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Do you Know Wonder Woman: The Magic Lasso
November 10, 2015 By Brett Jett
Of all the tools at Wonder Woman’s disposal, the one most iconicly associated with her (second only to the bracelets) is the Magic Lasso. It was a gift decreed by Aphrodite, not solely to extract truth, but to pacify people to obey…thus being able to turn the tables from what the Amazons suffered at the hands of Hercules & the Greeks…now the Amazons could make Man’s World people submit to them instead. It was given to WW as a tool to help her conquer with love. Dr. William Marston originally wrote it so she’d receive it sometime later when she was first summoned back home since leaving, then he later retained the origin story to where she received it right away before leaving home. This was because his original design of WW did not include the Magic Lasso, as it was an idea he came up with later in the year.
For the first movie incarnation of WW, its interesting how some fans have claimed and even hoped that the Magic Lasso is silver. But historically speaking, WMM always meant it to be colored gold, and for a specific reason!
The mythical in-story corporeality of the Magic Lasso is that it was created out of links of magical magnetic gold taken from the fine filigree of the Magic Girdle of Aphrodite. And so, the Lasso is composed of innumerable fine chain links. Ya know one of those metal necklaces that are made of multi-layered braided chain links? Now imagine if those chain links are a lot tinier, finer, but unbreakable, and have the property of being able to stretch further due to all the tiny spaces between the “braided” layers of chain links. That’s pretty much what the Magic Lasso is and looks like up close. Its not a rope. And the magnetic gold was an allegory for the submission emotion.
Now…with Wonder Woman having past her 70th year in existence, let all fans finally have at least one fallacy corrected, once and for all…….
Contrary to popular belief, the Magic Lasso was not inspired by the lie detector, was not an allegory for it, and was not itself a lie detector.
Although WW herself could act as a lie detector–with her acute sensitivity picking up the finest nuances in people’s voices, breathing, pulse, emotions, body movements, etc–the Magic Lasso was actually the product of WMM’s research of emotions, and that’s the real truth!
Originally, the Lasso made people that were bound within it obey the wielder’s every command, and the no-longer-resistant Lasso victims would often think of why they shouldn’t obey WW’s commands, then end the thought with, “–but something compels me.” That ‘something’ is the Lasso’s power infiltrating the person’s emotional center, as it operates on real life psych concepts like most of the magic exhibited in the WW mythos. But then in later incarnations–especially the 70’s show–did it become popular solely as a truth device; which it can be, among other things.
The original concept.
It wasn’t originally called “The Lasso of Truth”. Proper name: ‘The Magic Lasso of Aphrodite’. Its an allegory for feminine love allure and the submissively compliant effect it has on the average person…AKA charm. And the Lasso’s unbreakable property is an allegory for the unbreakable hold that such charms have on people; and in the Lasso’s case, it draws its charm power from the most powerful motor of all love, Aphrodite.
The concept behind it all was that when people are captivated by someone, particularly by a feminine force, then they’re in an emotional state of submission…at least for the short time being. When people are in this state, they are like slaves to a certain degree, depending on the intensity of the submission. When people assert their own will in any way, the dominance emotion is involved. So the idea behind the Magic Lasso is that its a fictionalized, super version of something that puts people into this submission state and nullifies any dominance emotion. Thus, anyone bound within the Lasso is unable to assert their own will; they’re helpless slaves to the Lasso wielder’s will. And since the Magic Lasso concept works off of those real life emotional dynamics, any entity with a consciousness or psyche can be affected by the Lasso’s power. But it doesn’t work if you just simply make physical contact with it…it has to wrap itself around you in some way, and someone has to be controlling it on the other end.
So where does the ‘truth’ topic come into play? Well of course, being forced to tell the truth is one form of obedience! The very first time (in comics) the Magic Lasso made someone tell the truth was when WW ordered the bound person to do so. Deception involves active dominance emotion mastering over active inducement–an incorrect relationship–and thus requires great psycho-neural effort and raises blood pressure. But when you’re in a submissive state–especially a perfect one caused by the Magic Lasso–then you are all about submission (your new emotional master) and lack the active dominance to even attempt a deception of your own, so long as you’re bound by the Lasso and someone is controlling it. The only way you can tell a lie while Lasso-bound is if the Lasso wielder orders you to lie, but only with her lies not your own. So in a way, its not so much that you’re “forced” to obey & tell the truth, but that that’s all you’re able to do! (Which also means that if you don’t know the truth about something, then you can’t tell it either.)
