Jesus fuck, someone writing sensibly about Heinlein for the first time in many years.
When I was plowing through the shelves of my local library, the few Heinlein books I discovered literally changed my life. They made more difference to my thinking and my approach to the world than any other books that I read at that time.
When I was 8 or 10, no one told me that women could be starship captains.
No one told me that sex didn’t have to be some fearful, shameful thing, and that women enjoyed sex, too.
No one told me that the future might be really different, and that we’d have things that I couldn’t even imagine, and that I might see and learn things that no one could even conceive of in a backwards hick 1980s North Florida town.
Heinlein did, and he was right; the future (now) is vastly different than where and how I grew up.
In the feminist rush to declare Heinlein an evil dead white male, they forget that he was writing about ideas and concepts that no one else at all was writing about, very subversively for the most part for his time, and that for young people like me who were living in places that nearly amounted to Christian fundie Bible camps, finding Heinlein on the shelf meant my mind had a chance to think far bigger thoughts than it would have without him.
I’d never even read or heard of an sf novel with a girl as the main character before I read Podkayne of Mars when I was 9 or so. (Hint: Because there weren’t really any.)
Heinlein was not perfect. But he was so much better than almost all else at the time and finding his novels on the shelf opened my world in ways that I am eternally grateful for.