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[- Are women the only Stepford Wives?
By amy, Section question corner
Posted on Wed Jun 18th, 2003 at 10:59:34 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME
The New York Times has published this story about the upcoming remake of the 1975 film, The Stepford Wives. But, midway through the article, the writer, Maureen Dowd, makes a sharp left turn and stops discussing the film; instead she asserts that since the original film was made, real life women have largely turned themselves into Stepford Wives.


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This sparked my interest since I often find myself making broad cultural comparisons to Stepford. Sometimes I find entire cities or countries that seem inordinately complacent and obedient. My thinking about Brian's nettime post on fascism in the USA is that in the past 20 years or so, American culture at large has become increasingly docile - since just about the time Ronald Reagan began reducing complex geopolitical issues to the ultra-myopic "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" However, I've tended to think of this sort of Stepfordization as affecting both sexes.

But, maybe I'm wrong? Is it just women that have become more complacent/docile/obedient in the past 20-25 years? And .. is this trend specific to the US? Or are the poppies blowing farther and wider than that?

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Are women the only Stepford Wives? | 4 comments
[new] 'feminism is dead' rants... (Avg. Score: 3.00 / Raters: 2) (#2)
by jgraham on Fri Jun 20th, 2003 at 08:19:02 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME
(User Info)

ya, it's easy to get sucked into the "is feminism dead?" debate... to quote yet another alternet story:

Faludi also sees the culture of corporate capitalism as having devastating consequences for feminism. In her recent book, "Stiffed," she describes how the predominant values of fame, celebrity and wealth, as transmitted through the media, have created a de-politicized, "ornamental culture." "Where we once lived in a society in which men in particular participated by being useful in public life," she argues in her book, "we are now surrounded by a culture that encourages people to play almost no functional roles, only decorative or consumer ones." Faludi believes that men are now fighting the same commercial forces that women have long fought - and that their sense of disempowerment, or "feminization," is turning them against the feminist goals of equality in the home and the workplace. Without the camaraderie of men, Faludi believes, the society that women envisioned in the 1970s will never come about.

Ok, i was with her up through the part where people only play decorative and consumer roles - and that's where i think the whole Stepfordization of culture in the US comes into play. (The article loses me when Faludi gets going with male disempowerment turning them against feminine empowerment and thus thwarting women's feminist efforts. Perhaps if I read the book that wouldn't sound as Martian to me as it currently does.)

Ok, then do we see a direct proportional relationship between the degree of capitalist/materialist influence in a culture and female domesticity? Or - gender neutral domesticity? (If we're all in fact decorations in capitalist society... )

[new] the war on fun (Avg. Score: 3.00 / Raters: 1) (#1)
by Anonymous Stranger on Fri Jun 20th, 2003 at 12:04:06 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME

Alternet has a story about the federal government's war on fun. While the author seems to feel that today's overdone morality stems from governmental and special interest groups, I think it is more broadly based than that, and seeps out of the pores of US culture at large. I don't see this happening in other countries, and seems to have really gotten a foothold since it became possible to smuggle in any and all reactionary policies or mores under the guise of the war on terrorism. Whether it's gender neutral or not depends on your point of view: men and women are both sticking more to "traditional" cultural expectations - which happens to mean docility and domesticity on the part of women, and false airs of independence on the part of men.

Are women the only Stepford Wives? | 4 comments

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