We are spending our final week in the town of Stepford. We have followed the journey of Joanna Eberhart. She is strong, feisty and fiercely independent. She and her family have moved to Stepford where the ladies of the town are Betty Crocker cooking, Martha Stewart worshiping, Donna Reed looking perfect housewives….too perfect. Joanna with her friends Bobbie and Roger are trying to figure out what is wrong with the women. No one can be that happy all the time yet that is what it appears to be. Our friends are about to discover that appearances can be deceiving and have dire consequences. The further they look into the behavior of the wives of the town the more horrifying the mystery becomes and now it is their turn. Who will survive with their true selves intact? This is Movie Bad Girl of the Week.
For a brief period Joanna decides to do her best to fit in. She is trying to salvage a marriage that has gone sour. She does love her husband and family and is realizing that she has been neglecting them over the years she worked at the television station clawing her way to the top. (Her husband Walter has been spending lots of time at the Men’s Association and unknown to her, he too is being initiated. He knows the secret that Stepford is hiding and he is contemplating the perfect Joanna.) She drags Bobbie and Roger along and they are more amused at her antics than anything because Joanna, being the go getter she is over-does it. She begins wearing pastels that she looks ill at ease in and the clothes are anything but stylish. They try the book club where Joanna wants to talk about a wonderful non-fiction book she read and is shot down because the ladies are talking about the most important book they may ever read. “The Heritage Hills Special Edition Golden Deluxe Treasury of Christmas Keepsakes and Collectibles” and the women (and Roger in a funny moment) lose their fucking minds brimming with excitement. Important? Really? They then go on to sing Christmas carols in what appears to be the middle of July. The trio try to make friends with the wives. They let themselves into the house of Sarah Sunderson only to overhear her having incredible sex in the middle of the day. The run out of the house giggling like little kids. If they had just looked around the corner (where they were hiding) they would have had the answers. Joanna bakes a batch ofcupcakes for an activity for her daughter. Being Joanna, she has baked hundreds of cupcakes with pastel (everything in Stepford is pastel) colored frosting so her daughter and family will be proud of her. Joanna give it up. This is so not you.
We’ve all had moments where we have tried to change (or at least hide) certain things about ourselves either because we wanted to please someone else or there was a group we really wanted to be included in. This rarely works because we are not being true to ourselves and eventually will become unhappy or at least dissatisfied.
In a relationship (This can apply to a romantic relationship or family. It can also pertain to work or school) Your life is going along and you are enjoying being you but it seems like the world around you has a slightly different expectation. You are dating someone and you go to meet their family for the first time and suddenly and without warning he or she says “You know that I love you just the way you are, you need to make sure to (or not to) because I want my family to like you.” Then you are handed a 300 page manual on how to behave around their relatives. Their family should accept the fact that you love each other and that they raised their child well enough to not worry about trivial issues about a habit you might have that goes against their grain. My husband knew very well by the time we got married that I am a free spirit and am incredibly independent. This is fine with him and I love him for loving me just the way I am. Some things from my past make him a little uncomfortable and we have talked about his concerns. I worked in the adult entertainment industry for years and that was one concern. Now that we are living in Tampa I am introducing him to the people from my past and those periods of my life. As he meets these folks he has become much more comfortable and at ease. He was surprised to learn these people are just like everyone else. His imagination made things go to a fairly extreme degree and he is coming to realize that he can put those concerns aside because it is not quite what he thought, also, with him I am an open book and no question is taboo.
My family early on, like all families were molding me in a way they deemed appropriate. They had high expectations for me in school. The grades I was good with. It was everything else that caused me grief because again, even at an early age I was my own person and the other kids (and a couple of teachers) thought I was really weird. I didn’t make friends easily and was uncomfortable around my peers in certain social situations. This led to me being bullied for not being just like them. The bullying would go on for many years and would make me miserable. I am thankful for the small handful of friends I did have (most of them were picked on too) We were like the nerd squad. Looking back it is amusing now but it was not at the time. My worst bully would appear in 9th grade and make my life an absolute living hell and after him I can deal with anything. When I was 13 I was taken to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and found the haven where I would grow comfortable in my own skin. I joined the cast at that young age and was truly on the road to being me for me rather than the person everyone else was saying I was supposed to be. I had a conversation with my Grandmother and she told me “We realized that we had to let you go and find your own way because you were different” I am so thankful she let me become who I was meant to be.
There have been those clubs or groups we have wanted to be a part of. This seems to be most common while you are in but is not limited to school. We sometimes do this as adults also as you try to emulate the image of these people you want acceptance from. When you are with them you dress and behave like them and will even pretend to like the same things (even if you don’t mean it) At home that new bizarro personality can assert itself and parents and/or family will look at the person they have known and/or raised and wonder who this alien in their place is. But deep down you know you are not truly one of “them” and eventually you will distance yourself and go back to being you and surrounding yourself with people that are like minded. It makes your world a much happier place.
