After Wonder Woman’s successful run at the box office, Director Angela Robinson is releasing another movie, “Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman” (set release date of 27 October), a film meant to discuss some of the back story of creator Professor Marston and his family. It promises to be kinky and sexy, and probably will appeal to some in our modern culture. Buuuttttt…. The story is far more interesting than just a mé·nage à trois, it has much more to do with what Wonder Woman was originally meant to be:
Professor Moulton Marston had a storied past, something you can read about here at my favorite podcast, Stuff You Missed in History Class. During his lifetime, 1893-1947, Professor Moulton saw suffragette protests, the invention of birth control, equal rights marches by women, as well as the gender discrimination his own wife endured in her field despite her accomplishments. The Smithsonian summarizes these cultural issues as well as some of the controversial aspects (like the 27% of the time Wonder Woman is chained up in her comics-suggested to symbolize life before birth control) here.
While his foundational inspirations for creating Wonder Woman (his polygamorous relationship and studies of sexual domination and submission) were unconventional, his intentions were mostly well intentioned and opened up many conversations about women, gender archetypes and gender role issues. Professor Marston believed and wrote that women were more honest and reliable than men. He posited that the masculine notion of freedom had strong anarchic and violent tendencies. Feminine freedom was derived from what he called ‘Love Allure,’ the masculine submission to which would create a higher state of societal order.
In the American Scholar, Marston himself wrote “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 and 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.” Linking this to men, he believed that “[having] an alluring woman stronger than themselves to submit to and they’ll be proud to become her willing slaves.”
These comics were pretty risqué back in 1941, in fact they are incredibly risqué today. Art has a way of exploring what society may not be fully ready to recognize. Marston’s vision of feminine power has not been fully realized in the timeline he had guessed (50 years from his lifetime), but things are changing.
We here at the Milieux Project are not advocating for one gender to dominate over another, but only that women and girls should celebrate their strengths and virtues. The feminine power resides in all of us- men and women- and to omit or ignore it damages our psyches and our society.
Wonder Woman was a great vehicle to explore the beauty and strength of all of us. Even if she was a little over the top sometimes…
#bethechange #befierce #Aphrodite #wonderwoman