Robert Heinlein

Sarah Hoyt has some thoughts on the man who loved women:

While I didn’t read Heinlein for his female characters – unlike toddlers and some of my colleagues, I can identify with and enjoy the adventures of characters not exactly like me – it was freeing, mind-expanding that Heinlein had women as space explorers, making their home on the final frontier, facing down danger with his male characters, and often being the voice of reason, the voice of sanity or the voice of daring.

His women lived lives they chose and were as competent as men when they needed to be while being still, undeniably female, and not giving up any of their own unique abilities and characteristics. They were space pilots, and secret agents (and yes, they used female razzle dazzle, because in jobs you use all that you are. No, that didn’t make them inferior) homesteaders on Mars, women who could and did fight against alien invaders.

Heinlein’s women were an integral part of the human race, capable of contributing to the survival of the species by all means necessary. Sure, they wanted to have children, because a species without children doesn’t survive, but they also stood ready to fight for and protect those children, and carry humanity into the future.

I was reminded of this, recently, while listening to the Moon landing day interviews with Robert A. Heinlein, where he makes the case for having women astronauts, (just as capable as men, weigh less, etc.) but in the next breath says that all of humanity needs to go to space: men, women, and children.

It is clear he doesn’t think women should be held back, either because they’re thought inferior or out of some misguided notion they need to be protected.

But at the same time, it is equally clear that his vision of humanity — the two halves of humanity, unequal but complementary, different but equal in rights and in abilities – is one of a species that goes to the stars, both sexes, all ages.

So to my colleagues, offended by aprons and parturition, I say, that’s fine. You play on Earth and pretend there’s no difference between men and women, and try to convince us that women deserve to rule by virtue of being victims.

I too, love, love, love women. They are my favorite people. They (or at least the best ones) have always been my best friends. And, I should add, I think that Naomi in The Expanse is a classic Heinleinian woman.

12 thoughts on “Robert Heinlein”

  1. Naomi is a perfect RAH heroine. Yes indeed.

    And now is the time for the Firesign Theatre joke about Naomi…

    (A bit of preening on my part: I was the chair of The Heinlein Centennial, in 2007 – now ten years ago. In Kansas City, MO, 7/7/07)

  2. de Toqueville wrote on women:

    Hence it is that the women of America, who often exhibit a masculine strength of understanding and a manly energy, generally preserve great delicacy of personal appearance and always retain the manners of women although they sometimes show that they have the hearts and minds of men.

    I think Heinlein’s characters showed a strength in women that was villified later by modern feminism. It didn’t fit the narrative that earlier generations of women were victims.

  3. Unfortunately, our cultural leaders have decided that to elevate the status of women, they must denigrate the status of men. There is a reason MGTOW is becoming a phenomenon in this country.

    1. There is a reason MGTOW is becoming a phenomenon in this country.

      I think that’s because “Men Going Their Own Way” sounds much more dignified than “Men Who Can’t Get Laid”.

        1. MGTOWs are discriminating. Anyone can get laid.

          Ken, I apologize if I offended but I can’t help thinking that a man calling himself a MGTOW is sort of like a woman calling herself a BBW – they’re both just making a virtue of a necessity.

  4. “I think that Naomi in The Expanse is a classic Heinleinian woman.”

    This. So much this.

    TE had a significant presence at SDCC (made the panel–outstanding!), and even managed to snag a copy of the season 2 blue rays at SDCC’s “The Expanse Experience”. Hopefully it will continue on SyFy, BUT:

    If you’re a true SF fan, READ THE BOOKS FIRST. I haven’t enjoyed reading SF this much since the last time I read an RAH work for the first time (let’s just say that’s been while…). Total immersion, incredible world building. These guys are good…

  5. I was wondering when “The Expanse” would get mentioned here.
    SPOILER ALERT for those who haven’t seen /read it yet.
    Great fun but I have a few problems with it. I’ve seen the first two seasons and the first book and am half way through the second book. I do intend to read them all.
    They spun up Ceres to 1/3 g at the surface. What holds it together?
    They are importing ice from Saturn’s rings to CERES? What happened to all the water there?
    250 years or so in the future Epstein dies because his spaceship doesn’t have auto cutoffs or voice over rides?
    Yeah I liked Miller, Alex, Amos, Avasarala and Bobbie but near the end of the second season on TV Naomi turns into a real little SJW. I was about ready to push her out an airlock without a vac suit. So was my wife. Holden too. Least sympathetic protagonist I’ve seen in a long time. Gets people killed for nothing so his precious sensibilities aren’t hurt.

  6. The perfect RAH heroine was Virginia Heinlein.

    Boys, if you can find a woman willing to carry you on her back for miles after you’ve had a stroke, you oughta consider marrying that girl.

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