Marion Zimmer Bradley’s daughter accuses her of abuse

Moira Greyland, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s daughter, recently disclosed that her mother abused her as a child. Bradley is a beloved fantasy writer, known for her feminist retelling of the King Arthur myth The Mists of Avalon. Greyland stated in an email :

The first time she molested me, I was three. The last time, I was twelve, and able to walk away.

I put Walter in jail for molesting one boy. I had tried to intervene when I was 13 by telling Mother and Lisa, and they just moved him into his own apartment.

I had been living partially on couches since I was ten years old because of the out of control drugs, orgies, and constant flow of people in and out of our family “home.”

None of this should be news. Walter was a serial rapist with many, many, many victims (I named 22 to the cops) but Marion was far, far worse. She was cruel and violent, as well as completely out of her mind sexually. I am not her only victim, nor were her only victims girls.

I wish I had better news.

I was familiar with Bradley’s work, although I never read it. I generally stay away from feminist fiction. I was not aware, however, of the long history Bradley had with sexual abuse. I did not know that her ex-husband Walter Breen was a convicted serial child rapist and a member of NAMBLA. I did not know that Bradley remained married to him despite knowing about his membership to the group. I did not know that in a 1998 deposition Bradley defended her husband’s abuse of several boys:

A significant theme of Zimmer Bradley’s answers in her 1998 deposition is the idea that very young teenagers ought to be able to make their own sexual decisions, including about whether to have sex with adults who proposition them. She rejects the idea that any element of coercion is possible in these interactions, particularly when a teenager is physically larger than an adult.

The allegations have rocked Bradley’s fans. Several fantasy and science fiction writers stated they would donate the royalties to their work to support organizations. I am confused as to why they would be so surprised given how apparently well-known Breen’s abuse was in the community. One would think that if Bradley separated from Breen yet remained friendly with him and published his work that she might not be bothered by his actions.

The feminist community has been largely silent about the allegations. I suspect that is mostly because the allegations are just now hitting mainstream news. We will see whether feminists will rally behind Bradley or regard her as a child rapist.

My guess is the former. That has already happened to an extent. People obviously do not want to come across appearing to support child rape. Yet they also find great political value in Bradley’s stories. So they quasi-defend her. They support her work, but not the abuse, even though it appears she worked her opinions about sex with children into her stories.

This presents a problem for feminists. Feminists are supposedly incapable of committing abuse because of their wondrous ideology, yet here is a prominent and beloved feminist author who supported a convicted child rapist, excused child rape, and raped her daughter and potentially other children. It smashes the notion that feminism magically makes women saints.

Bradley’s rationalization of child rape is also revealing. It is the same logic many feminists use when excusing women’s violence against men and boys. We have seen it from the likes of Amanda Marcotte, Jill Filipovic, Germaine Greer, Hugo Schwyzer, Jamie Utt, and Michael Flood. This is nothing new. It is unexceptional to find feminists rationalizing female abuser’s actions.

We will have to see how this turns out. Her fans are still dealing with it, and it appears the community at large is reeling from it as well. They have been forced to confront the reality of child abuse: sometimes the people we admire do horrible things.

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20 thoughts on “Marion Zimmer Bradley’s daughter accuses her of abuse

  1. Pingback: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s daughter accuses her of abuse | Manosphere.com

  2. Pingback: Feministische Autorin Marion Zimmer Bradley: Missbrauch der eigenen Tochter? | NICHT-Feminist

  3. Just posted your entire article over at Care2. I’ll be expecting some angry, defensive comments.

  4. Not only that, Tamen, but Marion didn’t so much as do a thing about it. Marion even continued supporting him.

  5. I see a pattern. Alice Walker’s daughter came out a few years ago and accused her of various kinds of abuse, not sexual as I recall, but plenty abusive stuff anyway. The reaction I the femisphere was sad acknowledgement – so maybe there is hope in this case too.

    What may make the difference, why this may cause them to circle the wagons, is the sexual aspect of it. For many of the people sexual predation is something males do to females, so an accusation of sexual predation against a woman runs up against a solid wall of dogma-driven denial.

    We will see.

  6. @ Ginkgo: “…so an accusation of sexual predation against a woman runs up against a solid wall of dogma-driven denial.”

    No doubt. This is an unprecedented dilemma for feminists. Having spent decades crafting their house of cards that “rape culture” is endemic to “the patriarchy,” this flies in the face of all that. While the vast majority of those sexually abused as children would never repeat the behavior, some do. By her own abusive actions, and the protection and enabling of her pedophile husband, she could well have created some of the rapists of tomorrow.

    Also, these kinds of situations, with the mother is involved in the sexual abuse of children, are the staging grounds for child pornography. Feminists deny female involvement with child porn even though back in the 80’s when the Feds busted the biggest distributor of child porn in Europe, it turned out to be a woman. In surveillance tapes she even bragged how “kiddie porn” bought the mink jacket she was wearing and the expensive sports car she was driving. One of the biggest collections of child porn busted belonged to a woman in Texas. Then there was the baby-sitter a few weeks back that made videos of herself having sex with the infant left in her care, and selling them to fellow pedophiles she met on Craigslist.

    This could be the feminist Achilles Heel. They will look bad no matter how they respond, even if they don’t respond at all. That’s why we need to force accountability on this issue. Look at the Ted Haggerty case. That pales in comparison to this level of hypocrisy and evil.

