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.