William Moulton Marston
William Moulton Marston (May 9, 1893 – May 2, 1947), also known by the pen name Charles Moulton was psychologist, lawyer, inventor of the systolic blood pressure test and the writer who created Wonder Woman with artist Harry G. Peter. Two women, his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston and partner Olive Byrne, both greatly influenced Wonder Woman's creation.
- In the majority of cases which are brought to me as a consulting psychologist for love and marital adjustment, there are self-deceptions to be uncovered as well as attempts to deceive other people. Beneath such love conflicts there is almost always a festering psychological core of dishonesty.
- Lie Detector Test, p. 119.
- A motion picture must be true to life. If a picture portrays a false emotion it train people seeing it to react abnormally.
- Jill Lepore, The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014), p. 136.
- Sound and talking undoubtedly increase the entertainment value of a picture. There is a distinct conflict, however, between a pictorial and sound elements, which cannot be entirely avoided until third dimensional pictures are made.
- Jill Lepore, The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014), p. 139.
- Not even the church is so powerfully equipped to serve the public psychologically as is the motion picture company.
- Henry W. Levy, "Professor to Cure Scenarios with Wrong Emotional Content: Dabbled in Movies While at Harvard; Now Sought By Hollywood with Offer of Favorable Contract", New York University News, (January 1929)
- The next 100 years will see the beginning of an American matriarchy—a nation of amazons in the psychological rather than the physical sense. In 500 years there will be a serious sex battle. And in 1000 years women will definitely rule this country.
- As quoted in "Neglected Amazons to Rule Men in 1000 yrs., Says Psychologist"; Washington Post, (November 11, 1937).
- Tolerant people are the happiest, so why not get rid of prejudices that hold you back?
- Your Life What are your prejudices? (1939).
- There are one or two rules of thumb which are useful in distinguishing sadism from exciting adventure in the comics. Threat of torture is harmless, but when the torture it’s self is shown it becomes sadism. When a lovely heroine is show bound to the stake, comics followers are sure that the rescue will arrive just in the nick of time. The readers wish is to see save the girl, not to see her suffer. A bound or chained person does not suffer even embarrassment in the comics, and the reader, therefore is not being taught to enjoy suffering.
- As quoted by Olive Richard Byrne in "Don't laugh at the comics", Family Circle, (Oct 25, 1940).
- If you conclude, as I do, that the only hope of a permanent peace and happiness for humanity on this planet is an increased expression of love, and that women are the primary carriers of this great force, one of the problems we face is to provide women with more opportunity for using their love powers. The last six thousand years have demonstrated quite conclusively, I believe, that woman under the domination of man can increase but meagerly the world's total love supply. Our obvious goal, than must be to devise social mechanisms whereby man is brought under the love domination of woman.
- Women: Servants for Civilization (1941)
- The only hope for civilization is the greater freedom, development and equality of women in all fields of human activity.
- "Noted Psychologist Revealed as Author of Best-Selling "Wonder Woman,' Children's Comic," press release, typescript [June 1942], WW Letters, Smithsonian
- A woman character without allure would be like a Superman without muscle.
- "Letter to M.C. Gaines, Sep. 15, 1943; as quoted in The Ages of Wonder Woman: Essays on the Amazon Princess in Changing Times, edited by Joseph J Darowski, p.7 in the essay "William Marston's Feminist Agenda" by Michelle R. Finn, p.14.
- The picture story fantasy cuts loose the hampering debris of art and artifice and touches the tender spots of universal human desires and aspirations. Comics speak, without qualm or sophistication to the innermost ears of the wishful self.
- "Why 100,000,000 Americans Read Comics", The American Scholar, 13.1 Winter 1943-44,
- If children will read comics [...] isn't it advisable to give them some constructive comics to read? [...] The wish to be super strong is a healthy wish, a vital compelling, power-producing desire. The more the Superman-Wonder Woman picture stories build this innner compulsion by stimulating the child's natural longing to battle and overcome obstacles, particularly evil ones, the better the better chance your child has for self-advancement in the world. Certainly there can be no argument about the advisability of strengthening the fundamental human desire, too often buried beneath stultifying divertisments and disguises, to see good overcome evil.
