Okay, hold up.
My DnD group encouraged me to familiarize myself with the lore of the Forgotten Realms, since we’re running our campaign in Faerun. I always saw the books on the shelves, growing up, but I confess I’d only read one of them — Dragons of Autumn Twilight — and that only as part of a calculated wooing initiative. But my character, as a multiclassing bard, ought to know, I was told, something about Drizzt Do’Urden. So I picked up the first of his backstory trilogy.
Only to encounter, from the self-proclaimed god of DnD lore, no less, terrible writing, laughably sexist fantasy norms, and this in a world where women who write consistently better fiction are derided as sex-crazed whore posting lewd fanfic on the internet, whereas auteurs like R.A. Salvatore get to pen gems like this:
1.) “striking lavender orbs”
2.) Drow are evil because they’re dark (…) but also, hurr hurr, because their society is matriarchal and women who don’t like men or who fuck who they want are evil, duh. But of course they have to assert their matriarchal power with whips that end in snake heads because Penises Ueber Alles amiright?
3.) “striking lavender orbs”
4.) Obviously sexually free women are estrogen-crazed harlots capable of finding infants attractive (?!?!?!?!) or of forecasting the development of said attraction in the future. Because you know. Harlots.
5.) Striking. Lavender. Orbs.
There is a certain amount of sexism in my DnD group anyway, I know. Half of them are ex-military. I expect that from them, even if I’m disappointed by it. I pick my battles. And it’s true that my own childhood favorites wouldn’t hold up too well under a modern gaze, either — I’m looking at you, Wheel of Time, which I end up miserably defending more often than I like to note. But still.
Striking lavender orbs?!
I care little for the desultory dismissal by most of the internet of women who are out there writing well. I know how most of the internet works. But it’s the desultory dismissal by men I know, supposedly progressive, who have daughters, who act like they are somehow paving the way, with their own behavior, to make the world a better place for said daughters when they come of age into it, that bug me. These same people hold male writers like this up as shimmering beacons of fantasy writing achievement, while simultaneously shitting on women writing more and better, for free.
That nettles me to no end.
You want to be some judgey douchebag on the internet, fine. Join the club. But don’t strut around pretending you care about women, about your precious daughters, when you promote dross like this as the best fantasy has to offer, and dismiss “those internet sexpots” as just that.
Because I mean. We are completely capable of smashing your orbs until they are well and truly lavender, my dudes. And most of you wouldn’t particularly enjoy the experience.