Did you know that Wonder Woman was created as a femenist ideal?
Throughout the Golden Age (1930s and ‘40s) and the Silver Age (1950s and ‘60s) of comic books, the industry had many critics. One critic was Fredric Wertham, a child psychiatrist who believed that comic books were turning American kids into perverted juvenile delinquents.
In true comic book fashion, however, a hero saved the day. Dr. William Moulton Marston was not only an American psychologist, but also a passionate advocate of women’s liberation. And Marston had the complete opposite view to that of Wertham, believing that comics could have a considerably positive affect on kids’ ethical groundings.
To prove his point, Marston created Wonder Woman in an attempt to educate readers about feminist ideals (Marston believed that a period of ‘American matriarchy’ was coming … although he also believed this would, in part, be achieved through the enslavement of men via seduction).
Of course, the comic-book hater Wertham saw the worst in this new character, and despised what he called the “lesbian overtones” of the book. We should also bear in mind that Marston was rather liberal in his personal life; he lived in a house with two women, and had children by both of them. In fact, both his wife Elizabeth and his mistress Olive were huge influences on the creation of Wonder Woman.
Incidentally, Marston was also responsible for inventing one of the early polygraph machines—which is the reason why anyone caught in Wonder Woman’s lasso is compelled to tell the truth.