I think the gender slant in this novel - though, like many of you, I wouldn't go so far as to use a more loaded term like "sexism" - comes through in the questions that define Pynchon's project more than any overt misogyny (or if there is, it has to do with the historical period, not authorial bias). To take Running Silent's example from another post of Pavlov/causality as gender neutral issues, I wonder: would a female author be so preoccupied with figuring out what-it-all-means, and be so disturbed when she cannot? I'm not going to engage the constructionist aspects of question here (e.g., "well what defines gender?"), but I will offer my two-cents about the history of critical theory. The publication of Gravity's Rainbow in 1973 coincided with the rise of a "postmodern" re-evaluation of traditional notions of (among a whole plethora of other things) the self in relation to the system, or what Pynchon seems to designate as "Them" - a kind of impersonal totality that is every-and-nowhere, mediating individual experience (like Slothrop's) in some kind of elusively hegemonic way. In any case, the point is that while much of this tradition has been more recently appropriated by female theorists - to interrogate things like the construction of gender - the vast majority of the seminal contributors to 1970's postmodernism were male. Althusser (Ideological State Apparatuses, 1971), Deleuze and Gautarri (1972, Anti-Oedipus), Foucault (Discipline and Punish, 1975), and Lyotard (1979, The Postmodern Condition), are four notable works by men that, despite their problems with "meta-narratives" (the kind of sweepingly "big picture" accounts of everything), are trying to encapsulate something rather "big picture" themselves. I think Pynchon does a good job of capturing the toll the search for meta-narratives, or trying to discern precisely who "They" are, can be; and not in noble, "it's hard work, but someone's got to it" way, but rather calling this mode of existence starkly into question. Are Roger and Pointsman right to try to systematize the war's landscape according to their respective overarching frameworks? What about Slothrop in his quest to figure out how he fits into Their masterplan? Can these characters help it? Does Pychon offer any alternative prescription? On a related note, Camille Paglia offers a fascinating account of the masculine mind; I would highly recommend Sexual Personae to everyone.