Episode 29: Wonder Woman’s Real Life Origin Story

Wonder Woman debuted in a December 1941 issue of All Star Comics, just as the attack on Pearl Harbor was drawing the US into World War II.  In the comics, Wonder Woman’s origin story said that she was born to a race of Amazon women from Paradise Island, then disguised herself as the Boston career woman Diana Prince.  In real life, Wonder Woman was inspired by early feminist fights for suffrage and access to contraception, and she was the brainchild of one very unique family who called Cambridge home.  Wonder Woman drew as much inspiration from pinup girls in Esquire Magazine as she did from the suffragists who chained themselves to the gates of Harvard Yard and the founders of Planned Parenthood.  And she was directly inspired by the women in her creator’s life.  Her trademark exclamation “Suffering Sappho,” was taken from one of these women, and her looks and bulletproof “bracelets of submission” were taken from the other.  

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