2015 Geek-A-Long: William Moulton Marston

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“Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for a the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.” – Marston

William Moulton Marston was a real weird dude. I always knew that Marston created the fantastic Wonder Woman and the systolic blood pressure test, which became an integral component of the modern polygraph. But when I did some research to find out more about his life as an inventor, I discovered some colorful things about his personal life.

Marston had a wife and a mistress. That’s not too shocking. We’ve all sang Destiny Child’s “Say My Name” and accidentally watched hours of day time television. Adultery isn’t new. No, the real surprise is that the creator of Wonder Woman fathered children with both of them, and they all secretly lived together in New York. Mrs. Marston fulfilled her ambition to maintain a full time job while Olive Bynre, the mistress, raised the kids. There was even a third woman in their little polygamist family, who came and went as she pleased. She didn’t have children with Marston, but she did wear thick silver bracelets and the two of them were really into bondage.

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While William M. Marston was a hardcore feminist and based many of Wonder Woman’s stories and characteristics on Margaret Sanger, an iconic figure in the reproductive rights movement, there were also BDSM themes in his depictions of WW. His stories were filled with playful domination, spanking, bondage, and cross-dressing. In “Sensation Comics” #35, released in November of 1944, WW even says:

On Paradise Island where we play many binding games, this is considered the safest method of tying a girls arms!

To learn more about William Marston and the story behind Wonder Woman, I highly recommend Jill Leopore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman. The paperback version just came out and it has been my go-to read during my treadmill time at the gym since I picked it up.

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Marston’s colorful personal life aside, he was also a psychologist, lawyer, and an inventor. He graduated from Harvard and taught at American University and Tufts University. His doctoral dissertation was titled, “Systolic blood pressure symptoms of deception and constituent mental states,” and it’s hard not to draw parallels between it and Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth.

To represent William Marston and his contributions to both comics and science, we melded the two. On the square is a polygraph readout with the WW symbol hidden in the lines.

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Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the William M Marston pattern here. Instructions for both knit and crochet are listed in the pattern. When you’re finished making it, don’t forget to tweet or instagram your squares at me @jac_attacking or Megan-Anne @Doctor_Llama with the hashtag #geekalong!

If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here and a tutorial on crochet here. Want to hang out with other people making the blanket? You can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here.

~ Jac
“Kal looks to the future, Batman looks to the past… and I reside in the present, securely bridging the two.” – Diana of Themyscira

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