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Sally C. Pipes - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]

Sally C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific Research Institute [go to Pipes index]


The Stepford Feminists
Getting it wrong again...
[Sally C. Pipes] 12/11/03

The Stepford Wives, a film first released in 1975, is being remade and slated for release next summer with Nicole Kidman in the lead role. There is more than entertainment going on here, but most critics won't get it.

The film is based on a novel by Ira Levin, who set out to write a rather chilling tale of men who conspired to replace their wives with robots that were good looking but had no will of their own. With that plot it was inevitable that the flick would become a feminist classic, in line with the dogmas of those who sought to script the lives of American women.

According to the feminist vanguard, suburban married life in America was worse than a concentration camp, and reduced women to mere robots. As this column has often pointed out, it was absolute nonsense at the time and more so now. Even so, "Stepford wife" became a taunt against married women engaged in such trifles as raising children.

Hollywood, bereft of ideas, regularly raids old material but that this particular film is being remade shows how pervasive feminist arguments have become. There have been remarkable developments since the first version.

Women are flocking to college, earning comparable salaries, and making their mark on the world. One took the helm of an Islamic nation. Another quickly dislodged an military dictatorship from territory it had seized by force. We have not had a women president in America but a woman is currently national security adviser to the President of the United States. If women are not running the world, as we noted in last month's column, it is not because they lack the wherewithal but because they don't want to. They choose, of their own free will, to pursue other goals.

Even with stellar achievements, high salaries, and prestige, many women are opting to spend time at home to raise their children. These women resent the idea that this constitutes any sort of servitude, oppression, or second-class citizenship.

These days, some of the more shrill feminist partisans are men. One still finds politicians and media types who spout long discredited feminist platitudes in robotic fashion, from the notion that women only earn 70 percent as much as men, to the contention that schools shortchange girls, and so on. Consider Paul Rudnick, screenwriter for the new version of The Stepford Wives.

"Straight white males act like the angry new endangered majority," he told Maureen Dowd of the New York Times. "Men only evolve with a gun at their head." And, of course, the women are still robots, the theme of the film. Where has this man been?

By all indications, men are absolutely fine with the concept of women earning graduate degrees, getting good jobs, and excelling in their profession. They are also okay with the concept of these same women raising children, the most difficult and demanding job anyone will undertake. Perhaps Mr. Rudnick needs to expand his circle of friends.

If Hollywood wants to be more current and realistic, it should consider a film with a different approach.

The story should feature upper-class feminists in an academic setting somewhere in New England. Everything looks respectable but behind the scenes the gals are conspiring to transform male faculty and national politicians into robots. These robots look like they have the capacity to think but they are programmed to spout feminist dogma decades after it has been discredited and ignored by most women.

Call it The Stepford Feminists. In 2003 that is about the only kind left.

Sally C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific Research Institute




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