I chose to show The Stepford Wives after Ghost in the Shell because I thought they made a nice pair of perspectives surrounding my central question. Whereas Ghost in the Shell looks at the integration of objects – mechanical bodies, digital minds – into the spectrum of the human, The Stepford Wives shows how human qualities can become quite inhuman. Wall-E, as I discussed, shows this, but The Stepford Wives deals with it more directly and in a particular context. This ambiguous dichotomy flows two ways, object towards human (which I’ve mostly focused on) and human towards object (which is still important to consider in this project).
I’ve become interested in how the body mediates or confers human identity, and that was interesting to look at in The Stepford Wives. Early on in the film, before we know they’ve been replaced by robots, several of the women Joanna and Bobby encounter around Stepford seem extremely devoted to their housework and role as wives and mothers. It’s strange, but not outside the possibilities for human variety. Early on Joanna and Bobby look at these women and their presumably-chosen lives with laughter and a bit of scorn. Their suspicions that something is amiss grow over the course of the film, largely due to abrupt personally changes and the ubiquity of happy housewives in the town.