"Great Hera!" A Glossary of Terms for Lasso of Truth (Web Exclusive)
All-Star Comics #8: Wonder Woman’s first appearance in print, published in December 1941. Although it was just a brief back-up story, this issue featured the arrival of Major Steve Trevor on Paradise Island and the tournament that allowed Amazonian Princess Diana to become Wonder Woman.
Amazons of Paradise Island: in Greek mythology, an ancient race of female warriors brought to life by the goddess Aphrodite. Aphrodite gave the Amazon Queen Hippolyta a magic girdle for protection and the women built a walled city as a female sanctuary. After Hercules seduced Hippolyta, he stole the girdle and forced the Amazons into enslavement. With strength sent from Aphrodite, Hippolyta rallied the Amazons and took back the girdle. The women sailed to a small, uncharted island where they created a utopia for themselves and Aphrodite decreed that the Amazons would be immortal as long as no man came to the island.
Aphrodite: the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality.
Athena: the Greek goddess of wisdom, justice, war, and the arts.
Bathsheba: according to Hebrew scripture, the wife of King David. She was first married to Uriah, but was so desirable that after David saw her taking a bath, he had her husband killed by the enemy during battle. She gave birth to Solomon, who would succeed David as king.
Betty Grable: an American film star who was celebrated for having the most beautiful legs in Hollywood. She was most famous during the 1940s, called “the darling of the forties.”
Bracelets of Submission: magic silver bracelets worn by the Amazons of Paradise Island as a reminder of their one-time enslavement by Hercules. After Aphrodite freed them from Hercules, she commanded that the Amazons always wear these metal bracelets to remind them never again to submit to a man. If a man ever bound an Amazon’s bracelets, she would lose her powers, or become insane if the bracelets were ever removed. However, these bracelets could also be used in defense, to deflect harm from any weapon, including bullets.
The Chalice and the Blade: a book by feminist author Riane Eisler that reexamines our origins by focusing on the role of the feminine. Eisler argues that warfare between the sexes has not always been, and need not always be, at the foundation of our culture.
DISC system of classifying personality: a theory developed by psychologist, and Wonder Woman creator, William Moulton Marston. This theory focuses on four personality traits: dominance, influence, submission, and compliance. According to this system of classification, personality types are determined by whether a person views their environment as antagonistic or favorable, and whether they are passive or active in their environment. The DISC assessment model is still used to classify people today, often by employers screening possible employees.
Diving into the Wreck: a poem by feminist writer Adrienne Rich, in which the narrator dives deep into the ocean to explore a wreck. In many interpretations of the poem, it is a wreck of obsolete, patriarchal myths, particularly those splitting men and women into irreconcilable factions. The explorer must examine the wreck, the core of the old ways of thinking, in order to understand the myths of gender and sexuality that shape our lives today.
Equal Rights Amendment: an amendment to the U.S. Constitution designed to guarantee equal rights for women, first introduced to Congress in 1924. Although the ERA was introduced in every Congressional session between 1923 and 1970, it was never passed by both houses. The ERA passed through both houses of Congress in 1972, but was not ratified in the requisite time period.
Family Circle Magazine: an American women’s magazine first published in 1932. In 1940, William Moulton Marston’s former student Olive Byrne (under the pseudonym Olive Richard) interviewed Marston for an article entitled “Don’t Laugh at the Comics,” in which Marston discussed the educational potential of comic books.
Gloria Steinem: (b. March 25, 1934) an American feminist, activist, and journalist who gained national recognition as a spokeswoman and leader of the second wave feminist movement in the late 1960s and 70s.
Helen of Troy: in Greek mythology, the most beautiful woman in the world. She was the daughter of Zeus and Leda and was married to Menelaus of Sparta. She was seduced (or abducted) by Paris of Troy, who brought her home to be with him, thus beginning the Trojan War.
Hephaestus: the Greek god of blacksmiths, craftsmen, metalwork, fire, and volcanoes. He made all the weapons for the gods on Mount Olympus.
Hera: Zeus’s wife and queen of the Greek gods.
Hippolyta: an Amazonian queen who wore a magic girdle from the gods. In Greek mythology, she figures prominently into the myths of both Theseus and Hercules. In the Wonder Woman origin story, she is Princess Diana’s mother.
Holliday College for Women: an all-female university in Washington, D.C. It was the home of the Beta Lambda sorority, whose president was Etta Candy. This sorority was known for its degrading hazing traditions, including blindfolding, paddling, and chaining and tying up new pledges. Wonder Woman first came to Holliday College to seek the aid of Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls to rescue Major Steve Trevor. They also joined her on many of her adventures thereafter.
