The Women Who Were Wonder Woman

April 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines is a well-thought and well-crafted examination of the female action heroine in American popular culture, but, at least in the broadcast version, the film completely neglects to mention the women who inspired the Amazonian Princess herself.

William Moulton Marston, creator of Wonder Woman, based based her on a combination of two women.  According to Jodi Picoult (who wrote a Wonder Woman story arc a few years ago):

 [Marston] and his wife Elizabeth lived with another woman, Olive Byrne, in a polyamorous relationship. His Wonder Woman was an amalgamation of the women in his life – free-spirited, unconventional, and strong.

A career woman and psychologist, Elizabeth has been described by her daughter Olive as “a small package of dynamite.”  Among other accomplishments, Olive Byrne had a Master’s degree from Columbia University.  (How many women had one of those in the 1920s?)

Why didn’t these muses make it into the film?  Do the filmmakers find polyamory fundamentally at odds with feminism?  Or is the arrangement simply too distracting from the point the film is trying to make?

Or maybe they just don’t want fans to know that the Superman-Wonder Woman-Lois Lane love triangle is a total non-issue.


Be sure to check out my horror webcomic MetaMorphosis! “War is Hell. Home is worse.”


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