Wonder Woman Creator Was A Feminist
To understand the past of Wonder Woman, you need to understand her creator. William Marston, a Harvard Ph.D. psychologist, created Wonder Woman in December 1941, when she made her debut in All-Star Comics Issue No. 8. Marston believed strongly in feminism, even female supremacy, and this ideology, influenced heavily by the woman's suffrage movement, was evident when she was created, and still is evident today.
Marston led a polyamorous life with his wife Elizabeth and his lover Olive Byrne. He lived with, loved, and had children with both women, raising them all in the same household. Wonder Woman was said to be combination of Elizabeth's intelligence and strength of character, and Olive's appearance, to include incorporating the matching bracelets that Olive always wore. He even borrowed from Elizabeth's aunt, famed suffrage leader and birth control advocate, Margaret Sanger.
The "breaking free" ideology and symbolism was evident throughout the comic. Marston made a point for her to be bound in some way in nearly every issue. And even today this symbolism is still evident.
But Marston believed Wonder Woman represented more than women 'breaking-free.' There are endless examples of sexual symbolism in her panel art and cover art, often times brutally phallic. But it was more meaningful to him than just sexual innuendo. As a noted psychologist, in 1928 he published his book Emotions Of Normal People, in which he stated that all people exhibit four base categories of emotions. These traits were Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance. This became known as the DISC assessment. Nearly every one of his Wonder Woman plot lines exhibited one or more of these traits. Below are some examples of the bondage present throughout Wonder Woman's history:
Marston believed that bondage was a teaching tool. In relationships, bondage was a healthy endeavor, as long as it was consensual. Consensual bondage was often part of Wonder Woman's story line, and likewise, forced bondage was something that she always fought against, whether it was forced on herself or others.
Wonder Woman Creator Was Polyamorous
This, again, was pulled directly from his personal life, as Marston, Olive, and Elizabeth often performed bondage with each other, as well as others in secret sex parties. Much of this behavior is documented in Jill Lepore's 2015 book The Secret History Of Wonder Woman. In a 2014 interview with NPR Lepore stated:
There are a lot of people who get very upset at what Marston was doing ... 'Is this a feminist project that's supposed to help girls decide to go to college and have careers, or is this just like soft porn?
Wonder Woman After Marston
After Marston's death from skin cancer in 1947, writer's drifted away from Marston's vision. She became domesticated, often seen as a model, a baby sitter, and even the Justice League's secretary, unable to join the men on their missions.
In recent years, however, she has regained her independence and strength, no longer the love struck woman seen almost as a sidekick to Superman. In 2013 Rainfall films released a short fan film titled Wonder Woman, starring Rileah Vanderbilt, in which we got to see hints of her strength and independence.
This dark, mysterious, and powerful portrayal of a warrior god seems to have carried over into Gal Gadot's portrayal of Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. In this latest screen version of her, Wonder Woman not only came to the rescue of Superman and Batman, she seemed to be enjoying the battle with Doomsday, almost toying with him.
The stand alone Wonder Woman movie is set to be released in June 2017. While we don't know many plot points, Director Patty Jenkins is sure to follow the wildly popular characterization that Gal Gadot brought in BvS.