Today, the United Nations makes history by naming Wonder Woman its first Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, launching a new program for global gender advocacy.
At 12pm today (which is also Wonder Woman's 75th anniversary), UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will present the honor to the fictional character, along with DC President Diane Nelson, original Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter, reigning Amazon princess (and star of 2017's Wonder Woman film) Gal Gadot and the movie's director, Patty Jenkins. You can watch the livestream here at noon, followed by Facebook Q&As with Jenkins, Gadot and Carter.
This is a controversial, bold choice for a controversial and bold character. Regardless of the politics behind this designation, the UN today has cemented Wonder Woman's legacy as a cultural paragon and lifted a female superhero out of the margins and further into the mainstream, proving that a proud and powerful woman can be the rule, not the exception.
Several UN members, activists and critics have decried the designation, arguing that the UN ambassador role should have been awarded to an actual woman, especially after seven women were cut out of the running to be the upcoming Secretary General. That designations of merit at the UN should be awarded to women is undeniable. Hopefully the dialogue raised by this issue will lead to broader parity and visibility in the organizing body.
But in terms of broader cultural resonance, we should rejoice this moment. Wonder Woman isn't just a hollow symbol of faux-empowerment reserved for girls' lunch boxes, but a fully-formed avatar of power and possibility that followers of all genders can call on for strength, grace and compassion. In a time when every public advancement for women is met with hideous backlash, we should be entitled to a muscular, unintimidated female powerhouse whose mind and body are her own. We are living in an era when stories of complex women are on the rise—in some mediums more than others—but how often can we celebrate one with a 75 year history? Especially when she has a fabulous costume and values worth fighting for?
You can watch the livestream of the ceremony here at noon, followed by Facebook live conversations with the Wonder Women at 1pm. Wonder Woman hits theaters in June—by which time we'll have another unapologetic female icon calling the shots in the White House.