bondage

It may come as a surprise to many that when Wonder Woman joined the Justice Society of America, a precursor to the Justice League, it was as its secretary.

That’s just one of many shocking truths about Wonder Woman, who has come under more study and scrutiny recently as Hollywood prepares for her big screen debut in “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Several scholarly works have sprung up from renewed interest in Wonder Woman, including ones that deal with her surprising past and her bizarre creator. The average Wonder Woman fan is often shocked to find out the superhero was not always the feminist icon she is viewed as in wonderwoman2modern times.

While she had all the trappings of a feminist icon, the Wonder Woman originally created by William Moulton Marston and artist H.G. Peter in the 1940s was known to be portrayed in a vastly different manner.

In several of her early storylines, Wonder Woman was often characterized as ditzy, going so far as to escape from a sticky situation blindfolded because the tape over her eyes would take her eyelashes with it if removed.

Again, when she joined the Justice Society of America, it was as a secretary of all things.

As the icing on the cake, her powers were rendered useless if her bracelets were tied by a man, an absurd weakness that persisted as late as the 1970s. Most of her nemeses were women, which afforded her an opportunity to appear powerful without upsetting the apple cart.

She also had an affinity for dominating men, and in fact she was at times almost an anti-feminist caricature: her silver bracelets were not just a trendy fashion accessory, but the only thing preventing her from letting loose her full power in a “berserker-like rage.” She’d use her powers to beat up men, and force them to do her bidding after tying them up with her Lasso of Truth.

Her skimpy outfit raised eyebrows from the very beginning; DC Comics editor Dorothy Roubicek even wrote a memo proposing that the costume be altered to resemble a Greek tunic.

More recently, modern researchers have not shied away from addressing the anti-feminist aspects of her character.WonderWoman1

Dr. Keira Williams, assistant professor at Texas Tech University working on a book project about matriarchies in pop culture, told The College Fix that her project was originally inspired by research about the unusual matriarchal ideas of the superheroine’s creator, the Harvard-educated William Moulton Marston.

“Marston predicted a future matriarchy, a ‘race of Amazons,’ which he explained using his now-discredited psychological theories (he had a Ph.D. in psychology),” Williams said. “The Wonder Woman comic was his feminist Trojan horse, so to speak, to disseminate his theories widely and to reach a younger, nonacademic audience.”

Most of the questionable aspects of Wonder Woman’s origins have been gradually eliminated to make the character more the feminist icon she is today. The character’s evolution can be seen as an indication of what feminism was many decades ago, and how women are viewed differently at different times.

Dr. Jill Lepore, an American History professor at Harvard University, published a book about Wonder Woman and Marston in October titled “The Secret History of Wonder Woman.” Lepore’s work investigates the origin of Wonder Woman’s character, as well as addressing Marston’s biography and what led him to create such a unique character.

According to Lepore, Marston was a Renaissance Man of sorts who was a scientist, lawyer, inventor, filmmaker, novelist and therapist as well as a comic-book writer. He believed that women had exaggerated their submissive instinct, and that bondage was the key to remedying this imbalance.

“The fact that a polyamory enthusiast created [Wonder Woman] partly as a tribute to the reproductive-rights pioneer Margaret Sanger is, somehow, only the fourth or fifth most interesting thing in Ms. Woman’s bizarre background,” wrote New York Magazine in a review of Lepore’s book.

Texas Tech’s Williams said that as she started to analyze the fictional matriarchy in the Wonder Woman comics, she realized that it was depicted quite differently in the 40s when the character was first introduced than today.

She emphasizes that her work is not about feminism, however, even going so far as to describe depictions of her book as being about feminism as misrepresentations.

“Feminism is a sort of theoretical backdrop of the entire manuscript, but this project is more a work of feminist history, because that is the theoretical lens through which I read documents from the past, than it is a work about feminism per se,” she said.

Several of the matriarchies Williams is working on are deliberately anti-feminist, such as the “African matriarchy” at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the criticism of careerist “superwomen” in the 1980s.

While research about Marston originally turned Dr. Williams onto her path of research, Wonder Woman herself is just one small part of the investigation of about a century of American pop culture, she said.

“Wonder Woman’s role as a feminist icon will enter my book in terms of the broader role of feminism in matriarchal theory,” Dr. Williams continues. “Early Wonder Woman came from an all-female, matriarchal society that dominated men, and in fact, domination was a key part of Marston’s pseudo-psychological ideas about matriarchy.”

“As my students in my current Wonder Woman course like to debate, female domination of men is not a part of our current definition of feminism, and in fact, it is a key part of negative (and false) definitions of feminism over time,” she added. “So this explicit, even encouraged, domination of men is a major difference between Marston’s matriarchy and some of the other feminist-produced matriarchies I examine in my research.”

College Fix contributor Genevieve McCarthy is a student at Thomas Aquinas College.

