Overlooked No More: Valerie Solanas, Radical Feminist Who Shot Andy WarholBreaking News
tags: feminism, 1970s, radicalism
Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times. This month we’re adding the stories of important L.G.B.T.Q. figures.
On June 3, 1968, Valerie Solanas walked into Andy Warhol’s studio, the Factory, with a gun and a plan to enact vengeance. What happened next came to define her life and legacy: She fired at Warhol, nearly killing him. The incident reduced her to a tabloid headline, but also drew attention to her writing, which is still read in some women’s and gender studies courses today.
Solanas was a radical feminist (though she would say she loathed most feminists), a pioneering queer theorist (at least according to some) and the author of “SCUM Manifesto,” in which she argued for the wholesale extermination of men.
The manifesto, self-published in 1967, reads as satire, though Solanas defended it as serious. Its opening line is at once absurd and a call to arms for the coalition she was forming, the Society for Cutting Up Men:
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 destroy the male sex.
On the subject of reproduction, she wrote: “We should produce only whole, complete beings, not physical defects or deficiencies, including emotional deficiencies, such as maleness.”
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