- "Why 100,000,000 Americans Read Comics", The American Scholar, 13.1 Winter 1943-44, p.40
- Comics, they say, are not literature – adventure strips lack artistic form, mental substance, and emotional appeal to any but the most moronic of minds. Can it be that 100,000,000 Americans are morons? Possibly so; but there seems to be a simpler explanation. Nine humans out of ten react first with their feelings rather than with their minds; the more primitive the emotion stimulated, the stronger the reaction. Comics play a trite but lusty tune on the C natural keys of human nature. They rouse the most primitive, but also the most powerful, reverberations in the noisy cranial sound-box of consciousness, drowning out more subtle symphonies. Comics scorn finesse, thereby incurring the wrath of linguistic adepts.
- "Why 100,000,000 Americans Read Comics", The American Scholar, 13.1 Winter 1943-44, pp.35-44.
- Oh yes, but not until women control men. Wonder Woman – and the trend toward male acceptance of female love power, which she represents, indicates that the first psychological step has actually been taken. Boys young and old satisfy their wish thoughts by reading comics. If they go crazy for Wonder Woman it means they're longing for a beautiful exciting girl who's stronger than they are. These simple, highly imaginative picture stories satisfy longings that ordinary daily life thwarts and denies. Superman and the army of male comics characters who resemble him satisfy the simple desire to be stronger and more powerful than anybody else. Wonder Woman satisfies the subconscious, elaboratedly disguised desire of males to be mastered by a woman who loves them.
- As quoted by Olive Richard Byrne in "Our Women Are Our Future", Family Circle, (August 14th, 1944).
- Women now fly heavy planes successfully; they help build planes, do mechanics' work. In England they've taken over a large share of all material labor in fields and factories; they've taken over police and home defence duties. In China a corps of 300,000 women under the supreme command of Madame Chiang Kai-shek perform the dangerous function of saving lives and repairing damage after Japanese air raids. This huge female strong- arm squad is officered efficiently by 3,000 women. Here in this country we've started a Women's Auxilary Army and Navy Corps that will do everything men soldiers and sailors do except the actual fighting. Prior to the First World War nobody believed that women could perform these feats of physical strength. But they're performing them now and thinking nothing of it. In this far worse: war, women will develop still greater female power; by the end of the war that traditional description the weaker sex" will be a joke-it will cease to have any meaning.
- As quoted by Olive Richard Bryne in "Our Women Are Our Future", Family Circle, (August 14th, 1944).
- Men actually submit to women now, they do it on the sly with a sheepish grin because they're ashamed of being ruled by weaklings. Give them an alluring woman stronger than themselves to submit to and they'll be proud to become her willing slaves.
- Quoted in Are Comics Fascist?, TIME, (Oct 22, 1945)
The Emotions of Normal People (1928) edit
- If, as psychologists, we follow the analogy of the other biological sciences, we must expect to find normalcy synonymous with maximal efficiency of function. Survival of the fittest means survival of those members of a species whose organisms most successfully resist the encroachments of environmental antagonists, and continue to function with the greatest internal harmony. In the field of emotions, then, why would we alter this expectation? Why should we seek the spectacularly disharmonious emotions, the feelings that reveal a crushing of ourselves by environment, and consider these affective responses as our normal emotions? If a jungle beast is torn and wounded during the course of an ultimately victorious battle, it would be a spurious logic indeed that attributed its victory to its wounds. If a human being be emotionally torn and mentally disorganized by fear or rage during a business battle from which, ultimately, he emerges victorious, it seems equally nonsensical to ascribe his conquering strength to those emotions symptomatic of his temporary weakness and defeat. Victory comes in proportion as fear is banished. Perhaps the battle may be won with some fear still handicapping the victor, but that only means that the winner's maximal strength was not required.
- In the spring of the freshman year, the sophmore girls held what was called "The Baby Party" which all freshmen girls were compelled to attend. At this affair, the freshmen girls were questioned as to their misdemeanors and punished for their disobedience and rebellions. The baby party was so name because the freshman girls were required to dress as babies.
