THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

The SCUM Manifesto

I'd previously heard about the S.C.U.M. Manifesto some years ago, in passing, but never bothered to look it up and read it... until now! I don't even remember how I got reintroduced to it and its creator, Valerie Solanas. I know it happened over this past weekend, likely as I was researching something else. The web is a minefield of links, daring you to click on them, to find out what exists on the other side. And how could I not follow a link with an acronym like S.C.U.M., AKA, Society for Cutting Up Men!

For those not familiar with the story, Valerie Solanas shot and almost killed Andy Warhol in the late 60s. Her reasons? "He had too much control over my life," she said at the time. She formed S.C.U.M. in the same year, which was followed by the creation of the manifesto, essentially a separatist feminist attack on patriarchy. Much like Marcus Garvey and other black nationalists called for a separate black state, Solanas, S.C.U.M. and the manifesto, championed the creation of a separate female society. The more I read, the more fascinated I was by Solanas and the many bold statements made within the manifesto, especially when the era in which it was created is considered! I've read assorted works from the bibliography of bell hooks, but nothing quite compares to some of what I read in the manifesto!!

In reading the entire manifesto over the weekend, I can honestly say that there are pieces of it that I, as a man, cannot debate nor deny entirely. There are some truths within, and as we all probably know, the truth can be a hard pill to swallow, especially when stated bluntly and reflects negatively on the "swallower." There are also some rather inflammatory, venomous statements within the manifesto that discredit the author, although maybe not entirely; but they certainly make one question her state of mind.

If you haven't read the S.C.U.M Manifesto, you can do so HERE. It's quite long, but I think worth the read. Apparently, it's been an influential piece of work, with other feminist writers quoting from it, films made about it, musicians referencing it, etc... I'm still pondering all that I read, and will likely read it again, and return with a more in-depth personal analysis at a later date.

It's said that Solanas later tried to distance herself from the group and the literature; although I wish she maintained her commitment to both, and what they stood for! Own it! Claim it! Don't backtrack! Especially if what you said or wrote is really what you believe... although I accept that people evolve over time.

Here are some excerpts from the Manifesto:

"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."

"Retaining the male has not even the dubious purpose of reproduction. The male is a biological accident: the y(male) chromosome is an incomplete x(female) chromosome, that is, has an incomplete set of chromosomes. In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples."

"A true community consists of individuals - not mere species members, not couples - respecting each other's individuality and privacy, 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; no-one says the individual."

"Sex is not part of a relationship: on the contrary, it is a solitary experience, non-creative, a gross waste of time. The female can easily -- far more easily than she may think -- condition away her sex drive, 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 out 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 excited 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."

"All diseases are curable, and the aging process and death are due to disease; it is possible, therefore, never to age and to live forever. In fact the problems of aging and death could be solved within a few years, if an all-out, massive scientific assault were made upon the problem. This, however, will not occur with the male establishment"

"After the elimination of money there will be no further need to kill men; they will be stripped of the only power they have over psychologically independent females. They will be able to impose themselves only on the doormats, who like to be imposed on. The rest of the women will be busy solving the few remaining unsolved problems before planning their agenda for eternity and Utopia -- completely revamping educational programs so that millions of women can be trained within a few months for high level intellectual work that now requires years of training (this can be done very easily once our educational goal is to educate and not perpetuate an academic and intellectual elite); solving the problems of disease and old age and death and completely redesigning our cities and living quarters. Many women will for a while continue to think they dig men, but as they become accustomed to female society and as they become absorbed in their projects, they will eventually come to see the utter uselessness and banality of the male."

"The conflict, therefore, is not between females and males, but between SCUM -- dominant, secure, self-confident, nasty, violent, selfish, independent, proud, thrill-seeking, free-wheeling, arrogant females, who consider themselves fit to rule the universe, who have free-wheeled to the limits of this `society' and are ready to wheel on to something far beyond what it has to offer -- and nice, passive, accepting `cultivated', polite, dignified, subdued, dependent, scared, mindless, insecure, approval-seeking Daddy's Girls, who can't cope with the unknown, who want to hang back with the apes, who feel secure only with Big Daddy standing by, with a big strong man to lean on and with a fat, hairy face in the White House, who are too cowardly to face up to the hideous reality of what a man is, what Daddy is, who have cast their lot with the swine, who have adapted themselves to animalism, feel superficially comfortable with it and know no other way of `life', who have reduced their minds, thoughts and sights to the male level, who, lacking sense, imagination and wit can have value only in a male `society', who can have a place in the sun, or, rather, in the slime, only as soothers, ego boosters, relaxers and breeders, who are dismissed as inconsequent by other females, who project their deficiencies, their maleness, onto all females and see the female as worm."

6 comments:

  1. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    Wow, even I am speechless. The crazy lady speaks a lot of truth!

    Note to self: Must bump up I SHOT ANDY WARHOL on dvd rental list.

  2. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    Having now read the whole manifesto (which could really benefit from an awake editor), I can now declare what I have suspected all along, even though I was not aware of the SCUM manifesto before today: that you must, Mr Obenson, be an occasional member of the Men's Auxiliary.

    Good job! Keep it up!

    :P

  3. The Obenson Report said...
     

    Sshhh, don't tell anybody! I was enjoying the anonymity...

  4. theblackactor.com said...
     

    Whew! Oh Lawd.

  5. Invisible Woman said...
     

    I love the movie I Shot Andy Warhol and always think Lily Taylor is amazing in everything. She really wrecked it as Valerie and should have won a ton of awards...

  6. The Obenson Report said...
     

    @ TBA - I see you're speechless :o)

    @ IW - now I need to go re-watch I SHOT ANDY WARHOL. It's been awhile, and I vaguely remember it.

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