Inanna: the Sumerian goddess of fertility, love, and warfare, and the queen of heaven. She is also able to descend into the underworld and return to heaven, unlike other deities.
Lasso of Truth: a magic lariat of unbreakable, pure gold, forged from the magic girdle that once belonged to Hippolyta before she gave it to Princess Diana. It has the ability to compel absolute truth from any man or god confined within it. It is able to stretch to any length and is essentially impervious to damage.
Leda: a Greek maiden whom Zeus seduced (or raped, in some versions) after he assumed the form of a swan. She later gave birth to two of Zeus’s children, including Helen of Troy.
Lilith: in Hebrew mythology, Adam’s first wife, created at the same time and from the same earth as him (in contrast to Eve, who was created from one of Adam’s ribs).
Lynda Carter: (b. July 24, 1951) an American actress best known for her portrayal of Wonder Woman in the 1975-1979 DC comics TV series “Wonder Woman.” She had previously been named Miss World USA in 1972, but her rise to fame truly began when she landed the role of the Amazonian superhero.
Major Steve Trevor: a U.S. military pilot and intelligence officer who crash-landed his plane off the coast of Paradise Island and was taken back to Man’s World by Wonder Woman. Many of Wonder Woman’s adventures were missions to rescue Steve Trevor, especially in the early days of the comic.
Merry-Widow corset: a type of undergarment released by Warner’s in 1955, named after the 1905 operetta The Merry Widow. It featured demi cups and a shorter girdle than earlier models.
Ms. Magazine: an American liberal feminist magazine founded in 1972 by second wave feminist Gloria Steinem, who wanted to create something for women to read that was written by women, with content chosen by women. The magazine’s first issue in July of 1972 featured Wonder Woman in her original 1940s style, striding like a giant above a city, protecting a peaceful American-style town from invasion by a Vietnam-style war zone, and a banner reading “Wonder Woman for President.”
“My Blue Heaven”: a song from the 1920s with music by Walter Donaldson and lyrics by George A. Whiting. The tune became very popular in 1928 when it was released by Gene Austin and sold millions of copies.
Pantheon of Gods: a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion. Alternatively, a temple dedicated to all the gods of a particular religion.
Polygraph: commonly known as the “lie detector machine.” It measures physiological indices like respiration, pulse, and blood pressure, and depends on the belief that deceptive answers will create different physiological responses than non-deceptive answers. In the 1930s, William Moulton Marston invented the first functional lie detector by creating the systolic blood pressure test. He also became the primary advocate for the use of the device in the courts.
Scheherazade: a legendary Persian queen. She became a queen by marrying a king whose first wife had been unfaithful, leading him to begin marrying a new woman each day and killing his wife from the day before. Scheherazade survived by telling her husband stories all through the night, always stopping before the end so that he would let her live until she could finish the story.
Sensation Comics #1: Wonder Woman’s first appearance as the lead story in a comic book, published in January 1942. This story followed Wonder Woman bringing Steve Trevor back to America in her invisible plane and taking on the disguise of nurse Diana Prince.
Tilted Screw: the model of the history of women’s rights from Susan Faludi’s 1991 book Backlash: the Undeclared War Against American Women. Faludi argued that the 1980s brought a backlash against feminism, especially with negative stereotypes of career women. She contended that the progress of American women’s rights was not best charted on a flat-line incline, but rather on a “corkscrew tilted slightly to one side,” that allows the feminist woman to inch ever closer to her goal of equality, but that “turns her back just short of the finish line.”
Wonder Woman – origin story: before becoming a superhero in America, Princess Diana of Paradise Island. She was Queen Hippolyta’s child and the champion of the Amazons, training as a warrior from birth and perfecting her skill through Spartan-like competitions. When Major Steve Trevor crash-landed on Paradise Island, Diana won a contest to allow her to take him back to Washington, D.C. in her invisible plane. She was given a star-spangled costume to wear in America, the magic lasso, and the moniker “Wonder Woman.” She then assumed the secret identity of army nurse Diana Prince in order to protect Steve while he recuperated, maintaining this alter-ego after Steve’s recovery. Throughout her missions to save mankind, Wonder Woman did not kill her enemies, but rather converted them to believing in peace and equality.
Wonder Woman – the icon: the only female superhero to be published on an ongoing basis since comic books began, and one of a very few who have existed outside of a mostly-male group of superheroes.