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Monday, May 01, 2006

The Stepford Wives

The Stepford Wives is one favorite movie of mine. The main character Joanna Eberhart is played by Nicole Kidman. This is a remake movie after the first movie was made in 1960s. Many people criticized that Kidman didn’t play well in this movie, but it doesn’t mean that this movie doesn’t convey anything important to the viewers.

As in the previous make, The Stepford Wives starred by Nicole Kidman still wants to criticize the male treatment to women as wives in America. In 1960s, the women’s movement reached its peak so that people call that decade as the second wave of feminist movement. Therefore, many people considered it as timely accurate to be produced in that decade to criticize the male domination in American society. The second wave women’s movement brought up ideas that women no longer were appropriate to be “the angel of the house” anymore. It was high time for women to work in public sphere.

The Stepford Wives illustrated how men didn’t feel confident when their wives were successful in public sphere coz they believed that women were created in this world to be domestic; to do household chores, to serve their husbands while at the same time to take care of children. The utopia that was wanted to be created in Stepford was all women were feminine, domestic, slim, pretty, motherly, while men were masculine, public, macho, good-looking, and superior. Women who did not such qualities were considered not happy, lacking the core of to be “real” women. Therefore, to make that utopia come true, a very sophisticated machine was invented, to make women like robot. Happiness in this world would be reached only when women and men knew their roles in their marriage life—women è domestic, men è public.

However, everything which was not natural didn’t last long. Joanna and her family, the newest member in that Stepford society felt something “abnormal” was happening. Therefore, Joanna and her husband Walter, tried their best to solve that mystery. After finding the secret, Walter and Joanna worked hand in hand to destroy that sophisticated machine.

In the real life, especially in Indonesia, opinion that women belong to domestic sphere and men to public sphere is still strong even in this twenty first century, with the spread of feminism ideology, especially in many big cities. Many men still are not ready to accept the fact that women are created equally with them, and they are supposed to work hand in hand to create that happiness for the two parties. Even, many women still think that they are created to be inferior, that men were created to be leader while women follower; men the decision maker while women do the decision made; men the strong while women the weak; that men protector while women protected, etc.

If that happens without any force, without any party feels intimidated, that is fine. Unfortunately, the situation is not as beautiful as that.

Therefore, even though recently people say that now women’s movement has reached the third wave—or some people use the term post feminism—the fact that women are still marginalized still can be found anywhere. In Indonesia? The issuing of pornography bill shows that.

PT56 10.06 010506

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