The Stepford Wives?

By a Woman Graduate of Sterling

I liken the Sterling experience to [the movie] "The Stepford Wives." The odd thing about my experience is that I feel like the Katharine Ross character--who goes to [the community] Stepford and sees the modus operandi and is initially too strong to just give in.

I am dating a man involved in Sterling, but I have a strange feeling about our relationship. My reasoning is this--he is so steeped in Sterling, I am afraid he'll never get out. At first, he was loving, generous and patient--and he still is in many ways. But now he uses the lessons from Sterling as barriers for our communication and is dismissive.

I very hesitantly did the weekend. It wasn't a total loss--I did meet some interesting and very bright women, but I found myself unable to get emotionally involved in the process. Sterling attacked my burning questions, dismissing them as "stupid and "how dare you ask that!" One of [Justin Sterling's] flunkies snatched the microphone away from me. The only thing that made the weekend fun was meeting with women and hearing about their lives and knowing I am not alone.

One thing that baffles me is how many intelligent women feel so weak and submit to something like this. As for the individual who recruited me, I don't feel this person really cared about me. When I told this person I needed financial help, the person did nothing about it, but tell me how I was investing in myself.

I joined the weekly groups--thinking that maybe other women were better suited to answering questions like mine, but the sessions are just "training" to get us to recruit people. I had a heated exchange with the girls during one of our group meetings--but they didn't throw me out. I am amazed to what lengths they will go through. It's a shame, because I could be a friend with some of them if they weren't so dependent on [Justin Sterling's] theories.

Sterling promises "life-changing" things, but all I see is a hybrid Sam Kinnison/George Carlin type raking in money and an audience that does not know its the source of the laugh track. Plus, the vernacular language everybody uses is creepy.


One of the group leaders called me to tell me I was too masculine, career driven and obsessed. When I explained to her I needed to concentrate to keep the business I started alive and pay rent and bills--she says, "that's OK for men to be like that, but women should focus on being the healers". If I don't capitulate to this--I am therefore not a real woman. If these were the terms, then I would rather be mannish than be out on the street and starving to death. She also said--if I don't make myself more feminine, no man will ever love me and I will never have good relationships. Now, who died and made her god?

Also, the meetings profess to be about reaching goals and changing behavior, but nothing really gets done other than developing ways to recruit people. If you don't recruit anybody, they judge you.

Another odd phenomenon--a girlfriend of mine from college is now going to two Sterling things a week. It seems like in the town where this friend lives; every other person we run into is in a Sterling group. It is a real life "Stepford".

Copyright © 1998 Rick Ross
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