The following recaps the original film, The Stepford Wives. I haven’t seen this version, but I did see the somewhat more upbeat remake. I also read the Ira Levin book on which these movies were based. The Stepford Wives isn’t anything too exceptional from a literary or cinematographic perspective. Still, it certainly is emblematic of the sneaky agitprop along these lines intended to break down traditional roles.
By the 1970s, this sort of thing was quite heavily promoted to reprogram the minds of millions of women and turn them against their own society. If that sounds like an exaggeration, then watch the following and consider it again:
I’m a pretty old hand at propaganda analysis, so I have to admire the skill of the video’s creator that went into deciphering the movie. He caught lots of nuances that are pretty subtle. Actually, they would be subliminal unless you know what to look for and are on guard for those things. I have to wonder how many of the viewers realized during these scenes that they were being propagandized and psychologically manipulated.
As for the film’s main message, though, it has as much subtlety as Miley Cyrus wearing a strap-on dildo resembling a giant carrot. The overall subtext, of course, is pretty obvious – men literally turning women into robots. As a statement, it might go something like this: “Being a mother or a traditional housewife is worse than slavery. If you’re happy about being one, then The Patriarchy already turned you into a mindless automaton!” That’s a pretty nasty accusation about men, of course, and one that was calculated to promote dissatisfaction. Rather ironically, this message was proclaimed by the precursor to the leftist political establishment that blew a fuse over the NPC meme.
Why did Ira Levin write that book – and why did the Hollyweird filmmakers put it on the big screen? Were they male feminist useful idiots, or were they cultural Marxists trying to degrade society by driving a wedge between the sexes? Now that’s a good question. Deliberately spreading discontentment and social discord is a go-to tactic of cultural Marxism, a point similar to one that the video reviewer also made.
One more item from the movie that I’ll point out and add to the discussion is the following depiction:
- New York City: the old happy place, full of culture and opportunity
- Stepford: dystopian Bourgeois Hell where you literally get turned into a robot
Let me reiterate:
- NYC during the 1970s = GOOD!
- Clean, crime-free suburbia = BAD!
Point of fact, before Mayor Giuliani went a long way to clean it up, NYC was an urban hellscape. The film Taxi Driver depicts things a lot more realistically. Who are these people trying to fool? Or was the point about insulting people who weren’t living in the big Mouse Utopia?
Deconstructing feminist agitprop
Here’s an excerpt from Deplorable Diatribes, my recent magnum opus:
…The Feminine Mystique was promoted for mass appeal, and indeed it became a hit. The message that women should be captains of industry instead of nurturing children did strike a chord. (It was clever propaganda, conveniently ignoring the facts that work is usually pretty tedious, most employees never rise to high places or even get exciting jobs, and especially that the next generation doesn’t come from a cabbage patch.) The Redstockings Manifesto, on the other hand, is little known outside of feminist circles, women’s studies professors, and of course their students. This snotty screed with Marxist-flavored rhetoric describes what radical feminism really believes; for one item, very explicitly declaring all men to be oppressors.
Later it describes Betty Friedan in greater detail:
Her book The Feminine Mystique persuaded millions of women to define their success the way men do, leaving their homes in droves for the awesome adventure of cube farms. If only they’d asked some men, we could’ve warned them that work sucks. Chapter 1 begins like this:
The problem lay buried, unspoken for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban housewife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night, she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question—“Is this all?”
You know how that kind of rhetoric goes. The kitchen is a torture chamber. Light housework is slavery. Raising the next generation of precious young children is a total waste of time. All that’s beneath us, but our husbands are having a blast working on an assembly line eight hours a day to keep roofs over our heads. Blah blah blah…
OK, cool, so now we’re in a more enlightened age, thanks in no small part to Betty Friedan. These days, tens of millions of women spend their days in cube farms. Many are childless and will endure their final years all alone, thanks to all those abortions. As for now, at the end of the day, they ask themselves: “Is this all?”
So in that regard, The Stepford Wives was much like The Feminine Mystique, except presenting the message in a sneaky and more weaponized manner. Again, it’s basically this – “If you’re a mother and a housewife, that’s unacceptable. Your only salvation is to join Second Wave feminism and help us rip apart society.” Sweet!
What about the Redstockings Manifesto then? That one is a brief document that tells you what radical feminism really believes, without all the pretty rhetoric or subliminal messages. It came out in 1969, by a Marxist-influenced group that was nearly a “who’s who” list of the NYC feminist scene of that time. Moreover, they were trendsetters in what contemporary feminism became.
One of the concepts that this foundational manifesto introduced eventually became known as “The Patriarchy”. Myself, I think the idea that all men are out to oppress all women is pretty half-baked. As I wrote about the Redstockings:
Again, none of this patriarchy stuff is explained or backed up by facts. If they’re putting forth a conspiracy theory, where’s the damn theory? I’ll give them one—the patriarchs must have a secret tree fort where they decide how they’re going to be a bunch of dicks.
Note well, The Stepford Wives doesn’t actually have a secret tree fort. However, it does in fact depict a secret “Men’s Club” where evil plots are hatched and wives are turned into fembots. I can’t think of a plainer cinematic metaphor for this amorphous “Patriarchy” the feminists have been scarum-shouting about for the last several decades. The idea was pretty new back then, so this shtick in the film was a great way to introduce the concept. These days, there’s less need to state it so plainly, now that feminists have poisoned the well so much.
What’s the real deal about “The Patriarchy”? The truth is that, on the whole, straight guys usually fall all over ourselves to please women, not that it gets us much appreciation lately. Look at it another way. Men are bigger and stronger. Therefore, if the pearl-clutching feminists were right about us conspiring to subjugate all women, then what’s taking us so long? If that’s truly what we wanted (not that I’m recommending it), then we could revert relations between the sexes back to the Bronze Age. If we acted in unison, it would take less than an hour. (If women didn’t like the new status quo, what would they do – call a policeman?) Since that easy power grab hasn’t happened, it’s fair to call bullshit on this “Patriarchy” nonsense.
More seriously, as a critic of feminism, what is my evil intention? I want goodwill and harmony among the sexes again. That’s how healthy societies work.
Lana Lokteff sets it straight
So now that I’ve described all that propaganda, here’s a brief deprogramming course: