Wonder Woman party plate.
It says here that the United Nations have given Wonder Woman a prominent role as UN girls’ empowerment ambassador and she is to be honoured at her 75th birthday party, attended by Ban Ki-moon, the current UN General Secretary and ‘surprise guests’.
Like Superman who arrived as a boy to save we earthlings in January 1933? His age is a matter of conjecture but my mathematically challenged guess is that he’s about 95.
However, it is implicit that because she comes from Amazonia, a land of women only, that she prefers the comfort of women. A cursory search offers very few potential consorts, such as Jesse Chambers (née Jesse Quick, daughter of Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle, now 94). I don’t think anyone in their right imagination would invite Cassandra Cain who is illiterate, has very limited social skills, and is the world’s greatest assassin.
So how about Batgirl?
Nope! Since when was taking selfies a symbol of empowerment?
Are there no real women who could be honoured?
Of course there are!
For a start there are Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Grayzel, two documentary film makers in the US facing up to 40 years in jail for filming oil pipeline protests.
There are countless women around the world who’ve established projects to benefit their local communities: micro-credit, out-of-school activities, environmental issues, education …
This is a photo of Crazy Shoes (c.1979), a Saturday and school holiday project at the Howgill Centre in Whitehaven, West Cumbria. Its co-ordinator was Christine Morrison, seen in the centre of this happy group.
Thanks to Christine’s creativity and support, in November 1979 I became the first paid co-ordinator of Oasis Children’s Venture in south London. It had been founded as a registered charity in 1973, but when I arrived it was a purely volunteer organisation. Much of its internal dynamism came from Eve Elgar and Queenie Moncrieff at different ends of the age spectrum. I am both pleased and proud that I managed to establish solid foundations which sees it flourishing today, and that it is still managed by the local community..
Selecting a fictional character to promote women’s empowerment is pure tokenism, and demeans the contribution of countless women worldwide who have devoted immense energy and time to the betterment of their communities without seeking reward. Jakartass salutes them, whoever and wherever they are.
One final thought: if the UN needs a prominent public figure to represent the cause, how about Michelle Obama? Her recent speech denouncing the serial misogynist Trump will echo down the years.