Of course another obvious debate is: Why is this power in the form of a lasso? Why not have WW shoot a ray that controls behavior, or maybe just use her mind waves? Because a lasso is a closer allegory, and such an appropriate metaphor, for captivation or “capturing” someone, binding them, controlling them, and making them submit to your dominance, and that holds closer to WMM’s dominance/submission theme. Tho I haven’t found any clues or direct confession from WMM, it is likely that his choice of allegory was partly influenced by his time in Texas where he might’ve seen some rodeo cowboys using lassos–in which he of course would’ve seen the symbolic significance to his Dominance/Submission theories. And in-story-perspective, its also practically convenient for WW to carry around.
Despite the Magic Lasso’s independence from the real life lie detector, there’s perhaps one axiom they have in common: “The truth shall set you free.”
So why has there been this popular false notion that the Magic Lasso is all about TRUTH and was inspired by the lie-detector? Its partly due to WMM’s lack of a central source of explanation for his complex WW mythology and partly due to the sensationalistic-minded public connecting the two by seeing both the Lasso in action forcing truth out of people and WMM’s association with the lie detector. And perhaps…the mainstream authorities trying to cover up the original Magic Lasso’s sexual connotations?
What it feels like to be bound in it:
Physically: the Lasso’s energy is electric-like in nature. So you might notice a slight “static electricity” prickly feel. But it doesn’t shock you like normal electricity. No, that’s the least of what you feel… Mentally & psychosomatically: what you mostly feel are the effects of the magic. Try to remember the last time you were with your lover and wanted her/him to totally dominate you, and you felt totally submissive for at least a moment…now imagine that moment extending longer, but imagine it as an uncontrollable reaction as involuntary as a sneeze, and that that’s all you remember how to do, totally forgetting what it is to assert yourself, totally devoid of any ulterior motives, utterly surrendering yourself to your lover consistently. That’s pretty much what the power of the Lasso feels like.
As for what it feels like if you try to resist it:
Ya know how when you encounter a very sexy person, your mind & body reacts involuntarily…no matter what you do to deny it, you can’t avoid the initial reaction, it already happened, too late. Now imagine that involuntary instinct applying to your feeling consistently submissive, & prolonged. So the answer is: you can’t know what it feels like to resist the Lasso, because once the wielder’s will flows through it & onto you its a matter of you can’t resist it…even if you’re Superman…because even a Superman has emotions, and your submissiveness has become involuntary, so you lack the capacity to even attempt resistance in the first place. Which also means Green Lantern’s power ring would be rendered unusable.
Now for those of you who’ve never felt submission to a lover:
then imagine you had a lobotomy and they took out your will, and ended up a blank slate, but you still had your pleasure centers…now imagine being controlled by a pleasant nurturing person of the opposite sex (or same sex, if you’re gay) while in that blank state. That’s basically what it feels like.
Altho the above explanation is the original concept & intent of the Magic Lasso, due to lack of true understanding of these concepts, DC has portrayed it in subsequent incarnations doing things that don’t align with the above concept. For instance, DC has portrayed the Lasso working on machines, mindless androids with no souls, even producing truth from people who weren’t aware of the truth, or it being broken due to the target’s inability to comprehend truth, when in fact it shouldn’t have done any of those things if they had stuck with the original theories that the Lasso was based on.
*Interesting Note: One could quite possibly use the Magic Lasso to pickup girls, too. You see, it breaks down their defenses and makes them fully submissive to you. Which is very appropriate, since the Magic Lasso is symbolic of the art of seduction (AKA charm), which pickup artists limber up on, creating stronger “lassos” for themselves. Wonder Woman herself has bound Steve Trevor in her Lasso…both literally and figuratively. 😉
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