Valerie Solanas

American radical feminist and author (1936-1988)

Valerie Solanas (9 April 1936 – 26 April 1988) was an American feminist. She is notable for writing SCUM Manifesto and having shot Andy Warhol.



(This is from a photocopy by Northwestern University of the 1967 original.)

  • "Life" in this "society" being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of "society" being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and eliminate the male sex.
    • p. [1].
  • It is now technically feasible to reproduce without the aid of males (or, for that matter, females) and to produce only females. We must begin immediately to do so. Retaining the male has not even the dubious purpose of reproduction.
    • p. [1].
  • The male is a biological accident: the y(male) gene is an incomplete x(female) gene, that is, has an incomplete set of chromosomes. In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion.... To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples.
    • p. [1] ("y(male)" & "x(female)" spaceless in original).
  • The male is completely egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of empathizing or identifying with others, or love, friendship, affection or tenderness. He is a completely isolated unit, incapable of rapport with anyone. His responses are entirely visceral, not cerebral; his intelligence is a mere tool in the services of his drives and needs; he is incapable of mental passion, mental interaction; he can't relate to anything other than his own physical sensations. He is a half-dead, unresponsive lump, incapable of giving or receiving pleasure or happiness; consequently, he is at best an utter bore, an inoffensive blob, since only those capable of absorption in others can be charming.
    • p. [1]
  • He ["the male"] is trapped in a twilight zone halfway between humans and apes, and is far worse off than apes, because he is, first of all, capable of a large array of negative feelings that the apes aren't - hate, jealousy, contempt, disgust, guilt, shame, disgrace, doubt - and, secondly, he is aware of what he is and isn't.
    • p. [1] (hyphens so in original (en-dashes probably not available on most typewriters in 1967)).
  • To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he's a machine, a walking dildo. It's often said that men use women. Use them for what? Surely not pleasure.
    • p. [1]
  • Eaten up with guilt, shame, fears and insecurities and obtaining, if he's lucky, a barely perceptible physical feeling, the male is, nonetheless, 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. Why? Relieving physical tension isn't the answer, as masturbation suffices for that. It's not ego satisfaction; that doesn't explain screwing corpses and babies.
    • pp. [1]–2 (page break between "pay for" & "the opportunity") (commas in "he despises, any snaggle-toothed hag, and, further, pay for" presumed despite horizontal line truncation in source, due to consistency with copy of same edition from The Andy Warhol Museum (Jansen, Sharon L., Reading Women's Worlds from Christine de Pizan to Doris Lessing: A Guide to Six Centuries of Women Writers Imagining Rooms of Their Own (N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan, 1st ed. Apr., 2011 ISBN 978-0-230-11066-3, p. 143 (author a teacher)).
  • Completely egocentric, unable to relate, empathize or identify and consisting of a vast, pervasive, diffuse sexuality, the male is psychically passive. He hates his passivity, so he projects it onto women, defines the male as active, then sets out to prove that he is ("prove he's a Man"). His main means of attempting to prove it is screwing (Big Man with a Big Dick tearing off a Big Piece). Since he's attempting to prove an error, he must "prove" it again and again. Screwing, then, is a desperate, compulsive attempt to prove he's not passive, not a woman; but he is passive and does want to be a woman.
    • p. 2.
  • Being an incomplete female, the male spends his life attempting to complete himself, become female. He attempts to do this by constantly seeking out, fraternizing with and trying to live through and fuse with the female and by claiming as his own all female characteristics - emotional strength and independence, forcefulness, dynamism, decisiveness, coolness, objectivity, assertiveness, courage, integrity, vitality, intensity, depth of character, grooviness, etc. - and projecting onto women all male traits - vanity, frivolity, triviality, weakness, etc. It should be said, though, that the male has one glaring area of superiority over the female - public relations. He has done a brilliant job of convincing millions of women that men are women and women are men.
    • p. 2 (hyphens (not en- or em-dashes) so in original).
  • The male claim that females find fulfillment through motherhood and sexuality reflects what males think they'd find fulfilling if they were female.
    • p. 2.
  • Women, in other words, don't have penis envy; men have pussy envy. When the male accepts his passivity, defines himself as a woman (Males as well as females think men are women and women are men), and becomes a transvestite he loses his desire to screw (or to do anything else, for that matter; he fulfills himself as a dragqueen) and gets his cock chopped off. He then derives a continuous diffuse sexual feeling from "being a woman." Screwing is, for a man, a defense against his desire to be female. Sex is, itself, a sublimation.
    • p. 2 ("Males" & "dragqueen" so in original).
  • Every man, deep down, knows he's a worthless peice of shit.
    • p. 2 ("peice" so in original, probably intended as "piece").
  • The male has a negative Midas Touch - everything he touches turns to shit.
    • p. 5 (hyphen (not en- or em-dash) so in original).
  • Our "society" is not a community, but merely a collection of isolated family units. Desperately insecure, fearing his woman will leave him if she's exposed to other men or to anything remotely resembling life, the male seeks to isolate her from other men and from what little civilization there is, so he moves her out to the suburbs, a collection of self-absorbed couples and their kids. Isolation, further, enables him to try to maintain his pretense of being an individual by being a "rugged individualist", a loner, equating non-co-operation and solitariness with individuality.
    • p. 7 (line break in "non-"/"co-operation").