- At the party; the freshmen girls were put through various students under command of sophomores. Upon one occasion, for instance, the freshman girls were led into a dark corridor where their eyes were blindfolded, and their arms were bound behind them. Only one freshman at a time was taken through this corridor along which sophomore guards were stationed at intervals. This arrangement was designed to impress the girls punished with the impossibility of escape from their captresses. After a series of harmless punishments, each girl was led into a large room where all the Junior and Senior girls were assembled. There she was sentenced to go through various exhibitions, supposed to be especially suitable to punish each particular girls failure to submit to discipline imposed by the upper class girl. The sophomore girls carried long sticks with which to enforce, if necessary, the stunts which the freshmen were required to perform. While the programme did not call for a series of pre-arranged physical struggles between individual girls...frequent rebellion of the freshman against the commands of their captresses and guards furnished the most exciting portion of the entertainment according to the report of a majority of the class girls.
- Nearly all the sophomores reported excited pleasantness of captivation emotion throughout the party. The pleasantness of captivation response appeared to increase when they were obliged to overcome rebellious freshmen physically, or to perform the actions from which the captive girls strove to escape....
- Female behavior also contains still more evidence than male behavior that captivation emotion is not limited to inter-sex relationships. The person of another girls seems to evoke from female subjects, under appropriate circumstances, filly as strong captivation response as does that of a male.
- As quoted in Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter comics, 1941-1948, pp. 64-65 by Noah Berlatsky.
- Appetite emotion must first, last and always be adapted to love.
- p.393 as quoted in The Ages of Wonder Woman: Essays on the Amazon Princess in Changing Times, edited by Joeph J Darowski, p.8; in the essay "William Marston's Feminist Agenda" by Michelle R. Finn.
- The creation of children is not justifiable in a majority of unions between the sexes; but when the creation responses are justifiably undertaken, there is sound psychological ground for advising the woman to provide, beforehand, sufficient funds of her own to carry both herself and the child through the period of her physical incapacity for appetitive work. There is sound psychological ground, also, for requiring the male to share equally at least, in the home work and the care of children.
- p. 395 as quoted in The Ages of Wonder Woman: Essays on the Amazon Princess in Changing Times, edited by Joeph J. Darowski, p.18 in the essay "William Marston's Feminist Agenda" by Michelle R. Finn.
The Art of Sound Pictures (1930) edit
- The talkies are the only art that would attract Leonardo da Vinci were he alive to-day. It is the only art that excites a scientist's curiosity, the only art that challenges the engineer, the only art that offers the great artist a medium capable of expressing every human thought and emotion, as well as the pure aesthetic effects of color and music.
It is a baby giant, as clumsy as all babies are. Its noises are, we grieve to admit, often as inartistic as the squalling of a baby. But squalling babies have a way of growing up into soft-voices women and great singers. This is why we, the authors, have gladly played the role of nursemaids.
We don't know what the baby will be doing and saying when it grows up. But we are sure it will make its mark in the world.
- p. vi
- The literary story is hard enough, heaven knows. It calls for a thorough understanding of the kinds of people you set out to depict. It cannot be of high quality unless the author can plot well. And, of course, it must be cast in distinctive style. The picture of the silent screen does not demand literary abilities, but it does require insight into character as well as drama; furthermore, it is founded upon a high order of visual imagination. The stage play, in a certain sense, calls for all the chief abilities of literary stories and silent pictures; and, in addition, it must be managed with dialogue, which is some thing very different from literary language. But the sound picture goes beyond all of these other art forms. To invent a good one, you must grasp character, drama, settings, and dialogue. But you must go beyond these. You need a fanciful ear. The backgrounds of your story now cry out. The tale is filled with noises. And every least sound adds a unique quality to the total effect.
- CHAPTER I THE NEW ART, pp. 6-7
- People go to moving pictures to be made to weep or laugh, to be happy or unhappy as they watch what hap pens to the screen characters before them. They become completely absorbed in the screen action. They follow the story, willy-nilly. And in so doing, they are forced to feel the emotion/ aroused by the dramatic situations.Pictures makes millions of people, day after day, feel glad or sad, courageous or fearful, righteous or angry. He, can do this, that is to say, within limits, and these limits largely depend upon the story of the picture. If the producer has a powerful enough story, these millions for get themselves and their little joys and woes and escape into the scenes on the screen before them. Small wonder then, that, with such stupendous power over the thinking and feeling of myriads of men, women, and children, the moving picture producer is willing, even eager, to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars — or even a cool mil lion or so — to secure and produce a picture for this world of movie-goers.
