Friday, December 16, 2016

United Nations Fire Wonder Woman

Here's a chain of stupidity:

It starts with the United Nations voting on a new Secretary General and electing António Guterres of Portugal to the position. This enraged some people of the "what about us" crowd, of course. You see, it had been noted that the U.N. had never - in the nine times the role had been appointed previously - chosen either a woman or an Eastern European.

Indeed, here are the past Secretaries-General:

Gladwyn Jebb, U.K. (Western Europe), 1945-1946.
Trygve Lie, Norway (Scandinavia), 1946-1952.
Dag Hammarskjöld, Sweden (Scandinavia), 1953-1961.
U Thant, Burma (Asia-Pacific), 1961-1971.
Kurt Waldheim, Austria (Western Europe), 1972-1981.
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Peru (South America), 1982-1991.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egypt (Africa), 1992-1996.
Kofi Annan, Ghana (Africa), 1997-2006.
Ban Ki-moon, South Korea (Asia-Pacific), 2007-2016.

So, uh, if we're going by "everyone should have a turn", it's missing members of the LGBT community, the Caribbean, and a North American. Also, of nations with Independence Movements in their midst: Canada (Québec), Spain (Catalonia), Russia (Chechnya), or even Czechoslovakia (Slovakia) pre-Annan.

Now, of that list, Jebb can be taken off because his term was merely the inception of the brand, he was there until someone else was officially appointed, which means no one from the G-7, G-8 or G-20 had ever held the position before Ban Ki-moon, and even then, when he took the position, the G-20 did not actually exist - the G8 stood as the world's economic summit until 2009, when it was deemed smarter to include emerging countries to the list.

Just to recap, the G-20 encompasses: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and the European Union, which was founded/conceptualized in 1993 but only got its traction and recognition when it was decided in 1999 that it would have its own currency, the Euro, effective in 2002.

So, in summation: there was outrage that out of eight (8) elected appointees in history, two groups out of possibly five or more had never held the position. One said group represents half the population of the planet, while the other one has had a pretty harsh 20th century and likely deserves a shot of optimism.

But not thinking it through, the U.N. bowed to a relatively low amount of pressure and instituted, for their 2016 selection, public nominations. Five candidates emerged: two men from Eastern Europe (Vuk Jeremić from Serbia and Miroslav Lajčák from Slovakia, who ran on the "zero tolerance policy on sexual violence and abuse by peacekeepers against civilian populations is a must; such violations must be fully investigated and perpetrators brought to justice" platform) and two women (Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, and Helen Clark of New Zealand), in addition to Guterres.

And though technically, Bulgaria is in Eastern Europe, the Southeastern part is often seen as having had less suffering than, say, Serbia or Poland. Of course, the four "minority" options split the vote and Guterres won.

Guterres, by the way, is highly qualified. He was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees between 2005 and 2015, Prime Minister of his country (which doesn't have a poor Human Rights record of late) from 1995 to 2002 and President of Socialist-International from 1999 until 2005; we're talking about a guy who has always been about equality, rights, and protecting the little guy.

Again, of course, there was outrage. Limited, Twitter-storm-type outrage, but still, some angry voices were heard, and the U.N. created a new position, that of "honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls". Instead of appointing one of Clark or Bokova, or German chancellor Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Françoise David, Madonna, Kathie Sarachild, Shamima Shaikh, Annie Sprinkle, Oprah Winfrey, Geena Davis, Naomi Wolf or even the actresses who famously played the part - Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot - the U.N. chose to name the character Wonder Woman to the position.

It wasn't wrong per se: famous feminist publisher Gloria Steinem had put the character on the front page of Ms. magazine in 1971. "She" is a powerful, strong-willed character who would never back down from a fight or a challenge, yet she is also a diplomat who would rather negotiate than wield her power, a lover of peace who strives to never escalate a conflict because she wants to give her opponents a chance; if a conflict does arise, she will prevail - with the utmost authority. You know, like the fucking U.N. is supposed to.

But hey, an online petition was started by a bunch of fucking idiots and the idea was canned, because she "dresses too sexily", among other reasons. That's right: the U.N.'s "honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls" - a fictitious character - was fired because of how she chooses to dress. I'm guessing it's suits like this one that led to one person being shocked enough to start the petition:
Which conveniently forgets that she has also been drawn as follows by Jim Lee, the guy who made all five of these drawings:
Wonder Woman is an Amazon Princess, a warrior, and a diplomat; she's Pocahontas, Mulan and Angela Merkel all rolled into one, when most other characters in her medium are one-dimensional.

Some people - particularly on the left side of the political spectrum, the one I identify with the most - just don't know how to pick their fights. That's why we can't have nice things, because everything has to be so fucking watered-down that it doesn't mean anything anymore, making sure no one gets offended by any of it (which is impossible for anything of substance), and no victory but the ultimate one (well, the translucent and aseptic victory devoid of taste, anyway) is ever good enough. The same short-sighted fuckers who want to fight for everyone's equal rights one minority at a time instead of the more efficient FOR ALL at once.

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