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Deploring Wendy Wasserstein's 'Heartless Stereotypes' of Women

October 21, 1990

Some comments about Wendy Wasserstein, the subject of Barbara Isenberg's Oct. 7 article, and Wasserstein's play, "The Heidi Chronicles":

I too am a sad person, serious and, yes, even sexy. I am also female, and I too go to a gym. (A story about a gym is an important part of Wasserstein's play.)

When I stand in the locker room after a workout, naked and sweaty and, yes, tired, I don't see "types" around me. I don't see tight jeans and power suits and super women, all my adversaries. I see other women just like me, naked, physical "flaws" for the others to see, insecure, vibrant, also tired, and all going through their day-to-day live trying desperately to remain hopeful.

How can I feel stranded when they are all reflections of myself? Yes, even the 27-year-old, single professional women that Wasserstein so heartlessly stereotypes.

And another thing. I have close friends who are "power" women in the entertainment industry. I have eaten lunch with them. Not once have I been dismissed or ignored the way Susan dismisses and ignores Heidi when Heidi is obviously in turmoil.

In fact, the friendships I have with women are just as compassionate, just as nurturing, just as passionate, as the friendships I have with men.

Why must the healthiest friendships in a play written by a woman about a woman's odyssey be those between a man and a woman? Why must Heidi's only consistent and long-term female friend abandon her over lunch? And why must Peter and Scoop get the best hugs?

CATHY REINKING

Santa Monica

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