Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

One Student's picture

The Heidi Chronicles: A Few Opening Questions

First impression of The Heidi Chronicles is pleasurable. Snappy dialogue, easy read. Pleasant and touching.

But I responded to someone a little while ago who said that straight girls are people, too, and who wanted to read about heterosexual ways to be feminist. What I think is problematic for the woman-attracted-to-men feminist who reads THC is that first of all Heidi does not have romance in her (happy?) ending and second that Heidi's happiness lies in her hopes for the future, her hopes for her daughter, not in her current happiness. Yes, Heidi isn't finding happiness in a man, and she isn't defining herself in reference to a man - both Peter and Scoop are important to her, but she is not their mother, sister, wife, girlfriend or lover (or by no means solely girlfriend/lover, in Scoop's case). That's good. That's something, right? But what about the heterosexual woman who wants romance in her happy ending, who wants marriage? THC, at least, doesn't provide a model for a heterosexual monogamous etc. marriage which is also feminist. I know how important models of queerness have been for me: we build on what comes before. Where is a model for a heterosexual monogamous etc. marriage which is also feminist? Possibly one of the other plays, which I don't have time to read right now ...

Another question which interests me is the alliance between women and gay men. For one thing, are all the good men gay? I've had women tell me that they'd like to turn lesbian which ... I don't exactly like hearing, even though I know they mean well. But not dealing with men doesn't make life peachy keen. Trust me, this is my seventh year of single-sex education, and I've never even tried to go out with a guy. People socialized as women tend to cause different kinds of trouble than people socialized as men. But they do cause trouble for the ones close to them, too.

(No, I don't think Heidi understands what it's like to be a gay man at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic when a whole generation of gay men were dying off from ridiculous and terrible diseases and before the disease was understood and before there were any effective medications; no, you can't understand another the nature of another person's suffering, you can only understand that they are suffering.)

Also, Scoop seems to need Heidi more than she needs him, and she breaks the traditional heterosexual mold more successfully than him - she's sad, but she's not staying in one place. Men get fucked by the patriarchy, too (I'm not even going to try to compare the way men and women and others are effected by the patriarchy; but it's not an Us vs. Them situation.) It's possible to argue that women have more resources with which to fight (they've needed them more?).

Reply

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
10 + 5 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.