The Complex

The inner Wonder Woman

The inner Wonder Woman
Image credit: movie poster © 2019 WBEI TM & © DC Comics

Last night, I had a deep dream of stasis and being held. I seemed to accept it, though there was a suggestion of pressing against constraints. I can’t remember any details. It’s a feeling from a fragment.

Yesterday, I read an article about the making of Wonder Woman 1984, and it reminded me of a film I’ve been meaning to see, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Professor William Marston created Wonder Woman, but also, with his wife Elizabeth Marston, an early prototype of the lie detector — or, hilariously, the Lasso of Truth.

One of William Marston’s beliefs was that men’s destructive egos benefited from submission to a powerful, benevolent woman. That power dynamic feels connected to what we are being asked to do during this pandemic. Perhaps my dream comes from feeling unconsciously that I am being asked to submit to a set of rules, a constriction of my freedoms, for good reason, and while the constraints might chaff a little, I’m fundamentally okay with that for now.

I loved Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, who was a staple of my early childhood on TV, along with Man From Atlantis and The Six Million Dollar Man. These were the dramatic personae of my five-year-old Saturday evenings, while my father was still at work, and my mother made dinner. As I submitted to the television, with its potent, dangerous characters, and as I submitted to my mother’s unknowable timetable, juggling the adult tasks of a busy household, so I submit now to the instruction to stay home.

There can be pleasures within constraints. Articles on creative writing are always talking about restricting yourself as a way of freeing up your imagination. But in this case, with all the terrible things happening in the world, it mostly feels like trying to make the best of a bad situation. There are worse ways of coping with confinement than linking it to childhood comforts.