A Manifesto on Gender and Desire

Johanna Fateman at Bookforum:

In 1988, Valerie Solanas, the author of the 1967 female-supremacist pamphlet SCUM Manifesto, died from pneumonia at the age of fifty-two, in a single-occupancy hotel room in San Francisco. The decomposing body of the visionary writer, who famously set forth her plans “to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex,” was discovered kneeling, as though in prayer, slumped over the side of the bed. The image lends itself to hagiographic depictions of Solanas—as a fallen soldier, a suffering genius, a latter-day entrant into the modernist pantheon of great artists exiled by society. Or perhaps that’s just how she appears to me. I’d rather imagine her within a tragic male tradition than an abject female one—though you’ll soon see why I’ve begun to wonder if there’s any difference.

Consumed with loathing, finding only fleeting euphoric reprieve in her own ideas, Solanas is feminism’s Antonin Artaud. She’d spit at the comparison, of course.

more here.