Jill Lepore

October 29, 2014 - Jill Lepore 10/29/2014 Views: 22,308

Jill Lepore talks about "The Secret History of Wonder Woman" and explains how the character was inspired by early 20th-century feminism. (5:41)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACKEVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A HARVARDPROFESSOR WHO SAYS

WONDER WOMAN IS THE MISSING LINKOF THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT.

SORRY GLORIA STEINEM, YOUSHOULD'VE HAD MAGIC WRIST CUFFS

PLEASE WELCOME JILL LEPORE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING ONHERE.

YOU'RE A PROFESSOR OF AMERICANHISTORY AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY.

YOU'RE A STAFF WRITER FOR THENEW YORK.

YOUR BOOK OF AGE IS THROUGH THENATIONAL BOOK AWARD AND YOUR NEW

BOOK IS CALLED THE SECRETHISTORY OF WONDER WOMAN.

WHAT IS THE HISTORY.

WE KNOW SHE'S AN AMAZONIANQUEEN.

>> SHE'S A PRINCESS.

WE KNOW BECAUSE --[LAUGHTER]

THEY HAVE LEFT ANCIENT GREECE TOREPLACE WITH JOURNEYMEN AND A

PLANE CRASHES ON PARADISE ISLAND1941.

AND THE U.S. MILITARYINTELLIGENCE OFFICER NEEDS TO BE

SAVED SO PRINCESS DIANA LEAVESTHE ISLAND, GIVES UP THE CROWN.

>> Stephen: WE'RE TALKING1941.

>> 1941.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

SHOULD A 73 YEAR OLD WOMAN BEWEARING AN OUTFIT LIKE THAT.

>> I THINK LIKE THE ETERNALLIFE KIND OF RUBBED OFF.

LIKE AN ANTI-AGING AFTER EFFECT.

>> Stephen: WAS SHE AFEMINIST ICON OR WAS THERE EVEN

A THING CALLED THAT AT THE TIME.

>> THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY A THINGCALLED THAT.

THE THING THAT'S INTERESTINGABOUT THE SECRET OF WONDER WOMAN

IS FIRST OF ALL I NEVER KNEW ANYOF THIS.

I WAS NEVER A COMICS PERSON.

BUT THE OLDEST FEMALE COMICSUPER HERO WHO HAS LASTED THIS

LONG.

SUPERMAN STARTS IN 1938.

BATMAN 1939, BAT WOMAN NEVERBEEN OUT OF FRANCE SHE JOINS THE

JUSTICE SOCIETY IN 1942.

THEY HAVE A LOT OF READERS.

A WOMEN ISN'T ALLOWED TO JOINTHE JUSTICE SOCIETY.

>> Stephen: SHE'S ALLOWED TOJOIN.

>> SHE'S VOTED IN.

ONLY EIGHT KIDS VOTED AGAINSTHER. IT'S A WALK-OFF.

>> Stephen: I UNDERSTAND WHENSHE'S FIRST ELECTED TO THE

JUSTICE SOCIETY SHE'S THESECRETARY.

>> YES, THAT'S TRUE.

>> Stephen: SHE'S THESECRETARY TO THE JUSTICE

SOCIETY.

>> THAT'S TRUE.

>> Stephen: DOES SHE KICK ALITTLE ASS TO GET OUT OF

THAT JOB BECAUSE I WOULD BEANGRY IF I WERE WONDER WOMAN.

>> IT'S PRETTY ROUGH.

THE GUY WHO CREATED WONDER WOMANIS THIS HARVARD PH.D.

PSYCHOLOGIST NAMED WILLIAMMARSTON

>> Stephen: THAT'S MY NEXTQUESTION IS HOW CAN SHE BE A

FEMINIST ICON WHEN SHE WASCREATED BY THIS MAN MARSTON

>> HE SAID WONDER WOMAN ISPSYCHOLOGICAL PROPAGANDA FOR THE

NEW TYPE OF WOMAN I BELIEVESHOULD RULE THE WORLD.

