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Wonder Woman: A Symbol of the Feminist Movement Essay

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"William Marston was an unusual man—a psychologist, a soft-porn pulp novelist, more than a bit of a carny, and the (self-declared) inventor of the lie detector. He was also the creator of Wonder Woman, the comic that he used to express two of his greatest passions: feminism and women in bondage."(Berlatsky, 2015)

For over 60 years, Wonder Woman has filled the pages of her magazine with adventures ranging from battling Nazis, to declawing human-like Cheetahs. Her exploits thrilled and inspired many young girls, including Gloria Steinem. Through all of this, she has had to pilot her invisible jet through territories that her male counterparts have never had to. She is constantly pulled in two directions; her stories must be entertaining and non threatening to the male status quo, while simultaneously furthering her as the original symbol of 'Girl Power.' She is praised for being an icon of strength to women everywhere, but chastised for wearing a skimpy costume and tying men up, as if she were no more than a male fantasy. No comic book character has had to endure as much scrutiny as Wonder Woman. That's because Wonder Woman represents an entire gender, at a time of important social flux. Although she was created by a man to influence a male audience, Wonder Woman has evolved into an important symbol of the feminist movement.

An Amazon is born
Shortly after Superman made his appearance in 1939, a noted psychologist by the name of William Moulton Marston wrote an article in Family Circle magazine, praising comic books. According to Les Daniels in Wonder Woman: The Complete History (Chronicle Books, 2000, pp. 22-24), his article caught the eye of M.C. Gains of DC Comics. Gains was so impressed by the article, he hired Marston into a new position at DC Comics. Within a year, at the urging of his wife, Marston set out to create a female superhero. By February 1941, Marston handed in his first script for ‘Suprema: The Wonder Woman.’ (We owe a debt of thanks to whoever dropped the Suprema.) Marston created a unique heroine, based loosely on Greek Mythology. Diana was the Princess of Paradise Island, a mystical place inhabited by Amazons. Her mother, Hippolyte (sometimes referred to as Hippolyta), Queen of the Amazons, wanted a child and petitioned the Goddesses of Olympus to give her one. She was instructed to sculpt a child from clay. When she was done, the...


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... nurturing. All the while balancing family issues and fighting against stereotypes. As her comic book moves ahead, Wonder Woman will continue to tackle issues relating to every woman, and even, every human.

Works Cited:

Berlatsky, Noah. Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948. January 2015. Print.

Daniels, Les. Wonder Woman: The Complete History. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2001.

Edgar, Joanna “Wonder Woman Revisited”: Ms. Warner Communications: (July 1972) 28-29

Jimenez, Phil. Wonder Woman #172. (Second Series) DC Comics: (August 2001)

Kanigher, Robert. Sensation Comics #97. DC Comics: (May-June 1950)

Kanigher, Robert. Wonder Woman #204. DC Comics: (January-February 1973)

Marston, William Moulten. Wonder Woman Archives, Vol. One. New York: DC Comics 1998, 8-16

“The New, Original Wonder Woman” Wonder Woman, ABC: November 7, 1975

O’Neil, Dennis. Wonder Woman #177. DC Comics: (July-August 1968)

Perez, George. Wonder Woman #1 (Second Series) DC Comics: (February 1987)

Thomas, Roy. Wonder Woman #288 DC Comics: (February 1982)

Wolfman, Marv. Crisis On Infinite Earths #12 DC Comics: (December 1986)




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