Saunders here retells the history of Wonder Woman’s creator. From his unusual marriage to his psychological research into sorority lifestyles to his status as a pop culture expert, Marston’s background is essential to an understanding of Wonder Woman as a character. We see the way that Marston’s research played into his creation of the character, and the way he used her to fulfil his desire to see an empowered, dominant, feminist female who could use love and submission to her own ends as a powerful icon, “The fantasy of a beautiful woman saving the world through the power of erotic love was central to Marston’s thinking by 1928-thirteen years before Wonder Woman made her first appearance.” (50)This chapter explores the hopeless entanglement (pun intended) of Wonder Woman with bondage, feminism, domination and submission. I think the introduction exploring the dynamic role of the Amazons in mythology and pop culture is especially interesting, because it really emphasizes the way that there are no simple answers when it comes to Marston; every term is loaded, every decision is significant, and every action is tied to his theories of erotic love. Submission and domination play essential roles in the Marston-lead Wonder Woman comics, and while bondage jokes are prevalent in pop culture they lack the depth of understanding to see that it is just as significant that Wonder Woman breaks free of her bonds as it is that she is tied up time and again, and even more important that she enjoys being tied up and generally allows it to happen consensually.
The Last Amazon: Wonder Woman Returns
It continues to be impossible to discuss Wonder Woman without mostly focusing on Marston. The major takeaway I get from this article is the lack of progress; the final paragraphs call attention to how much work is still left for feminists to do. The article in general surveys the changes to Wonder Woman over time, while also following the ebb and flow of the feminist movement itself. I like Lepore’s observation that, “Superman owes a debt to science fiction, Batman to the hardboiled detective. Wonder Woman’s debt is to feminism” (64) which gets to the heart of Wonder Woman, she was never just for entertainment. She has always been the face of a movement, far more significant than her male counterparts and far more controversial as a result.