LowComDom Performances Presents
Film Review - Stepford Wives, The
In the early 1970s, a "revolution" was happening in America. Women were standing up for themselves and demanding equality in our society. In this era the National Organization for Women came to the forefront, the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution was being passed around, and bras were being burned. (This was before the era of Victoria's Secret.)
The Stepford Wives is a mirror being held up to society. In this quiet New England small town, women are obedient and unquestioning of their men. At least that's how women end up. It's an interesting transition. When women arrive, they tend to be upper middle-class wives who have children and social interests outside the home. Four months later, these social interests end. The woman dresses like Betty Crocker, and the upper brain functions -- such as having an independent opinion -- end. We see all of this through the eyes of two newcomers. One by one, their friends become Stepford Wives, only interested in keeping a spotless house and pleasing their husbands.
This film has much to be praised. It's not a simple "men the oppressors against women the victims" movie. Yes, there is that element. But there's depth to the characters. Small nuances that don't add up until you find out what's really happening in Stepford. The Betty Crocker attitude of the Stepford Wives is the stereotypical "Man's Dream" of the woman who is subservient, doesn't argue, and has sex with you whenever you want. Her needs are not important. As I write this in the late 1990s, it's a sign being held up with the subtitle, "Wasn't this crazy?"
Some men do have this attitude towards women, and truth be told, I know some women who would be a Stepford Wife in a flash because of the security it brings. The point of The Stepford Wives to show what a waste it is to not hold men and women as equals. The potential of a Stepford Wife is thrown away. She is lowered to the role of a slave. The film makes the ultimate case in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment.
For a little film, this picture packs quite a wallop!
Directed by Bryan Forbes
Released in 1975
MPAA Rating: PG
Reviewed by Mongo