There has been some discussion of sexism in roleplaying games on the internet, among which John Kim's interesting and shocking Gender Roles in RPG Texts. Although Salvatore's books are not roleplaying games, the fact that they are official TSR-published novels set in one of the most popular roleplaying settings in history makes them relevant to this discussion. And boy, these books are so sexist that I couldn't believe what I was reading.
Not that Salvatore ever says anything like "women are inferior to men". I suspect that he is not even aware of his own sexism, and that - what is even worse - most of his readers never notice it. But look beyond the surface, and what you see will not make you happy.
- The corrupted elves known as the drow are also the only elves with a matriarchal society.
- All dark elfs in the book are evil, except for two. Both of these good dark elfs are male.
- Drizzt Do'Urden is good because his father was also good - the implication being that blood carries morality - but Drizzt's full sister is evil. Perhaps the father's blood wasn't strong enough to defeat the inherent evilness of women?
- Two drow characters in the series show some understanding of what it means to be a father. However, none of the drow females in the books has anything even approaching a mother instinct. In fact, they seem to believe that sacrificing your just-orn baby to the spider goddess is the most normal thing in the world.
- About one thousand times Salvatore shows us how male drow are humiliated and repressed by female drow. Presumably, we should be appalled by this. But when Drizzt comes into contact with a human society where the men make all important decisions, he does not even seem to realise that the same kind of humiliation and repression is going on here.
- All characters in the books that excel in any way are men. There are women who are said to excel, but they are never shown in action. Quite in general, the men always defeat the women.
- The strong drow males are strong because of their own innate and trained powers. The strong drow females are strong only because they have been given powers by the spider goddess Lolth. As soon as they fall out of Lolth's favour, they are helpless. In other words: female power is unnatural.
- Even worse, the actual women in the series fall out of Lolth's favour because they are not effective enough at humiliating ans repressing their men. In other words: female power is unnatural and can only be sustained by repressing the natural power of males.
- Then, we get to sexuality. Salvatory luckily spares us the details, but the ritual that is the graduation ceremony of the drow schools consists of (1) all students are dragged into a sexual orgy by the priestesses of Lolth; and (2) the best of the student-priestesses has the honour of having intercourse with a huge demon. Alle women are whores who prefer fucking rough beasts?
- To make that point worse, one of Drizzt's sister already has lustful thoughts about him the moment he is born.
- Drizzt's father is a good drow, which is frowned upon, but his Matron Mother allows him to live for two reasons. (1) He is the greatest fighter in the realm. (2) He is very good in bed. A single good man surviving by impressing the evil tyrant women with his sexual prowess? In your dreams, mister Salvatore!
If you search for "drow + sexism" on the net, you will find people talking about the sexism of the drow, where they mean the fact that the drow themselves are sexist because they repress men. Isn't it ironic that in trying to show the evils of sexism, people like Salvatore actually reveal themselves to be sexist?