“The Stepford Wives” was a novel written by Ira Levin.
Lured by the idyllic qualities of a small town in Connecticut, the protagonist (a successful photographer) along with her husband, and children moved to a small town in Connecticut (Stepford). But as time passed, she noted that the women in the town acted strangely. They were each and every one of them beautiful and obedient to their husbands. She began to suspect that something was wrong. Joanna researched the history of the women in the town and discovered that each had, at one time, been successful professionals in their own right. Why would such women give up those lives to become dutiful housewives? She was convinced that the men were brainwashing the women in town. Meanwhile, her husband, who increasingly spent more and more of his time with the men’s association, dismissed her concerns. Fearful for herself and her children, she decided to run, but before she could, her children were taken. Undaunted, she fled on her own, but eventually was caught.
In the epilogue, we saw Joanna as one of the Stepford wives while a new resident moved into town - seemingly to start the cycle anew.
This is a very interesting book whose plot and theme center around the idea that these very successful women are being subjugated to the viewpoints of the men in town. While the book deals primarily with the clash of the traditional role of a woman vs. a modern role, reading between the lines, that theme is clearly more far-reaching. There is an overall arc that touches so many areas of our culture.
While reading the book, it becomes evident, that the idea of an idyllic society created by imposing correct-thinking on that society (whether that correct-thinking is social, political, or economic) is, in and of itself, horrifying. After all, people should be able to think for themselves and not have another’s ideas forcefully imposed upon them.
Yet, today, despite the warning in that horror, there are those who would expand this vision of Stepford - their own vision of an idyllic society. There are those who would impose their view of correct-thinking across the vast reaches of the United States and even beyond its borders in order to achieve their vision of that ideal.
That is the warning in the book. This is the true horror. Are we each and all to be subjugated to another’s view of an idyllic society? Are we each and all destined to become a Stepford Wife?