After reading Justine Larbalestier's The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction, which was her PhD dissertation (or, thesis, as they'd call it in the British/Commonwealth educational system), I've been rounding up a bunch of the first women writers in the business, reading Connie Willis and Ursula K. LeGuin again, and now, Anne McCaffrey. Like old school science fiction written by men, the gender roles are... like, brittle antique, and some of what is said is hilarious and completely misogynistic. In McCaffrey's case, it's... weirdly backwards of what you'd expect, but still utterly wrong. Check this (and be warned, you might be slightly squicked, and/or think this is inappropriate -- if you're sensitive like that, stop now):
She quickly suppressed a flare of desire. This was not the time to intrude sex on his personal anguish. And she knew that her intense sexual hunger for him stemmed from a yearning for the child of his seed. A daughter, tall and fair, with Lajos's dimples in her cheek. A son, strongbacked and arrogant, with thick black straight hair.
This hunger for his child was so primal, it paralyzed the sophistication overlaid by education and social reflexes. Nowadays a woman was expected to assume more than the ancient duties required of her.
- To Ride Pegasus, by Anne McCaffrey
Whoa. Just... WHOA. And Oh. My. Word.
We've come a long way... in some direction, baby.
You can find Pegasus in Space and the rest of the Psionic Talents series (which, despite this icky paragraph, are good fun), as well as The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction at an independent bookstore near you!