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The Stepford Wives Says Viva la Difference
by Steven Rhoads, July 3, 2004
The Stepford Wives tells some bald truths about us men. We like pretty, feminine women who like to look their best. We love good cooks and can get child-like pleasure from home-made cobbler. We like women who like to have sex with us. These are simple things. But the movie suggests that we therefore like simple-minded women. Not guilty. We like happy, buoyant, intelligent women with good senses of humor.
Women should feel blessed that we like simple things. This means that it is a simple matter to know how to please us. But when women are displeased, men don’t have a clue. First, women often think, “If he really loved me, he would know why I’m angry.” We do love you, and we don’t have a clue. First of all, we don’t read non-verbal cues as well as women do. Second, there are so many candidates. The man in the role-reversed grocery store at the flick’s end is beside himself trying to find the right kind of paper towelsthe quilted ones.
And, of course, in the final analysis, it is a woman-- the ex-brain surgeon, Glenn Close’s Mrs. Wellington-- who creates the Stepford wives. She wants a world in which men are men and women are cherished. Like most women she loves to be danced around the floor by a tall, strong man who is looked up to by other men.
Far more than men, women say they want a partner that they can look up to in all senses. Men say their ideal spouse would be 4 1/2 inches shorter. This figure seems to support the argument that men are sexist pigs who want to dominate. But why then do women want a man who is a full 6 inches taller?
Why did all those talented over-achieving women go to Connecticut in the first place? We can only assume that, like Nicole Kidman’s Joanna Eberhart, they were stressed out, pill popping women who were never having sex with their husbands. And in the early stages of life in Connecticut when Joanna is trying to become more feminine, she is overjoyed at the effect her change seems to have had on her husband, who is now “strong, forceful and commanding.”