whswhs (whswhs) wrote,

Heinlein again

In the aftermath of reading Heinlein's letters, I took another look at several of his books, including the two late novels I can endure to read, Job and Friday. The latter is about a young woman who's been damaged in all kinds of ways, and is rebelling against it: Her society doesn't consider her to be human, a number of countries would kill her if they identified her, the churches believe she has no soul, and most people like her ("artificial persons") are subject to indentures imposed without their consent—that is, slavery. This is not something Heinlein is advocating; his entire oeuvre is filled with hatred of slavery and its excuses, and Friday in particular makes it clear that Friday has been deeply injured. And yet . . . we learn about Friday's indoctrination regarding sexual conduct, including the things that were "not tolerated" in her attitudes toward it; and, disturbingly, they're an almost exact fit to the attitudes Heinlein himself portrayed a lot of women characters in his other novels as holding.

It also bothers me that we see Friday approached sexually by several other women, and accepting it, and in one case becoming part of a couple with another woman for several weeks; and yet the action mostly evades any consummation of those approaches, and in the one case where it doesn't, the sexual activity is kept offstage. It gives me the impression that Heinlein wasn't comfortable with lesbianism, and I really wish he had not tried to write about it.
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