As the trio start unraveling the mystery something terrible happens. Joanna and Bobbie decide to sneak into the Men’s Association to spy and see exactly what it is their husbands do there. It turns out that Roger has been invited there on this night. There is a noise and the men send Roger to investigate. He encounters his girlfriends snooping in the house and they have a great giggle. He gets the girls out before the men can find out they have suck in. The next day Roger is not Roger any more. He has a completely different personality and style. The ladies are confused and spooked. Joanna in the meantime has been investigating the women of the town by internet and it turns out that all these genteel creatures were powerful women at one time (Presidents and CEOs of major companies and corporations) and is filled with a sense of dread that prompts her to ask her husband would he want to change her. With this new knowledge she runs to Bobbie’s house the following day to share this and the wind is knocked out of her. Bobbie’s house (which early on looked like something out of an episode of “Hoarders”) is now pristine and Bobbie looks nothing like the feisty and sarcastic lady she has come to love. All Bobbie can think about is cleaning house and offering Joanna a cup of coffee, but only for a moment because she must clean up the pigsty of an immaculate house. Joanna asks Bobbie “What have they done to you?” Bobbie says she has changed and now it is time for Joanna to change. She tells Joanna she is going to help her. Joanna flees the house in a state of horror.
As we live our lives we are always in a state of change whether it be getting married, starting a family, a new career or we may develop new interests. Other times we change because of others rather than a natural evolution of ourselves. Have you ever had friends that you haven’t seen for years and you choose to get together for old times sake and after going over your fond memories realize that you now have nothing in common? Have you ever tried to come back home and realize that now people you loved to hang with now have responsibilities and families and just don’t have the time? Have you ever watched someone you know change but it was for someone else? Have you ever realized that you have changed and outgrown certain people or activities around you? It is a fact of life and we deal with it as it comes. Sometimes it is a good thing and other times it can be heartbreaking, times however cannot stand still.
This column is starting to run long so we are going to streamline here.Joanna goes home to tell Walter and the kids they are leaving. No one is home and she makes a phone call to be told her husband and kids are at the Men’s Association. She goes to get her kids. When she gets there only the men are present and Stepford is finally revealed to her. They want to alter her to be the perfect wife. She asks her husband if that is really what he wants. His words are yes although his face tells a different story. They descend into the surgical chamber, Joanna has accepted her fate. We see Joanna sometime later in the grocery store and she is a Stepford wife.
A party is thrown to welcome the newest Stepford couple. Joanna is radiant and perfect. She and her husband distract Claire and her husband Mike with surprising results. Walter sneaks off to the surgical chamber while the party is in full swing and corrupts the program in the micro-chips that are in the wives brains freeing them from what they have become. As the wives become themselves again Claire screams in horror that is is an apocalypse. The wives become aggressive creatures and corner the husbands. Walter and Joanna reveal that she was never altered and they have been fooling everyone. It leads to this dialogue between the characters:
Walter: She’s not a robot. She never was. I couldn’t do it.
Mike : Why not?
Walter: Because she’s not a science project. Because I didn’t marry something from RadioShack.
Mike: That’s a shame.
Joanna: No. That’s a man.
We discover that the whole plot was Claire’s idea. She used to be career driven like the other women and it caused her marriage and life to go bad. She wanted to create a world where the men were men and women were cherished. A world of dances and beauty. The men of Stepford are punished by the women as the wives as they force them to take on the wife roles, shopping, cleaning and caring for the kids. We see Joanna, Roger and Bobbie on Larry King to talk about their experiences in the town of Stepford. We learn that Joanna and Walter’s life and marriage is far from perfect and they are working on it. They are living a real life just like everyone else. Perfect in it’s imperfections.
Biggest lesson we can learn from “The Stepford Wives”
A relationship is a partnership. It has ups and downs. There will be smiles and laughter. At other times there can be tears and anger. We will excel at some things individually and sometimes as a pair we are able to conquer the world. We will have activities that we do separately and others we will share. We will have times that are smooth sailing and we will hit rocky points and need to work on things. We want someone in our life who presents challenges and rewards. We want to grow together for a brighter future. We do not want someone who wants to make all the decisions and dictate how “we” should be. That would be unfair being that each of you is an individual. My marriage is very good and it is far from perfect. My husband and I work for a future that we will both be happy with. We challenge and support each other and enjoy this journey called life as we evolve together into a future of endless possibilities. We did not marry a science project or something from Radio Shack. We live together in our imperfections heading toward the perfection we seek as individuals and as a couple. Until next time Embrace Your Inner Bad Girl because be Imperfectly Perfect feels so damn good! Next week we leave Stepford behind and head into an all new adventure!!!