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IMAGES: DC Comics

The Tennessean reports:

Tennessee lawmakers approved another condemnation of Sex Week at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, but even this latest measure may not be the final word on the controversy.

The state Senate passed a resolution 23-6 Thursday morning that criticizes the university for allowing the six-day series of lectures, games and other events meant to promote discussion about sexuality. The resolution also lays out new rules for distributing student activity fees, a portion of which was used to fund the event…

The new rules under consideration could allow students to withhold their mandatory activity fees from funding controversial events.

Legal Insurrection reports some of the details from last year’s Sex Week at UT:

One of the items that the student reporter failed to note was that akey host of the event is porn actress Tristan Taormino. The starlet will hold a Q+A session, a class titled “Get Wet: Exploring the Connections Between Sexual Pleasure, Health, & Advocacy” and another called “We Can’t Stop: Orgasms and Masturbation”. Her body of work includes “Tristan Taormino’s Guide to Bondage for Couples.

As you can see, UT’s Sex Week goes well beyond “promoting discussion about sexuality,” as the Tennessean would have you believe.

Sounds more like they are promoting a very specific sexual agenda–one put forward by the corporate, for-profit sex industry.

(Image: Micio_.Flickr1)

An event held at the University of Michigan on Wednesday night taught students how to be kinky and engage in Bondage, Dominance, Sadism and Masochism.

“Thinking of getting acquainted with kink, or curious about BDSM?” states a description of the event on the university’s website. “Start here to learn about safety, communication, and other tips. Participants will learn about basic BDSM concepts and how to safely and respectfully navigate new experiences.”

The event, titled “Kink For Beginners,” is part of the public university’s “Sexpertise” three-day observance, which aims to teach students about sexual health, organizers say.

Fifty-eight students signed up for the BDSM workshop, according to the university’s website.

In addition to the kink workshop, Sexpertise events held Wednesday night also included “Finding Pleasure” and “Sexy Supplies!”

The supplies workshop was led by the owner of a local adult-pleasure shop called Ann Arbor’s S3 Safe Sex Store and was described online as a way for students to explore their pleasure and sexual health and learn how to use sex toys.

Click here to read the university’s full list of Sexpertise events, which also included educational lectures and discussions about the LGBTQ community.

All events were free, open to the public, and led by “researchers, inspiring community members and talented U-M peer educators,” the University of Michigan’s website states.

IMAGE: Micio/Flickr

Three new books published by academic presses use lofty intellectual theories to describe strange deviant sex (kink, bondage, and erotic masochism) as if it were the most normal thing in the world. Camile Paglia has reviewed the books for The Chronicle for Higher Education. It’s not pretty:

Gender-theory groupthink leads to bizarre formulations such as this, from Weiss’s introduction: “SM performances are deeply tied to capitalist cultural formations.” The preposterousness of that would have been obvious had Weiss ever dipped into the voluminous works of the Marquis de Sade, one of the most original and important writers of the past three centuries and a pivotal influence on Nietzsche. But incredibly, none of the three authors under review seem to have read a page of Sade. It is scandalous that the slick, game-playing Foucault (whose attempt to rival Nietzsche was an abysmal failure) has completely supplanted Sade, a mammoth cultural presence in the 1960s via Grove Press paperbacks that reprinted Simone de Beauvoir’s seminal essay, “Must We Burn Sade?”

Weiss is so busy with superfluous citations that she ignores what her interviewees actually tell her when it doesn’t fit her a priori system. Thus any references to religion or spirituality are passed by without comment. She also refuses to consider or inquire about any psychological aspect to her subjects’ sexual proclivities, no matter how much pain is inflicted or suffered. She declares that she rejects the “etiological approach”: Any search for “the causation of or motivation for BDSM desires” would mean that “marginalized sexualities” must be “explained and diagnosed as individual deviations.” To avoid any ripple in the smooth surface of liberal tolerance, therefore, flogging, cutting, branding, and the rest of the menu of consensual torture must be assumed to be meaning-free—no different than taking your coffee with cream or without. (These books approvingly quote BDSM players comparing what they do to extreme but blatantly nonsexual sports like rock climbing and sky diving.) Weiss’s neutrality here would be more palatable if she were indeed merely recording or chronicling, but her own biases are palpably invested in her avoidance of religion and her moralistic stands on economics.

Read the full review here.

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Via Campus Reform:

Harvard University granted a controversial BDSM sex-club official school recognition on Wednesday, Campus Reform has confirmed.

The student club, Harvard College Munch, is a group of roughly 20 members that meets weekly to explicitly discuss matters related to BDSM and other forms of kinky sex.

School recognition will allow the club to apply for university funding and promote their group on school property, reports Harvard’s student newspaper, The Crimson

In an article published earlier this year, students in the group spoke freely about fantasies of rape, forced feeding, and impersonating animals during sex…

Read the full story here.

If you ask us, it sounds like Harvard is behind the curve here. After all, this kind of stuff has been going on at Yale for years.

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