Valerie Solanas and the queer performativity of madness

Author/Creator ORCID




Towson University. Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies


Citation of Original Publication

Rowe, D. D., & Chávez, K. R. (2011). Valerie Solanas and the queer performativity of madness. Cultural Studies - Critical Methodologies, 11(3), 274–284. doi:10.1177/1532708611409544



Accusations of madness have long been hurled at queer and feminist bodies, and typically when people are deemed mad, they are granted little agency.This article attempts to read madness as potentially agentic when it manifests as what we call a “queer performativity of madness.” Using the writing of and rhetoric surrounding Valerie Solanas, the infamous radical feminist known for shooting Andy Warhol, we develop the notion of a queer performativity of madness and show how historical figures like Solanas read against the binary oppositions that often create our understanding of sexuality, reason, and politics. Though madness does not always supply agency, we suggest that rethinking madness offers fruitful resources for feminist and queer theory.