The Stepford Wives is a 1972 satirical horror novel by Ira Levin. The story concerns Joanna Eberhart, a photographer and young mother who suspects the submissive housewives in her new idyllic Connecticut neighbourhood may be robots created by their husbands.
The premise involves the married men of the fictional Fairfield County town of Stepford, Connecticut and their fawning, submissive, impossibly beautiful wives. The protagonist is Joanna Eberhart, a talented photographer newly arrived from New York City with her husband and children, eager to start a new life. As time goes on, she becomes increasingly disturbed by the submissive wives of Stepford who seem to lack free will, especially when she sees her once independent-minded friends, fellow new arrivals to Stepford, turn into mindless, docile housewives following a romantic weekend. Her husband, who seems to be spending more and more time at meetings of the local men’s association, mocks her fears.
The term “Stepford wife” entered common use in the English language after the publication of Levin’s book.