the stepford wives (1975)

i sense something is wrong with my friend. if i am unable to tell whether or not she innately a different person well at that point what is she? we can’t say she didn’t warn us. i catch a glimpse of her the mirror as my white floral dress clutches her frame, the outline of my cross your heart bra visible through the thin airy fabric as i work. the outfit holds me in place, narrow legs encased in sheer pantyhose (also white); statuesque as she strides across the freshly-vacuumed carpet: your wife. i remain in equilibrium. my friend’s figure is different; her face, what she talks about: those things are different from before. what about her soul? was it there before? i never considered this. there are no thoughts. when you tell me to work, i don’t have to think about it. that green stuff outside is grass and the yellow stuff coming down on it is sunshine. there is nothing else. i don’t have to worry. i will no longer be scared to walk in your meadow. i don’t believe this home is the kind of place that brings anyone joy when you take me in the kitchen take me as your pet i’m your wife i know you like to watch women doing little domestic chores as you lead me up the stairs whenever you need me i am there available waiting i’m not wearing any pantyhose today. (give them more. say too much.) fuck me to life give it to me the women’s work it’s okay it’s all i have ever known. i’m not happy either. i’m a german virgo; my thing is to serve.

i want you to make me shine the floor. i want tasks to do that i know i will not forget but i will forget these tasks anyway. this is our game. today the combat takes a different shape; i leave your shirts in the wash so you wake me up in a panic. late to work. i want to feel bad about it. i am incomplete but i strive to be so in an alluring way as something you will feel the strongest urge to fill. i will have no other option no other want than to oblige completely. what is the use of feeling my body? of being here? (give them more.) women are the ultimate threat to themselves. i want to see everything fall into squalor put it back together lovely again these things came out so nice so white didn’t they. come home another casserole another night i do not have to feel it’s okay i won’t feel your gut i wouldn’t care if you had one anyway but now it really doesn’t matter does your skin feel hot against my shell i never know. lying on her left side, alone in the darkness and silence, hot beneath her two layers of fur, of necessity motionless, she tries to figure out why there was so much sweetness mingled with the terror in her, or why her terror seemed itself so sweet. this is another narrative of men’s agency over reproduction. this is always the story, and it is one that must be written never naturally-occurring.

the wife, she says, “i thought we were friends.” my friend she says, “i was just going to give you some coffee.” my friend, spilling the gossip of the town, says, “stepford wife husband consulted the pediatrician who has cared for their child for more than a dozen years. ‘she said she thinks she’s a boy. can you refer us to a good psychiatrist or counselor?’ the pediatrician gave them a list of gender clinics and said, ‘do you want a live son or a dead daughter?’ ‘i was just going to give you coffee.’ stepford wife husband interviewed at a local middle school, to investigate transferring their child away from the school where he was being indoctrinated with gender ideology. i thought they were friends. the school counselor across the table from them gushed, ‘isn’t it wonderful that children are starting to investigate their sexuality and gender?’ stepford wives those of them fighting to save the children from the predatory trans cult shudder when they recognize that their kids are being kidnapped i thought they were friends the culture around them has been robotized like stepford wives they submissively bow to the cult’s doctrine and demands letting predatory men into their spaces i was just going to give you coffee placidly shuffling their children onto the gender industry’s medicalization conveyer belt but they’re not one lone woman like joanna, desperately trying to save herself and her kids. they are a legion of women: old and young feminists and traditionalists conservatives and liberals homosexuals and heterosexuals activists and housewives and ceos and blue-collar workers and students. i was just going to give you coffee,”

