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Suffering Sappho! Wonder Woman, Bondage, and Marston’s Matriarchy

“Wonder Woman satisfies the subconscious, elaborately disguised desire of males to be mastered by a woman who loves them.” – William Marston

wonder-woman-3

I would say Wonder Woman is the most recognizable female superhero, and is probably one of the most recognizable superheroes, male or female, period.  Sure, people are becoming more familiar with Black Widow thanks to Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of the character in the recent Marvel movies, but take the average person on the street, show him or her a picture of Wonder Woman and you’ll more than likely get an immediate response.  Simply put, everyone recognizes Wonder Woman even if the vast majority of people haven’t actually read any of her comics.

Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, was the creation of William Moulton Marston, a psychologist, lawyer, and early feminist.  Actually, feminist may not be a strong enough term for Marston; he firmly believed that eventually women would run the world and that would be an ideal situation.  Or, to put it in his words:

“When women rule, there won’t be any more [war] because the girls won’t want to waste time killing men…I regard that as the greatest – no, even more – as the only hope for permanent peace.”

man_obey_web

Marston, it would seem, was an early proponent of FLR (Female-led relationships), even if the term didn’t exist when he was proposing it.

I’m not sure giving either gender complete run of the madhouse (or relationships) is a great idea.  We’ve tried it with men to mixed results, and I suspect we’d see the same mixed results with women.  Women, after all, are human and, as such, some would be great rulers and others not so much.  My personal belief is it’s probably best if men and women work together in both relationships and governance, but that’s kind of up to the people in the relationship or being governed.

There was also a great deal of bondage in those early Wonder Woman comics.  Wonder Woman herself spent a lot of time tied up and did no small amount of tying herself.  Now, granted, tying up the bad guy is kind of expected.  You don’t want them to get away, right?  However, ties like this one are not exactly the way you normally restrain the bad guy (or girl) until the cops arrive.

bindinggames

I suspect she’ll finish that with a full hog-tie.

So, this is the subtext underlying all of the early Wonder Woman comics: lots of bondage and prototypes for matriarchy and femdom.  The last set I read was part of DC’s New 52 from a few years ago.  It was a good story, but most of that early subtext is completely gone.

So, next time you see a picture like this just remember it’s not too far from the character’s origins, although it’s just as likely that she’d be tying someone else up.

Wonder Woman Tied

References: Comic Book Resources, Wonder Woman’s Dirty Secrets,  there are a whole whack of others out there, too.  Google ’em

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This entry was posted on June 6, 2014 by in Random thoughts and tagged , , , , , .

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