Solanas wrote SCUM Manifesto in 1967, mimeographed two thousand copies, and sold them on the streets of Greenwich Village in New York. Solanas had accepted an advance to write a book for publisher Maurice Girodias, but when she was unable to complete the manuscript, he accepted the SCUM Manifesto instead. Solanas had also been trying to get pop artist Andy Warhol to produce a play she had written. When repeated attempts to retrieve the play from Warhol failed, she began to accuse him of appropriating her ideas. In June, 1968, she entered Warhol’s studio and shot him and one of his assistants, turning herself in to a rookie cop later that day. SCUM Manifesto was published after the shooting and became a focal document for segments of the women’s movement. Ti-Grace Atkinson, elected president of the New York chapter of National Organization for Women in 1967, publicly supported Solanas in the aftermath of the shooting, though Atkinson’s radicalism eventually put her at odds with the organization, which she left in October, 1968. Roxanne Dunbar, founder of the radical women’s liberation group, Cell 16, considered the SCUM Manifesto to be “the essence of feminism,” and purportedly Cell 16 read the document as their first order of business. Dunbar created controversy when she read excerpts from the SCUM Manifesto at a meeting of radical women in Sandy Springs, Maryland, in 1968. Many in the women’s movement did not agree with Solanas’s views, and her increasing mental instability allowed many people to trivialize the document because of its outrageous nature. Others saw the document as a form of political satire in the style of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” Nonetheless, Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto did fuel debate in the women’s movement, and it did give expression to the rage many women felt toward patriarchy.

Related Work

The 1996 film, I Shot Andy Warhol, provides a look at Solanas’s life and includes excerpts from SCUM Manifesto.

Additional Information

In 1990, Alice Echols published a book-length study of radical feminism in the United States entitled Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967-1975; the book discusses both the SCUM Manifesto and the attempt on Warhol’s life.