  7. Ginkgo, someone on r/mensrights linked to a post from a feminist subreddit in which several men raised by feminists recounted how their mothers made them ashamed of being male and afraid to interact with women out of fear of raping them. Most of the feminists commenting there found nothing odd about the accounts. No one said they were surprised to hear it. I suspect this kind of abuse is far more common than people expect. It has nothing to do with feminism per se. It is simply what with mass movements. Every mass movement has this abusive component because it is necessary in order to indoctrinate and control adherents. We see the same thing with religious groups. It is very common to hear about psychological, physical, and sexual abuse in those communities.

    I agree that the sexual aspect does prompt a more defensive response. I have experienced this numerous times. It does not matter how vague I am in describing what happened to me. I can say, “I was abused by a feminist” and find feminists declaring “feminism doesn’t cause child abuse” even though I never said it did.

  8. God I find it unfathomable that NAMBLA even existed, let alone was openly supported by popular writers like these and also Allen Ginsberg. Can’t help but think that it didn’t matter because boys were the victims. Then again child pornography was actually legal and displayed openly in porn shop windows in Amsterdam during the 70’s. People seem to draw a blank when it comes to child abuse.

    Ironic that it was lesbian groups that finally kicked NAMBLA out of gay rights parades.

  9. Rev, I doubt this is the feminist Achilles Heel. It is, however, an embarrassing instance of apologism and denial that many feminists do not want to face.

  10. I don’t know TS. Between a case like this one, and the relatively even-handed article about the men’s rights conference at MSNBC, the political tide seems to be turning. We’ll know when it comes to a 180 when a story like this one receives the same amount of media exploitation as the Ted Haggerty case. That may still happen with this story.

  11. While this may seem off topic I do believe it relevant.

    Warren Farrell, and by extension the mens rights movement, has been attacked over views he expressed in an interview some thirty of more years ago. I’ve been rabidly attacked for suggesting that he was thoroughly embedded in the feminist mind set and culture in the time in which he expressed those views and that they were more demonstrative of the feminist philosophy of that era than anything else. Zimmer Bradley is also a creation of that same culture. Farrell, to his credit, has changed his views and did so quite a long time ago.

    Modern feminism is largely a creation of the hippies and flower power and free love generation of the sixties. By the early eighties the broad mainstream support of that movement had become a bit complacent and the radicals, often quite bigoted separatists, gained more control over it’s actual direction. Radicals are generally fairly simplistic creatures and the tools they choose to apply are used as fairly blunt instruments lacking in sophistication and nuance. Thus the more recent feminism tends to use issues such as sexual assault and others as a battering ram and with much hyperbole.

    Decades ago I was very much into the Arthurian legends and had a beautifully bound copy of Mallory’s original writings – Le Morte d’Arthur – which was, unfortunately, stolen at some point. I did read Mists of Avalon shortly after it’s release and recall being somewhat disappointed. At the time I was a fairly radical feminist. However I also had a deep respect for older writings and legends and really didn’t enjoy seeing the Arthurian legends used for the purpose of feminist tracts which Mists clearly was.

  12. @revspinnaker…

    Then again child pornography was actually legal and displayed openly in porn shop windows in Amsterdam during the 70′s. People seem to draw a blank when it comes to child abuse.

    And in Australia circa 1980.

    Currently Germaine Greer’s The Boy is available through my local library. I’ve kicked up a fuss about it on quite a few occasions without success. In a meeting with the CEO a couple of years ago I asked if they would be willing to carry work by David Hamilton which involves girls and is quite a bit milder than Greer’s book. The response was a very strong “No”.

    Can’t help but think that it didn’t matter because boys were the victims.

    In 2008 the was a huge furore in Australia over a a couple of very mild photos of a young girl in an exhibition by photographer Bill Henson. David Marr – journalist who wrote an award winning book about those events – in an ABC interview expressed surprise that none of Henson’s earlier published work had caused a similar outcry. It involved boys of course. Marr had spent a year researching the Henson situation and yet was oblivious to the double standard until I communicated with him shortly after that ABC interview.

    Ironic that it was lesbian groups that finally kicked NAMBLA out of gay rights parades.

    Radical separatists who didn’t need NAMBLA because they had their own versions…

    http://www.familieslink.co.uk/pages/issues_childabuse.htm
    http://www.wnd.com/2002/07/14612/

  13. Rev, I do not think the political tide is turning. I think that people may dismiss men’s rights activists, but it is hard to dismiss the evidence they present. The studies and research support many of their complaints. The issue now is that the left cannot separate its need to placate feminists from its core desire to address the disenfranchised. If you can prove someone is disenfranchised, the left will jump on the cause. However, if it conflicts with their political correctness, they waver. That is what we are seeing.

  14. Greg, have you read Mordred? It is a re-telling of the legend from Mordred’s perspective. I have wanted to read the different Arthurian variants, but the only one I got through was the Dark Tower books. I found The Once and Future King too tedious, and did not get past the first eight pages.

  15. I had the same impression of the Once and Future King. Zimmer’s stuff was leaden and boring and just had a really juvenile quality to it.

    Actually of you like that stuff, go right back to the Mabinogi.

  16. The feminist community has been largely silent about the allegations. I suspect that is mostly because the allegations are just now hitting mainstream news. We will see whether feminists will rally behind Bradley or regard her as a child rapist.
    My money says they will largely stay silent…unless they decide to do a, “Okay fine MRAs. Yes a woman and feminist may have allegedly done something horrible. There I said it, happy now?” type post.

  17. Pingback: Beware Feminist Men! | Toy Soldiers

  18. Pingback: Yes, Joss Whedon is still a feminist | Toy Soldiers

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