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The Secret History of Wonder Woman

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The story behind the Wonder Woman which started as early as in the 1940s was beyond what people nowadays see on a movie. More stand-out than any female superhero, she was the first unique superhero who represents feminism. Wonder Woman was the Marston’s secret. Jill Lepore is the author of the book, who shares William Moulton Marston’s story. Marston is the one who discovered Wonder Woman. He also invented the lie detector for he was curious to learn how people can keep secret and protect it with lies. As a writer, Lepore does an excellent job by writing The Secret History of Wonder Woman. In the book, Wonder Woman’s rope – lasso – symbolizes Marston’s lie detector. It has the capacity to make people speak only the truth, and her superpowers represent woman strength; it shows that not only men, women can also express powers: they were not weak and superior to man as the world sees them as well as showing that there are more abilities from a woman than just doing domestic works. This book shows how Marston created the incredible history behind, making her a symbol for women generally around the world.

Although the book is written mainly aiming at Wonder Woman’s history, it contains a large part talking more about William Marston’s history, life, and family. This is because Wonder Woman’s history would also mean Marston’s history for he created her. They both speak up for feminist. The most shocking fact about his history, however, is that he had an affair and ended up with a family where three people live together. After he have married his high school sweetheart – Holloway Elizabeth Sadie – in 1947, he fell in love with another woman. She is one of his student that was ten years younger than him while he was teaching at Radcliffe college. The reason why Holloway accepted to stay in such a “bitter” family was because she wanted to maintain both her career and her home. This became a possibility of why Wonder Woman’s history remained a mystery: Marston’s children did not learn about the relationship he had with Bryne. This is also ironic because while Marston created a symbol for feminist, he has a polygamous relationship.

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In the Wonder Woman’s historical story, with the assistance from his wives, Marston tried to show their main idea on feminism. Marston believed that people should all live in a matriarchal society – women were no less important than men. He also showed how woman’s power is unstoppable. By including these forms of feminism, the readers can acknowledge that at the time the book was published, women usually obeyed to men and were rarely allowed the to do many jobs that men performed.

​ The book is written to solve the mysterious story behind Wonder Woman that’s not popular among people. This is significant because it was primarily part of the woman suffrage movements for their rights. Wonder woman was created to represent all women in the world. Starting early in the 1940s, it was well supported by both women and men, mostly because it promoted them financially like the DC. However, if the book was written during the roaring twenties, the book would not have been so received because at this point of time, people only focused on different forms of entertainments and newly-developed technologies. Not so many people would really care about women’s rights as they do after 1940.

Jill Lepore also mentioned some of the people that inspired Marston in the creation of Wonder Woman and the invention of the lie detector. George Herbert Palmer was one of them. His appearance in the book is significantly interesting. Before everything was even started, Marston was a suicidal kid from a very young age and often had negative thoughts about killing himself once his frustration reached its tension. During his freshman year in college, the strong feeling of wanting to kill himself returned as a result of the frustration he got from his classes. He “decided that the time had come to die” (Lepore 5) because he hates all of his classes (except for one). He prepared himself to drink a vial of hydrocyanic acid, which is extremely dangerous and can kill him in less than a minute. Like a magic, after realizing one class that never gave him any problem, Ancient Philosophy – taught by George Palmer, a sixty-nine years old man, Marston stopped his suicidal action. Although Palmer is not a main character of Lepore’s book, his appearance was the reason that helped leading to the existence of Wonder Women. If there was no Palmer, perhaps there was no Marston, no lie detector, thus no Wonder Woman. Perhaps we will not be able to read such a meaningful symbol of this female superhero. His existence saved Marston’s life.

Everyone have to understand that the story behind Wonder Woman is far more beyond the entertaining purpose that the audience can easily see on the movie screen nowadays. It is not only simply about women’s superpower that is equal to men’s, but the book is written for us to see the realistic meaning of feminism. Women should not be believed to carry the position of housewives at all cost, although their natural role from long ago has been taking care of their family and does all the domestic works. The book strongly spreads the idea of woman suffrage movement and how they were always fighting for their rights. All men and women are created equally. Their power must not be judged as dominant or recessive no matter what happens.     


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