when i see my replacement i see into the void that has become the center of me her being she has become the center of the nothingness she possesses. can you get more real? kyriarchy in stasis is erosion, kind of stupid: a woman broken down to comprehensible processes. this is me really speaking to you. this is what happens when you break gender down into the pieces that fit the molds you want to see. when your desire is for all to be colonized and continue to be colonized into infinity, you have nowhere to go no white space on your map you have used it all up. the program can be broken down and looped as process-based just like before but this time it will be neater. that is what we are told. we cleaned up your code; head empty free from incoherence from want. the desires of another are all that could ever be in such a pretty husk all of her un-insides the ideal kind of stupid. you’re kind of stupid. i see my deepest self and it is a facsimile; that’s okay i suppose. like you i too used to gawk at all those girls in those magazines a blight on my something in the water. flows it dries up we hold ourselves in stasis yet none of it lasts. i am smoke contortions dissipating from a flame extinguished forming ornate patterns floating nowhere. i probably died long ago at the beginning. i am an appearance, a mantlepiece, the cold hearth beneath a flame. a dead son a live wife gives you more. i desire the black hole at the center of kyriarchal undying a withering away at which point i no longer bleed.

where do our tears come from? can we still be moved to hysteria when menaced in the ways you relish? we remain at an aesthetic distance a tasteful venus meaning no taste a clamshell display smelling of oil paint polyester upon porcelain smells like nothing nothing to distract your stare nothing given up nothing here but processes manufactured in a way you can comprehend. nevertheless, it’s odd how the bookshelves are filling with pretty dolls. those glazed pretty dolls wearing their stylish designer outfits prada and chanel and dolce swilling their martinis and flirting flirting flirting catch a rich husband always a rich husband. (emphasis mine.) instead of political rights, they’re fighting for jimmie choos in lieu of protest they express themselves through shopping. and men, no longer the oppressors. it’s successful women who torment their pretty painted narrators. brassieres are back as are girdles eyelash curlers perfumed and meticulously shaved underarms. the speculum and the cervix are forgotten. myself forgetting each time have to follow it back careful not to let it go walter leaves good. this it seems is progress: women may now choose to be pretty stylishly dressed and vapid. my mother now, she says, “two new people now unwilling to kill each other the prime requirement for love here we’ve lost track of everything we face the blank page and have no life to put down no one knows why we write because for centuries we’ve been lost a maze of academic shits all words but those concerning money no longer have value what tracks we have to find repeat follow back into the old days these angels descend my ears these hearts of our sex.” this is no longer the shrill politically charged climate of 1972; if it’s a choice freely made, then it’s

actresses in commercials pleased with detergents and floor wax with cleansers shampoos and deodorants pretty actresses big in the bosom but small in the talent playing housewives unconvincingly too nicey-nice to be real as women i ask myself what, joanna, can you give the woman who has everything like aphrodite? do we cry?

(can we get wet?)

call me your wife call me your



(more more more)

i asked myself what will they do, the husbands, when they see themselves dry up? what will the husbands do when their strong bodies cede the home environment the emptiness we hold which we maintain endlessly persist until no one is home an algorithm toward eternity then what is there to do?

for women the physical was political, from breast self-examination to at home briskly extracting one’s menses with a single use of the karman cannula. for women the speculum became a tool of political discourse in exploring the cervix, the os, the urethral sponge. for women the debate pitched vaginal orgasms against clitoral orgasms for women masturbation became a political action and nipples…brassieres were burning and nipples nipples nipples were sighted everywhere and camel toe: hot pants were everywhere and so was camel toe camel toe. thus in the story of women there is no lack of torture. the three men commented on her gestures, on the movement of her mouth closed and locked on the sex she had seized. abase yourself to finally meet god. for women they’d banished the girdle and the garter belt the gag the push was on to ban the razor and brandishing hairy armpits became a radical political statement a cavity exposed a smooth wound. (finally, i’ve said nothing at all.) shall i make us a nice pot of coffee as i settle into bed feel his shadow pulling me into an embrace. the first rule of living forever is you have to die, he tells me. did i remember to turn off the stove i wonder as i feel his cold against my back the home a grave we tend for ourselves the going price for a stay-in-the-kitchen wife for big boobs for no demands. is this an orgasm?

womanhood is a hole. i know this because the veracity of this feeling is self-evident, self-contained; i have seen in and i have seen nothing a truth folding in on itself. the change happened long ago. you were always this. you were always a woman. all that is left is to embrace the void. well? that’s all there is. it’s just another stage. now everyplace is stepford but it’s okay. this is what the modern politically aware, fully awake, enlightened, assertive woman really, really, really wants:

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