But the story selected must itself have power enough to arouse the emotions of an audience. Excellent photography and good acting can help to carry successfully any story, but they can never put emotional meaning into a story that is built without emotional appeal.
- CHAPTER II WHAT PEOPLE WANT, p. 13
- The task of depicting character in the sound picture is, in one sense, far easier than in the silent picture. The latter, being essentially pantomime clarified with titles, is cruelly restricted as a medium of depicting human nature. Few of us express ourselves in postures and gestures. Our natural manner finds itself freer and surer in spoken words and, most of all, in decisive acts involving such forms of language as promises, commands, prohibitions, and so on, all of which readily lends itself to reproduction in talk and scene combined.
To this extent, character drawing in sound pictures seems to offer pretty much the same opportunities and difficulties as in the drama of the Broadway stage. But a closer study brings out the somewhat startling fact that a sound picture, skillfully handled, can reveal more of a personality than any other device of art or science. The actor on the stage can talk, gesticulate, and move to and fro; but there his powers end. The actor of the talking screen can do all of these things and then carry on his subjective life in the presence of the spectators. We can show pictorially his memories, his fears, his hopes, and his cunning schemes. We can reveal his clenched fist in a close-up. We can show the beads of perspiration on his brow, as he trembles with suppressed rage.
- CHAPTER V YOUR STORY THE PLOT AND ITS CONSTRUCTION, pp. 100-101
- The social value of freeing women from a harem-enclosed existence to a life of activity can be questioned only by those advocates of a "man's world" who wish to perpetuate its butchers and savage jungle law.
- As quoted in The Ages of Wonder Woman: Essays on the Amazon Princess in Changing Times, edited by Joeph J Darowski, p.7 in the essay "William Marston's Feminist Agenda" by Michelle R. Finn,
Quotes about edit
- If Marston is whipping up comics stories while Rome burns, there must be a reason.
- Olive Richard Bryne, "Our Women Are Our Future", Family Circle, August 14 1942, as quoted in Jill Lepore, The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014), p. 231.
- He believes the sexes have changed their professional status, that the hunted has become the huntress, that men have more ideas about women than about themselves and that a majority of men prefer to be 'unhappy masters' rather than 'happy slaves'.
- Olive Richard Bryne, "Hot Babies, Those Co-Eds," New York Graphic (November 17, 1931).
- This noted scientist is the most genuine human being I’ve met. He isn’t fat—that is, in the ordinary way. He’s just enormous all over. We walked through the garden and about the grounds. The doctor asked me about my work and myself, and I told him more in 15 minutes than I’d tell my most intimate friend in a week. He’s the kind of person to whom you confide things about yourself you scarcely realize.
- Olive Richard Byrne Family Circle 1935 as quoted in ""Last Amazon" New Yorker, (09/22/2014).
- I always thought this Marston was a phony.
- J. Edgar Hoover, WMM, in Jill Lepore, The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014), p. 166.
- Marston’s work opened the door for those in his profession to be more actively involved in the legal system. This perhaps begs the question: Is it a good thing for psychologists to be allowed to testify in court? There is certainly evidence to suggest that psychologists have something to offer the legal process above and beyond what their medically trained psychiatric colleagues might offer. Clinical psychologists typically have substantially more training in research than psychiatrists do and also spend several more years in formal study of human behavior. Likely as a result of this extra training, judges, attorneys, and law professors performing blind reviews rated forensic reports by psychologists to be more thorough and of higher quality than those completed by psychiatrists. Thus, William Moulton Marston, by tipping the first domino in a line that allowed psychologists to testify as recognized experts, directly contributed to better information and higher-quality work being used in the legal process. In this respect, much like his famous creation, he was a warrior for truth and justice.
- Martin Lloyd, “Psychology on Trial: The Other Legacy of William Moulton Marston”, in Wonder Woman Psychology Lassoing the Truth, edited by Travis Langley and Mara Wood, Sterling, (2017), p.22