I had forgotten about this book. now it is all coming back to me. Emily soaks herself and sits in front of the window on a frigid day so that she will...moreI had forgotten about this book. now it is all coming back to me. Emily soaks herself and sits in front of the window on a frigid day so that she will contract pneumonia. What a great book. (less)
SEE: My review for Rosemary's Baby - another 70's era, grave depiction of men. Sometimes I think that writers like Ira Levin were hired b...moreSPOILER ALERT
SEE: My review for Rosemary's Baby - another 70's era, grave depiction of men. Sometimes I think that writers like Ira Levin were hired by the government to create male characters so loathsome ("Guy" in Rosemary's Baby, and that HIDEOUS husband in Diary of a Mad Housewife), to create high divorce rates and get women into the work force. Not really but kind of.
This book came out at a time when 2 important things were happening: the rise of feminism as a cultural political force which flew in the face of a confluence of representations of 1950s housewives ("Happy Days"), as well as a surge of postmodern trends in books and movies ("Westworld"), which have been largely realizable from technological advances. The Stepford Wives is one giant masterpiece of modern art to emerge from this mess.
Story: Joanna, a bohemian young wife and mother of two (who today would no doubt still be single) and talented amateur photographer, is bamboozled by her husband into taking flight from swinging 1970's Manhattan in favor of a planned community in CT called "Stepford", where the wives are being transformed into robot entities whose mode of being is hyper-real, by their dullard husbands, a cabal of "male chauvinist pigs". Joanna tries to escape the fate of the other wives, to no avail.
The faux "idillic" suburb of Stepford, CT is a freakish paranoid dystopia, an environment "unhinged by simulation" (Baudrillard '85). The depraved husbands sneak down to the creepy and gay undertoned "Men's Club" to hone the minute details of their wives eye blinks and hand flutters with Disney Imagineers. The Disney "Hall of Presidents", opened around this time -a time in which the beginning of a modern culture was threatening to break with reality, where burgeoning technology and "computers" could do more than merely simulate real things - they could create their own hyper reality, beset with simulacra - exact robot copies of brutally murdered "originals" that don't represent or refer to anything.