  • A true community consists of individuals - not mere species members, not couples - respecting each others individuality and privacy while at the same time interacting with each other mentally and emotionally - free spirits in free relation to each other - and co-operating with each other to achieve common ends. Traditionalists say the basic unit of "society" is the family; "hippies" say the tribe; noone says the individual.
    • p. 7 (hyphens (not en- or em-dashes) so in original; "others" so in original, probably intended as "other's"; line break across "inter-"/"acting"; "noone" so in original, probably intended as "no one").
  • Although wanting to be an individual, the male is scared of anything about him that's the slightest bit different from other men; it causes him to suspect he's not really a "Man," that he's passive and totally sexual, a highly upsetting suspicion. If other men are A and he's not, he must be not a man; he must be a fag. So he tries to affirm his "Manhood" by being like all the other men. Differentness in other men, as well as in himself, threatens him; it means they're fags, who he must, at all costs, avoid, so he tries to ensure that all other men conform.
    • p. 8.
  • The male dares to be different to the degree that he accepts his passivity and his desire to be female, his fagginess. The farthest out male is the dragqueen, but he, although different from most men, is exactly like all other dragqueens; like the functionalist, he has an identity - a female; he tries to define all his troubles away - but still no individuality. Not completely convinced that he's a woman, highly insecure about being sufficiently female, he conforms compulsively to the man-made feminine stereotype, ending up as nothing but a bundle of stilted mannerisms.
    • p. 8 ("dragqueen", "dragqueens", & hyphens (not en- or em-dashes) so in original).
  • To be sure he's a "Man," the male must see to it that the female be clearly a "Woman," the opposite of a "Man," that is, the female must act like a faggot. And Daddy's Girl, all of whose female instincts were tromped out of her when little, easily and obligingly adapts herself to the role.
    • p. 8.
  • The male is just a bundle of conditioned reflexes, is incapable of a mentally free response, is tied to his early conditioning, is determined completely by his past experiences. His earliest experiences are with his mother, and he is throughout his life tied to her. It never becomes completely clear to the male that he is not part of his mother, that he is him and she is her.
    • p. 5.
  • His greatest need is to be guided, sheltered, protected and admired by Mama (Men expect women to adore what men shrink from in horror - themselves), and, being completely physical, he yearns to spend his time - that's not spent "out in the world" grimly defending against his passivity - in wallowing in basic animal activities - eating, sleeping, shitting, relaxing and being soothed by Mama. Passive, rattle-headed Daddy's Girl, ever eager for approval, for a pat on the head, for the "respect" of any passing piece of garbage, is easily reduced to Mama, mindless administrator to physical needs, soother of the weary, apey brow, booster of the puny ego, appreciator of the contemptible, a hot water bottle with tits.
    • pp. 5–6 (capitalization of "Men" so in original; hyphens (not en- or em-dashes) so in original; page break between "soother of" & "the weary").
  • [T]he male .... tries to convince himself and women - he's succeeded best at convincing women - that the female function is to bear and raise children and relax, comfort and boost the egos of the male, that her function is such as to make her interchangeable with every other female. In actual fact, the female function is to relate, groove, love and be herself, irreplacable by anyone else; the male function is to produce sperm. We now have sperm banks.
    • p. 6 (hyphens (not en- or em-dashes); "the egos of the male" so in original & "irreplacable" so in original).
  • In actual fact, the female function is to explore, discover, invent, solve problems crack jokes, make music - all with love. In other words, create a magic world.
    • p. 6.
  • Love can't flourish in a "society" based on money and meaningless work, but rather requires complete economic, as well as personal, freedom, leisure time and the opportunity to engage in intensely absorbing, emotionally satisfying activities which, when shared with those you respect, lead to deep friendship, but which our "society" provides practically no opportunity to engage in.
    • p. 11.
  • Love is not dependency or sex, but is friendship, and, therefore, love can't exist between two males, between a male and a female or between two females, one or both of whom is a mindless, insecure, pandering male; like conversation it can exist only between two secure, free-wheeling, independent, groovy female females, as friendship is based on [respect, not contempt.]
    • p. 10 ("respect, not contempt." (not bracketed in original) not certain in original due to truncation of bottom of photocopy page but consistent with it).
  • Sex is the refuge of the mindless. And the more mindless the woman, the more deeply embedded in the male "culture," in short, the nicer she is, the more sexual she is. The nicest women in our "society" are raving sex maniacs.
    • p. 12.
  • Sex is not part of a relationship, but is, to the contrary, a solitary experience as well as being non-creative and a gross waste of time. The female can easily - far more easily than she may think - condition her sex drive away, leaving her completely cool and cerebral and free to pursue truly worthy relationships and activities; but the male, who seems to dig women sexually and who seeks constantly to arouse them, stimulates the highly-sexed female to frenzies of lust, throwing her into a sex bag from which few women ever escape. The lecherous male excites the lustful female; he has to - when the female transcends her body, rises above animalism, the male, whose ego consists of his cock, will disappear.
    • p. 12 (hyphens (not en- or em-dashes) so in original; line break across "highly-"/"sexed").
  • [M]any females would, even assuming complete economic equality between the sexes, prefer residing with males or peddling their asses on the street, thereby having most of their time for themselves, to spending many hours of their days doing boring, stultifying, non-creative work for somebody else, functioning as less than animals, as machines, or, at best - if able to get a "good" job - co-managing the shitpile. What will liberate women, therefore, from male control is the total elimination of the money-work system, not the attainment of economic equality with men within it.
    • p. 3 (hyphens (not en- or em-dashes) so in original).

