Doing the research for my essay about Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), I found an article about another prominent feminist of the 20th century. Valerie Solanas was famous for her scandalous book SCUM Manifesto and in particular for her theory that men are not as developed as women are and, therefore, should all be slaughtered for the good of the female part of the human kind. The story of this lady made me think of one phenomenon when the initial idea of a movement, for example, gets twisted and remade so badly that even though the one could logically connect these two finished ideas, they are dramatically different in practice.
In a nutshell
So here we are, with Valerie Solanas, a child of alcoholics, a prostitute and a very smart woman, actively participating in trendy social activities for the people her age, does research and writes a book saying that men, due to having XY chromosomes, are less developed than women with their XX chromosomes (suggesting that Y chromosome is an undeveloped X). And then we have Frida Kahlo, a very strong but deeply unhappy woman with poor health and passion for painting.
They were both feminists in general sense but were they fighting for the same thing? Were they both fighting against the same thing?
I personally don’t think they were. Even though they are both considered feminists, their ideas and ways were so drastically different that it would be wrong to call them allies. If Frida (not even trying to prove anything) showed the world that women are as strong as men are, that we are all equal in our pain, Valerie Solanas did not fight for equality, she fought for supremacy. Obviously, it was caused by her mental issues to some extent but even so, her perception of a perfect world was quite radical. I believe that supremacy should be reached only through equality and there is no way that the world without men would be the happy one. The one just cannot take away one of the 2 primal social groups and live like it never happened. Men, women – we all make one social body, an organism and it would be impossible to exist if half of this body was torn off.
Pain into art
Frida Kahlo, on the other side, born in a traditional Mexican community, dedicated her life to be a proud woman and painted her way through her misery. Her lifelong dream was to give birth and have a normal happy family, though it never happened. She turned her pain into art and showed people the life of a woman. She painted her miscarriages, her loneliness and her self-portraits, it was a very simple message but it was a very powerful one. Probably, it is pointless to compare Kahlo and Solanas because they themselves had very polar ideas of what they tried to accomplish. However, they were both women, they lived in the same age and they both considered women to be strong. Their ways though show that whatever idea is taken as a base, it is always a matter of people involved to develop this idea into an ideology. And it is only natural that every time it is transformed into a new form. Is it right to call them all the same name though? Were Frida Kahlo and Valerie Solanas both feminists? And where is this line when feminism turns into misandry?
These questions are never to be answered…
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