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BDSM in American Science Fiction and Fantasy by Lewis Call (auth.)

By Lewis Call (auth.)

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Here Marston made a powerful plea for erotic female dominance. Indeed, he suggested that such dominance could only improve the psychological health of society. Two years before Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents sent modern Western civilization to the psychoanalyst, Marston’s Emotions of Normal People sent it to the dominatrix. Marston’s emphasis on female dominance anticipated another significant trend which would develop in late twentieth century kinky cultures. In the early 1980s, Gayle Rubin found that the largest subpopulation of sadomasochists were the heterosexuals, and of these, “most” appeared to follow the female dominant/male submissive 30 BDSM in American Science Fiction and Fantasy configuration (1981/1982: 219).

I therefore devote the last three chapters of this book to kinky SF&F television. Chapter 5 is about Battlestar Galactica’s exploration of the kinky, existential connection between death and sex. Chapter 6 examines subtextual and textual representations of BDSM in Joss Whedon’s fantasy shows Buffy and Angel. Finally, Chapter 7 looks at representations of posthuman kink in Whedon’s recent SF show Dollhouse. 2 Submitting to a Loving Mistress: BDSM in William Moulton Marston’s Wonder Woman Comics Wonder Woman was America’s first major kinky icon.

William Moulton Marston was a Harvard man, with degrees in law (L. L. , 1921). Marston did some important early work on the use of systolic blood pressure for lie detection; later in life he would often claim that he had invented the lie detector. Recent scholarship has debunked this claim (Bunn 1997: 92). But Marston was 27 28 BDSM in American Science Fiction and Fantasy undeniably the polygraph’s most enthusiastic advocate; he even used the lie detector to “prove” that nine out of ten men preferred Gillette brand razor blades in a 1938 advertising campaign (Daniels 2004: 16).

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