[CROWD CHEERING]>> Stephen: WHAT DOES

FEMINISM MEAN AT THIS TIME.

>> THE INTERESTING THING ABOUTMARSTON CREATING WONDER WOMAN

IN 1941 IS SHE'S REALLY A THROWBACK.

HE HAD GONE TO COLLEGE INTHE 1910s AND WAS REALLY

INSPIRED BY THE SUFFRAGEMOVEMENT.

WOMEN GAINED THE RIGHT TO VOTEIN THE 19TH AMENDMENT IN 1920.

HE WAS A FRESHMAN IN HARVARD IN1911 WHEN THE GREAT SUFFRAGISTS

EMMELINE PANKHURST CAME TO CAMPUS. HARVARD BANNED HER

FROM SPEAKING ON CAMPUS, THEY DIDN'T LET WOMEN SPEAK ON CAMPUS

AT THE TIME. SHE GAVETHIS ADDRESS IN HARVARD SQUARE

IT WAS INCREDIBLY ROUSING. HEMARRIED HIS CHILDHOOD

SWEETHEART WHO WENT TO MTHOLYOKE WHICH WAS A HOTBED OF

SUFFERAGE IN THE 1910s. HEBECOMES A PROFESSOR AND TEACHES

AT TUFTS UNIVERSITY IN 1925.

MY ALMA MATER, TUFTS UNIVERSITY.

[APPLAUSE]AND FALLS IN LOVE WITH ONE OF

HIS STUDENTS WHO HAPPENS TO BETHE NIECE OF MARGARET SANGER WHO

FOUNDED THE BIRTH CONTROLMOVEMENT.

SHE MOVES INTO THE FAMILY ANDTHEY ARE POLYAMOROUS.

>> THIS GUY WHO IS A FEMINISTHAS GOT TWO WOMEN ONE OF WHOM IS

AN UNDERGRADUATE HE'S TEACHINGAND HIS WIFE IS COOL WITH THAT?

>> SO OLIVE BYRNE IS THEDAUGHTER OF ETHEL BYRNE,

WHO IS MARGARET SANGER'S SISTER.

THEY ARE NURSES AND IN 1914,MARGARET SANGER FOUND THE WOMAN

REBELS, A FEMINIST NEWSPAPER

SORT OF AN ANTECEDENT OF WONDERWOMAN. THEY OPENED THE FIRST

BIRTH CONTROL CLINIC IN THE U.S.IN BROOKLYN

AND THEY ARE ARRESTED FOROBSCENITY BECAUSE YOU CAN'T

TALK ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL. THEYCOINED THE PHRASE.

ETHEL BYRNE GOES ON A HUNGERSTRIKE IN JAIL

PLANNED PARENTHOOD WAS FOUNDEDIN 1916 BY ETHEL BYRNE AND

MARGARET SANGER.(APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: SO THE GUY WHOCREATED WONDER WOMAN HAS A WIFE

AND A GIRL ON THE SIDE WHO HEKNOWS IS ON BIRTH CONTROL.

>> YES.

[LAUGHTER]>> Stephen: SO THE PLAYGROUND

IS OPEN, ALL RIGHT.

>> HE SAYS TO HIS WIFE, YOUKNOW, I WOULD LIKE HER TO LIVE

WITH US AND I REALLY LOVE HERAND YOU COULD, EITHER SHE COULD

LIVE WITH US, SHE COULD TAKECARE OF THE CHILDREN AND YOU

COULD GO TO WORK, IT'D SOLVEYOUR PROBLEMS.

>> Stephen: AS A WOMAN HOW

WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT.

WOULD YOU BE INTO THAT.

WOULD YOU BE DOWN FOR THAT?

>> NO.

THERE'S NO OTHER ANSWER.

>> Stephen: NO.

>> THERE'S NO OTHER ANSWER.

>> Stephen: I'M MORE OF AFEMINIST THAN YOU ARE.

[CROWD CHEERING]>> EXACTLY.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU VERYMUCH.

[CROWD CHEERING]>> Stephen: JILL LEPORE, THE

SECRET HISTORY OF WONDER WOMAN. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.