(American Culture and Institutions Through Literature, 1960-1969)

In the SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto, Valerie Solanas, a playwright who was the founder and sole member of the society, argues that men are biological accidents, that the Y gene is an incomplete X, making men incomplete women. To compensate for their deficiency, men have constructed all of Western civilization and a host of social evils such as war, religion, marriage, money, violence, disease, and death. Furthermore, men have projected their own passivity onto women, defining themselves as active, and set out to prove their manhood by compulsive sexual encounters. However, men are indeed passive and actually want to be women, so they spend their lives attempting to complete themselves by becoming female through usurping women’s creativity, energy, and vitality. Solanas’s solution is for SCUM to take over the country by sabotage and kill all men who are not in the SCUM Men’s Auxiliary. Solanas vowed that SCUM, unlike other organizations within the women’s movement, would not picket or strike but would operate on a criminal basis, not to change the system but to destroy it.