Embrace Your Inner Amazon With Jill Lepore’s “The Secret History of Wonder Woman”

Embrace Your Inner Amazon With Jill Lepore’s “The Secret History of Wonder Woman”

Jill Lepore’s non-fiction novel The Secret History of Wonder Woman explores the inspiration for the famous DC Comics character.

Wonder Woman, alias Princess Diana of Themiscrya/Diana Prince, was created by William Moulton Marston. Thanks to never-before-seen private papers, Lepore takes us on an incredible journey that explores how Marston was influenced by the early suffragettes and Feminist movement. Figures such as Emmeline Pankhurst, who was banned from speaking on college campuses in 1911, Olive Byrne, who was the niece of influential 20th-Century Feminist Margaret Sanger, and finally, Marston’s own unconventional wife Sadie Elizabeth Holloway all contributed bits and pieces of their thoughts and personality into the figure that would become the butt-kicking warrior princess Diana.

Lepore argues that Marston’s bohemian ideals and highly unconventional lifestyle helped shape the beloved superheroine that we all know and love today. She also points out that Wonder Woman’s creation in the DC Universe is the bridge between the early suffragettes and the organized Feminist movement, which, even a century later, is still looked down upon in our society. Aside from looking at how the Feminist ideals helped birth everyone’s favorite Amazonian princess, Lepore also writes about how some of her villains, such as Dr. Psycho, were based on Marston’s rivals who ridiculed the Feminist movement.

Whether you’re interested in comic books or Feminist history, Lepore’s novel is a fascinating exploration of the curious link between comics and society.



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