So here’s my problem with the whole Stepford saga…
“You see, Alan, what we do is eliminate your wife and replace her with a perfect robot replica. One that is completely submissive and obedient to you.”
“What’s wrong with brainwashing them?”
“Well, those robots must be incredibly expensive to manufacture and maintain. Why not just brainwash the wives? You’ll save money and you avoid the whole having to murder them thing as well.”
“But Jeff’s very good at building robots! I mean, his teenage replicas are very lifelike!”
“Wait! You mean to kill the children as well?”
“They’re unruly, disobedient, Alan. We apply the same principle for the wives to the children.”
“That’s still killing children! Am I the only one here who sees that as a problem? I mean, how will you explain away the fact that they never age?”
“Or that by bumping off your kids, you’ll have no one to take over your company. It’ll fall into the hands of some asset stripping boardroom.”
There you go. I was feeling a bit smug about that analysis but then I missed something about the whole Stepford Wives saga that was even more chilling.
The saga isn’t about misogyny or male chauvanism or keeping women down and in their place. It’s not really about conformity. It’s about the loss of male freedom…the men of Stepford are just big man-babies.
You see, why are they replacing their wives and kids with robots? Don’t they find having a sycophantic family boring? Won’t it drive them mad? It’s not like they’ve made the robot wives sexy either: They’re all decked out in Laura Ashley Boring Collections. You would think that misogynist men would have the robots wear bikinis all day long or fetish gear. Heck, there’s not even any sign of hot pants.
But then the men of Stepford don’t see women as sexual beings at all because they’re a bunch of man-children. What the men want is a return to a life without the committment of relationships or family. The bachelor days but with one exception: There’s no hanky panky or cruising for chicks in their world. No, instead they just want to hang around in a clubhouse with other men…but not in a homoerotic way. The men of Stepford want to go fishing, make model kits, go BMX bike riding, play Diablo and snooker without having to worry about domestic life. Far from being a chilling tale about a violent reaction against feminism, it’s an even more chilling tale of the quest to be eternally a little boy without the distraction of domesticity encroaching on play time. In order to preserve that down-time freedom, the men are prepared to kill their wives and children because those are the things that force men to grow up and accept responsibility. What are the robots anyway other than the ultimate model kit for little boys in middle aged male bodies?
Damn you, Stepford, for being metatextural