diana is not the sum of her clothing, she is not the size of her breasts, she is not the weight of her entire body, and she is not the color of her skin. Women, at large, are not the sum of their clothing, they are not the size of their breasts, they are not their presence or lack of a vagina, they are not numbers on scales, and they are not only the colors of their skin.
Obviously, Diana will not be everything to everyone, but for 75 years she has been a symbol for justice, peace, and equality. Whether she’s dressed as Wonder Woman or spending a day at the office in her pencil skirt and blazer, she has been doing the job of giving women and girls something – anything – to look to in a world where we can often go unseen. If the object is to be pro-women then be pro for ALL women, even the ones who don’t dress in a way in which we all agree.
I can only hope that Ms. Prince does not forsake us in our time of need in the same way the UN has forsaken her.