"A Young Girl's Primer" (1966)

  • Being fresh out of college, I found myself in the typically feminine dilemma of carving out for myself in a male world a way of life appropriate to a young woman of taste, cultivation and sensitivity. There must be nothing crass—like work. However, a girl must survive. So, after a cool appraisal of the social scene, I finally hit upon an excellent-paying occupation, challenging to the ingenuity, dealing on one's own terms with people and affording independence, flexible hours, great stability and, most important, a large amount of leisure time, an occupation highly appropriate to female sensibilities. I contemplate my good fortune as I begin work for the day: "Pardon me, Sir, do you have fifteen cents?"
  • That's conversation. I charge six bucks an hour for that.
  • This job offers broad opportunity for travel—around and around and around the block. And to think—some girls settle for Europe.

Quotes about

  • the shooting of Andy Warhol had a political dimension, at least in Valerie Solanas's mind. A couple of Warhol's obituaries solemnly refer to Solanas as a member of a group called S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men). Actually, so far as I know, the sole member of this "group" was Solanas herself. Whether she envisioned killing Warhol as a S.C.U.M. project I have no idea; she did, however, write The S.C.UM. Manifesto, a supremely tasteless and wonderfully zany parody of male supremacist thought, which argued that biologically men were not only inferior but superfluous. I never read it as anything but satire, but later I noticed that there were feminists who took it seriously and either loved it or were indignant. I can't believe Solanas meant it seriously, but then again how would I know?
    • Ellen Willis No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays (1992)
Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: