Just three years before Russ completed The Female Man, Valerie Solanas created the SCUM Manifesto, which put forth the idea of male gendercide in order to liberate women and form a superior, all-women society. I find this to be a most interesting coincidence, as a main plot line in The Female Man was the idea that the male race had to be exterminated in order for females to be free.
In her article “The Shock Value of the SCUM Manifesto” Liang explains how outrageous Solanas’ piece of work was in 1967, and how Solanas was attempting to unveil society’s unfair gender restrictions and challenge her audience to rebel against them. Liang explained how Solanas presented such a radical solution to the “male problem” as an attempt to “jolt her audience out of naively following peaceful procedures,” and how it followed that many people at the time wrote her off as completely insane (especially after she attempted to murder Andy Warhol in ’68). Even today, SCUM Manifesto is often labeled as a satire due to the radical suggestion of male gendercide, and not the compelling piece of literature that attempts to make males and females reevaluate chokingly restrictive gender roles, as Liang points out that it is.
Although male gendercide could have been a thought unique to Russ in The Female Man,I rather believe that Russ was influenced by Solanas’ publishing of the SCUM Manifesto three years in advance. A smart, active woman like Joanna Russ? Oh yah, she would be completely plugged in on the dynamics of the current day feminist movement, and definitely would have gotten into Solanas’ works after the murder attempt on Warhol. Its rather amazing to think how one author can influence another, and how both contribute to dramatically influencing the genre of shock literature and pour energy into the huge feminist movement.
Liang, Emily. “The Shock Value of the SCUM Manifesto.” Student Pulse. Student Pulse, LLC, n.d. Web. 20 Oct 2014.<http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/589/the-shock-value-of-the-scum- manifesto>.