A poet portraying the mating dance in fiction by the nature of the art must portray only the essential elements. This is why Romeo and Juliet do not have a long courtship: we have one balcony scene and a secret wedding soon thereafter.There can be little doubt that those who preach equality in SF have badly damaged it. What they write isn't merely bad SF, it's simply bad literature, because it is quite literally based on lies. It is fiction that rings entirely false and entirely contrary to civilized norms. As Wright correctly notes, "introducing masculine traits to female characters does not make them strong, merely unrealistic to the point of dishonesty."
If the essential element of the female side of courtship is discovering the man’s true character, then a book like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, which is concerned with the misjudgment and the correction of misjudgment about a suitor’s character is the central theme, is the quintessential feminine book. Women, if they are feminine women, will be fascinated by a book such as this, as it will allow them in their imagination to play through the steps they themselves, if they are not to live as nuns, will go through, or which they went through as maidens.
Even if they were not at first more interested in love stories and the play of romance than little boys, a little girl should be encouraged by the cold logic of the circumstance in which she find herself to pay close attention to that one life-decision upon which so much of her happiness and success depends.
Girls who do not like love stories are well advised to learn to like them, because such stories deal with the essential and paramount realities on which much or most of that girl’s happiness in life will hinge.
Likewise, if the basic nature of the male side of courtship is overcoming obstacles between the suitor and the bride, then a book like A PRINCESS OF MARS is the quintessential masculine book. John Carter is so deeply in love with Deja Thoris that even death cannot hinder him, nor the wide uncrossed interrupt of interplanetary space, and he fights his way past men and monsters and Martians, red and green and yellow and black, all the way from the North Pole the South Pole in search of her, even though she is promised to another man.
These elements might strike a modern reader as offensive to the equality of women, particularly if the modern reader has been unwary enough to absorb modern ideas without examining them. This objection has always struck me as slightly comical. It is not the equality of the sexes that is at question in a story like A PRINCESS OF MARS. If memory serves, nearly every heroine of the several Barsoom books of Edgar Rice Burroughs and his many imitators is a princess. In other words, in such simple adventure stories the woman usually outranks the man. She is a princess and he is low born. He is in love not with an equal but with a superior, hence winning her heart is a more difficult victory, hence more satisfying a drama.
Likewise, on the distaff side of the equation, I note that the particular example I selected of an exemplary woman’s romance, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, it is Elizabeth Bennet who is lower in status than the proud and handsome Mr Darcy. Equality is not a part of the mating dance: the drama of such girlish tales comes from the humble girl, the Cinderella, winning the high and aloof prince, and likewise the drama of boyish tale comes from the humble boy winning the heart of the princess.
In that most famous homage to sciffy serial adventure, namely STAR WARS, please notice that it was a princess who needed rescuing. While the space farmboy Luke is low class enough to be a proper suitor when he becomes imbued with magic powers as a psionic Warlock-Samurai, he is no longer low enough in rank to be a satisfying suitor, and the lovable space rogue Solo the Smuggler is selected instead. And Luke is not the brother of the space princess until the third movie, a plot twist needed to eliminate any possible romantic interest.
But perhaps it is not the inequality of rank between space princess and space rogue that concerns us here. The objection is that the space hero does the rescuing, his is the initiative and the action, and he gets to fly the spaceship through the palace wall, whereas the space princess is given no role but to languish in prison, perhaps wearing chains or perhaps wearing a silky harem outfit, and await rescue. The inequality is between the active versus the passive role.
I submit that this is not inequality, and more than Fred leading and Ginger following during a stirring waltz is inequality. It is complimentary. Those who object that men should not lead in the dance, whatever they say, are not friends of women; they just want to stop the joy of the dance.
It's not an accident that this sort of nonsense is pushed by unattractive women and gamma males. The worthless nature and low self-esteem of the men and women who write Pink SF is readily apparent in this observation: "A woman perhaps will be offended at being portrayed as a prize; but none should be offended at being prized."
Can you imagine any heroic man wishing to bestir a finger to rescue the snarky shambling shoggoths of pink SF? He might do so out of human decency, but out of romantic inspiration? He'd rather have a beer with the villain.