The S.C.U.M. Bag
a review of
S.C.U.M. Manifesto by Valerie Solanas. Olympia Press, 1968, Paperback 75 cents.
Miss Solanas, best known for trying to cut up Andy Warhol with a .38, presents a “rationale and program of action for SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) which will eliminate through sabotage all aspects of society not relevant to women (everything). It will bring about a complete female take-over, eliminate the male sex and begin to create a swinging, groovy, out-of-sight female world.”
One of the best achievements is a put-down of the worldwide concept of female inferiority, of Aristotle and Freud, the best theorists the world has to offer on female inferiority. She states, “The male is a biological accident: the Y (male) gene is an incomplete X (female) gene that is, an incomplete female. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples. The male is completely egocentric, is trapped inside himself. His responses are entirely animal, visceral, not mental, cerebral; his intelligence is a mere tool in the service of his drives and needs.” He has, in other words, “pussy envy.”
She describes some elemental truths of our society: “the male is obsessed with screwing; he’ll swim a river of snot, wade nostril-deep through a mile of vomit, if he thinks there’ll be a friendly pussy awaiting him. He’ll screw a woman he despises, any snaggle-toothed hag, and further, pay for the opportunity.” And he’ll also screw babies and corpses.
The publisher, Maurice Girodias, has written a real out-of-it preface, which is better to forget. The poor man is sympathetic but doesn’t know a shit about it: “women themselves have been remarkably slow in seizing opportunities and in imposing their influence and their true power on man’s society,” he says (emphasis mine). (What is woman’s true power—is he so out of it he means sex, or feminine wiles?)
What he doesn’t seem to know is that women have never had the “opportunities,” and never will have as long as we have this system we have now. They are not “free” because they have the vote. Men “gave” us the vote, as they so proudly proclaim. If women were equal, then men still wouldn’t think that it was super that they “gave” us the right to vote as if it were something we should be grateful for.
Paul Krassner, who “comments” on the Manifesto has some things to say about tolerance but doesn’t know much about Solanas. Both try to make her a fool, both laugh, but I’m really astounded that a woman hasn’t killed twenty-three people from the Tower in Houston, Texas, like John Whitman did a few years ago.
Solanas comes up with a radical analysis for complete social change. “No genuine social revolution can be accomplished by the male, as the male on top wants the status quo, and all the male on the bottom wants is to be the male on top. The male ‘rebel’ is a farce. This is a male’s ‘society,’ made by him to satisfy his needs,” she states.