I was googling Cynthia Heimel for Awesome Woman of the Day and was shocked to see her pitiful Wikipedia entry and it’s three meager paragraphs.
To me, Heimel is HUGE, a groundbreaking, sexy, funny, feminist, smart writer. While women’s magazines were giving me advice in 1986 like, “Wear red shoes because men like them,” Heimel came out with the satirical--but kind of not--book Sex Tips For Girls. In it, she recommended I FIRST figure out what the hell I actually liked, then proceed from there. For my 1986 self (embarrassingly enough) this was big news.
I like what Amanda Krauss’ wrote in her blog, Worst Professor Ever about Heimel:
...I write because of Cynthia Heimel. In addition to writing several books, Cynthia Heimel was a columnist for The Village Voice, then Playboy. Why Playboy? Because they let her say what she wanted, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. She was too sexy for Ms., too funny to be a “serious” intellectual, and too angry to appear in “women’s” magazines. I’ve always thought she would have been even more successful had she written in the internet age. (She’s not dead or anything, she’s just not writing regularly as far as I can tell.)Cynthia Heimel thought that women could read Proust and discuss fashion, that they could like men and still be feminists, and that, while they were laughing, they still had a right to get angry about inequality. Also, men like her writing. I can’t tell you the number of times a guy’s been helping me move and I’ve found him reading my copy of Sex Tips for Girls. Cynthia Heimel is funny and angry and fashionable and sexy and smart, and I still don’t see “women’s” magazines (or blogs) doing what she did.
Cynthia Heimel is a playwright, television writer, and the author of several satirical books which are aimed primarily at a female readership. To those who have heard of her but have not read her books, her works are probably best known for their unusual titles.