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SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanas

by Natasha Abrahams (follow)
Non-Fiction (83)      Women writers (35)      Feminist (29)     

SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanas
AK Press edition of the SCUM Manifesto by Valeria Solanas.

Valerie Solanas and her vitriolic SCUM Manifesto often appear in anti-feminist quote lists that attempt to show how messed up and extreme feminists are. Many of these quotes are taken out of context or from fictional works, but the SCUM Manifesto and its unapologetic rage is actually real.

The SCUM Manifesto disparages men and catalogues their many failings, proposing a program of female control. It is a fairly extreme book and there is a danger that readers may take it too literally. It is not a likable book, nor is it meant to be.

The importance of the SCUM Manifesto is often overstated by anti-feminists; it is not the seminal text it is often made out to be. Rather than being founded on women's experiences and reasoned argument like most important feminist texts are, the SCUM Manifesto is rife with generalisations and rambling.

I had assumed that "SCUM" referred to men, but the word is actually used by Solanas to refer to women. SCUM women are revolutionaries, who destroy capitalist and patriarchal society by destroying useless objects such as cars and "great art" and by taking over broadcast media.

The AK Press edition I read concluded with a biography of Solanas, which contextualises her book and her attempted murder of Andy Warhol. The SCUM Manifesto does not stand on its own; it makes much more sense in retrospect, knowing more about Solanas as a person.

The SCUM Manifesto is fairly short, at just under fifty easy-to-read pages. It is not difficult to find copies on the internet for free.

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