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Polyamory, Kink, and the Emergence of Wonder Woman: A Discussion of Professor Marston and the Wonder Women With Discussion By Danielle Knafo, PhD & John Beebe, MD

posted Sep 2, 2020, 1:33 PM by Houston Psychoanalytic Society
Film Discussion
Houston Psychoanalytic Society & The Jung Center
Polyamory, Kink, and the Emergence of
Wonder Woman: A Discussion of
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
With Discussion By
Danielle Knafo, PhD & John Beebe, MD

Sunday, September 13, 2020
4:00PM – 6:00PM CST

Zoom Presentation
*Pre-register for Zoom invitation
Registration Deadline: September 10, 2020

Registration Fee
$25 per person

2 CEUs

In this story, the quest for truth ultimately led to fantasy. Our panel discussion will focus on the film Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, directed by Angela Robinson and released in 2017. (Program attendees should watch the movie prior to the presentation. The film is available for rental from multiple online sources.) The movie is loosely based on the story of William Moulton Marston and his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston. In the late 1920s, they were psychology professors and researchers at Harvard University and Radcliffe College, respectively, collaborating on the development of a lie detector test. After William hired student Olive Byrne as his research assistant, the three became involved in a polyamorous relationship and ended up living together for most of the rest of their lives. He brought kink into the threesome's relationship after visiting a lingerie shop in the 1940s, where he was introduced to fetish art-themed comic books and photos. Based on his experiences, he developed the comic book character of Wonder Woman, though the character's sexual imagery dissipated following his death in 1947. Feminist activist Gloria Steinem claimed Wonder Woman as the ultimate symbol of female empowerment, placing her on the cover of Ms. Magazine in 1972. Wonder Woman remains popular to this day.

Marston and his wonder women embodied both creativity and eroticism with passion and a sense of transgression. The discussants will explore these and other themes in the film, including polyamory and kink. We will consider how these phenomena were conceptualized in the early history of psychoanalysis, how they contributed to the character of Wonder Woman, and how they are viewed now. The discussants also will explore the creation, evolution, and cultural symbolism of Wonder Woman - and why she remains such an iconic symbol of feminine strength in contemporary culture.

Learning Objectives
  1. Describe how polyamory and kink were viewed in early psychoanalytic theory.
  2. Explain how polyamory and kink are viewed in contemporary psychoanalysis and culture.
  3. Describe 3 symbolic manifestations of Wonder Woman.
  4. Explain Wonder Woman's enduring popularity in current culture.
John Beebe, MD is a Jungian analyst and psychiatrist in practice in San Francisco. Active in training and public education at the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, he was founding editor of its quarterly now called Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche. He became the first American co-editor of the London-based Journal of Analytical Psychology. Among his published books are Integrity in Depth and, with co-author Virginia Apperson, The Presence of the Feminine in Film.  John’s essay, "The Child in 21st Century American Film," can be found in the new book, Cultural Complexes and the Soul of America.
Danielle Knafo, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Manhattan and Great Neck, New York. She is currently a professor in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Long Island University’s C.W. Post campus and faculty and supervisor at NYU’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She has published nine books and dozens of articles on topics including the psychology of art; creativity in psychotherapy; unconscious fantasies; working with trauma, immigration, and psychosis; and the effects of technology on the human psyche and relational life. Her book, The Age of Perversion: Desire and Technology in Psychoanalysis and Culture won the ABPP 2018 best book award. Her most recent book is The New Sexual Landscape and Contemporary Psychoanalysis.
Houston Psychoanalytic Society
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(713) 429-5810
The Jung Center
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Houston, TX 77006
(713) 524-8253
HPS, through co-sponsorship with the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, offers approved CEs for social workers, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists.