“The Stepford Wives is a 1972 satirical thriller novel by Ira Levin. The story concerns Joanna Eberhart, a photographer and young mother who begins to suspect that the frighteningly submissive housewives in her new idyllic Connecticut neighborhood may be robots created by their husbands. The book has had two feature film adaptations, both using the same title as the novel: the critically acclaimed 1975 version and the critically panned 2004 remake.
“While the 1975 film was a moderate success at the time of release, it has grown in stature as a cult film over the years. Building upon the reputation of Levin’s novel, the term “Stepford” or “Stepford Wife” has become a popular science fiction concept and several sequels were shot, as well as a remake in 2004 using the same title, but rewritten as a comedy instead of a serious horror/thriller film.”
Well, the satire and comedy are missing from the video below. This video recounts how one man fixated on actress Scarlett Johansson built a robot to look like her for $50,000. I don’t know which is creepier: the robot/Stepford-Wife or its inventor.
The American Divorce Attorneys’ Association is reportedly outraged that a viable Stepford Wife can be produced for just $50,000–less than the cost of a good divorce. Divorce attorneys fear that as these robots become mass-produced, they’ll become so cheap that many American men will purchase a Stepford Wife rather than risk marrying an American woman and being later ruined by divorce. If “I now pronounce you man and [Stepford] Wife,” catches on, the number of divorces will fall and many divorce attorneys will either starve or (worse) be forced to find honest jobs.
In all of this, I’m reminded of the aphorism, “Be careful what you wish for–you’ll get it.” Perhaps that aphorism should be updated to say, “Be careful of what you imagine–it’ll happen.” 44 years ago, author Ira Levin imagined a fictional world where rich men might marry robots. Today, we have just about reached a world where anyone can marry robots. What we imagine today, can be reality tomorrow.