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It’s Wonder Woman Day
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Did you know the creator of Wonder Woman also invented the lie detector? Neither did I until comic curator and screen writer Ian Rakoff explained this to me today.

The creator of Wonder Woman was Harvard alumnus, William Moulton Marston. His lifetime achievements spanned a career as a psychologist, feminist theorist, inventor, and comic-strip writer.

I’ve had to rethink my perception of his iconic comic book character; she was intended as a feminist icon, but is she really?

In a 1943 issue of The American Scholar, Marston said: ‘Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.’

Wonder Woman was born in December 1941, when Marston’s ‘good and beautiful woman’ joined the DC Comics line up in All Star Comics #8, by 1942 she had her own self-titled book.

This six foot Amazonian woman was gifted with superhuman powers by the goddess Aphrodite. She had a great bunch of accessories including her Lasso of Truth, forcing those bound by it to speak the truth, a set of indestructible bracelets, a tiara doubling as weapon and an invisible airplane.

This fantasy character bears more than a passing resemblance to her contemporaries in the Hollywood film studios Merle Oberon, Vivienne Leigh and in particular Hedy Lamarr (see photo), but her demeanour and outfit were worlds away from the characters they played on the silver screen.

I’m not sure if a feminist icon created by a man is truly valid, but Wonder Woman did take her place at the table of the hugely influential super hero stable. I’ve yet to see her referenced in any of the feminist tracts written by women, yet her ubiquity is undeniable. Marston said of his creation;

‘Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world. There isn’t love enough in the male organism to run this planet peacefully. Woman’s body contains twice as many love generating organs and endocrine mechanisms as the male. What woman lacks is the dominance or self assertive power to put over and enforce her love desires. I have given Wonder Woman this dominant force but have kept her loving, tender, maternal and feminine in every other way.’

Nearly 70 years on, Wonder Woman is still very much with us and tomorrow is Wonder Woman Day. The event has some great Wonder Woman art available for auction, including this amazing graphic by Phil Hester.

Funds raised by the auction will go to a charity to help women affected by domestic violence. The feminist tradition lives on, but sadly domestic violence against women does too.

I think it’s time Wonder Woman had a 21st century make over.

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7 Comments to “It’s Wonder Woman Day”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nixdminx eva keogan, jaxb. jaxb said: RT @nixdminx: It's Wonder Woman Day tomorrow – did you know she was invented as a feminist icon (by a man?) [...]

  2. TheMadHouse says:

    Guess what they are remaking wonder woman and as a child of the 70′s I just loved it so so much and so wanted to be her

    • admin says:

      Hey – but you are Wonder Woman! Is it the tv series or film? I can imagine Angelina Jolie would make a good Wonder Woman but I suppose they’ll pick some 20 year old…

  3. She is kind of Man Men, isn’t she? And didn’t thingummy off EastEnders star as Wonder Woman, but the film went straight to video?
    angelsandurchinsblog recently posted..Welcome to the commune

  4. Kelley Nichols says:

    Goofs! Hedy Lamarr IS Wonderwoman! She was an accomplished engineer who designed a submarine tracking device. Her device was eventually used as a key componant of cell phone technology. Unfortunately she did not patent her work and died without recognition or money for her efforts.

    • admin says:

      Well that is something I never new so thanks for enlightening me – yet another amazing woman goes under the radar and changes the world

  5. fireworks5 says:

    I missed the wonderwoman movie..She’s fantastic and powerful!
    fireworks5 recently posted..Paleo Cookies

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