In the 2004 remake, the men can brainwash their wives to absolute control. What if it could be applied to human trafficking?
If the men kill off their wives simply to have versions of them that had no hobbies or lives of their own, who's to say they wouldn't do the same when their daughters were old enough? And suppose they groomed their daughter's boyfriends/husbands or their own sons into the practice? The whole thing could conceivably go on for generations!
Or even worse, they could just replace everyone else that doesn't agree with their views, regardless of gender. What if some of the husbands are actually robots themselves programmed to agree with the chauvinist elite of the Men's Association?
The Pilgrim family who previously occupied Joanna and Walter's house moved out after only two months. It takes three months to build a robot wife, so clearly, the Pilgrims wanted out before the process could be completed. What happened there? Did the husband get cold feet? Did the wife have a realization like Joanna's and escape? Or maybe...they didn't actually move out.
More Fridge Sadness than Horror. Several of the original wives were Moms, like Joanna and her friends, they even visit a Stepford Wife who says she has several young children with the youngest being three. It hits you that the husbands are so selfish and callous, that not only do they not regard their wives as people with their own interests and right to live life to their fullest, but they care more about their wants than about their children. Robots can't really emote, empathize, or give realistic advice; Stepford will not only be a town full of sex toy/housecleaning robots and serial killer misogynists, but also of really confused and broken kids who didn't know they lost their Mothers.
Veers back into Horror after the conversation Joanna has with one of Bobby's children, who's unaware that his mom's been robotized. The kid likes that his parents seem to be getting along better than ever and that his mom stays home, makes hot meals, and never yells at them anymore—as any kid would, even though he's suspicious about the reasons: "I hope it lasts," he tells Joanna, "but I bet it won't." This is a little boy who is very likely going to grow up believing that this is how women should behave...leading to another generation of Stepford Wives.
Almost all the families in Stepford have young children, and judging by the way the realtor plays up this fact, it seems very likely that they encourage couples with kids to move there. Why? Robots can't have children. If you plan to be a family man, you'd better already have 'em when you get there.
It's also likely that younger kids wouldn't be as suspicious about any changes in their moms, and even if they are, they're too young to make any serious effort to discover why.
There are few teenagers in town (the girl who babysits the kids one night) but it's implied they may be rather self-absorbed to notice anything up with their parents.
Because Claire wasn't motivated by the need for wealth, but madness spawned when she caught her husband fucking another woman and killed both of them. She only played up the sex bot angle to get the men to go along with the plan, with full intention of having them be stepfordized once she got enough couples in the town to satisfy her plot to run a town filled with stepfordized people.
Well, that's the answer in the remake. As for the original, possibly because the government and the media would get involved, and the husbands would then face consequences for murdering their wives?
While never explicitly stated, it appears that Stepford was specifically created as an enclave for recruiting a very particular demographic: successful, well-off family men with liberated feminist wives. All of the men in Stepford are family men in established marriages; all are comfortably upper-middle-class; all are in lines of work that would particularly benefit building the robots (often in surprising ways: an illustrator famous for drawing pin-up art now does the prototype sketches of the future wives; a world-renown linguist does voice recordings not only to make the robot voices natural, but also to create a vocabulary algorithm that prevents the wives from having any but a limited set of ideas and interests). The one thing their success couldn't get them? A compliant, devoted wife. Short answer: money was never the issue. Having exactly the sort of life they felt they deserved was. And as the person above points out, why would you risk exposure and prosecution when your life's perfect?
If the wives in the remake are just regular people with microchips implanted in their skulls, then how come they're resistant to fire? How come they can work as an ATM?
Some of this can be explained through nanomachines (it's mentioned briefly during the scene where Walter reverses the "Stepford Programming". No explanation for the ATM bit, however.
I think that the only explanation was that SOME of the stepford wives were actual robots for the men who lack wives, and these were the ones with the ATM installed along with the more robotic features. The other men who already had wives were ones that were modified with the microchips. We know that the villains could build lifelike robots, in the case of Christopher Walken's character. It just makes sense.
There's also the possibility of many of the wives becoming cyborgs which would still account for some things.
Joanna, Bobbi and Roger are pretty awful people in the 2004 version, yet we're supposed to side with them because...?
They're the only ones interested in stopping the conspiracy.
Can't they stop it by dying? Horribly and painfully? Because they're so bad they make Rooting for the Empire the default mode for the movie.
Because you don't deserve to have your willpower taken away and to be subject to the whims of someone else because of minor character flaws. Even being unsympathetic, they were still human beings. Perceived flaws aren't a justification for domestic abuse. A teacher can't hit a student for misbehaving. The bad thing is still bad separate from the impetus.
Charmaine is the first and only person who actually "changes" before Bobbie and Joanna's eyes. But Charmaine was already beautiful (she's compared to Raquel Welch, widely considered to be one of the most beautiful actresses in the world), so her robot version wouldn't need much alteration; it's her attitude that needed adjusting. If she had undergone a dramatic physical change as well as a personality swap, Joanna and Bobbie might have caught on to the robot angle sooner. By the time Bobbie "changes" and the physical alterations are undeniable, Joanna is left alone to witness it and she's trapped. Charmaine had to be extraordinarily beautiful for plot reasons!
The reason Joanna and Bobbie didn't balk at Charmaine's personality changing? They did speak of her as being a bit shallow (albeit to the level of someone who'd watch a marathon of Talk Shows and Reality Tv rather than someone who is more invested in surface appearances with no character), has a It's All About Me view of life, and Joanna seemed to agree with Walter about how Ed needed to "lay down the law": as friendly as they are with Charmaine, they probably thought she needed to make more effort into her home and focus on subjects outside herself and her interests.
How was Joanna in the 2004 film able to emulate a Stepford Wife so perfectly? As she put it to Bobbie, she used to work in television! Whether she started out as a fledgling actress into a media mogul or climbed the career ladder, Professional Joanna knew how to play whatever game she needed to play in order to reach her goals, even changing her persona to suit her needs. She was probably at one time a very guile and sweet assistant, knowing she'd have to tone down her aggressive personality if she wanted to make it to the top!
Given how flirtatious she was with Mike at the ball, one wonders if she might have been as coquettish in her younger and hungrier years, relying on her sex appeal and brains to get ahead. Or rather she knew how to tell people things they want to hear.