by Johannes Goransson on Sep.12, 2010
“S.K.A.M. is a laughing blonde blob that will brake down the patriarchal hold on literature.” – an illustrated description of the Swedish blob S.K.A.M. by Aylin Bloch Boynukisa
”S.K.A.M. is a laughing blonde blob a text machine a teenage hooker a princess cupcake a lipstick kiss and the girl on the ventilation shaft.”
I don’t know what to write about S.K.A.M. (or s.k.a.m. or SKAM). SKAM says it best, it’s a blonde blob, it’s not a group or a movement or anything like that, it’s everything and everywhere so you’ll have to watch out. SKAM began showing its blonde head in 2001, it had had enough, it started to write its blob texts. In 2002, SKAM published its first manifesto in bang, one of Swedens most prominent feminist magazines. The manifesto was a cut up piece reminding of a threatening letter. As I stated in a comment earlier on Montevidayo, SKAM is in part a paraphrase on Valerie Solanas SCUM and the menacing tone borrows a lot from Solanas (the other part of SKAM being that “skam” means “shame”). The manifesto began with: “WE DEMAND TO WRITE ASWEWANT” followed by twelve threatening demands for female authors, surrounded by authentic quotations from misogynist critique on girl literature. SKAM also sent it to the major newspapers but no-one published it.
Some of the demands:
“3. girls shall be allowed to write about their own eating disorders, their own riding camps, their own periods (we write about our experiences, we live in the patriarchy, we write about the patriarchy)”
“5. male reviewers are not going to read fucking straight love into all our stuff, we reject the demand for love and the demand for sentimentality”
“6. girls will not have to read boy literature”
“9. bad women and girls – crazy bitches and freaks – are the ones that are going to write the literature”
The second manifesto showed up in 2003. Here, SKAM claims to be and do everything:
The three paged manifesto consists of sentences all starting with the word “S.K.A.M.” It begins:
“S.K.A.M is ashamed.
S.K.A.M. burns with pride.
S.K.A.M. don’t receive any awards
S.K.A.M. breaths down your ass
S.K.A.M. is where you are
S.K.A.M. takes all awards
S.K.A.M. is in your gaze”
And it ends:
“S.K.A.M. sells shit for money
S.K.A.M. kills in a flashy wig
S.K.A.M. is dead meat
S.K.A.M. wears sunglasses
S.K.A.M has tiled stoves in every room
S.K.A.M. loves its own reflection
S.K.A.M. is my little pony”
After this second manifesto SKAM wrote several poetic texts, mixing its own literary works with that of feminist classics like Gertrude Stein (a rose is a rose is a cunt is a rose) and, of course, Valerie Solanas, publishing them in various literary magazines. In its public readings, SKAM always varied in numbers of participants but were always wearing blonde wigs and sunglasses so that no-one ever stood out as an individual.
(The text for this cover says: “S.K.A.M. is a laughing blonde blob, a text machine, a teenage hooker. The picture shows five members of the Royal family and the Swedish Academy.”)
In 2005, SKAM took over one issue of the classical Swedish poetry magazine Lyrikvännen (The Poetry Friend), filling it with women artists and authors, new texts and poems, discussions and images. I was invited to contribute to a collective poem for this issue and when it was published, the poem was eleven pages long and had 56 contributing authors. The authors are named in alphabetical order but it’s impossible to tell who has written what. In the foreword to this issue SKAM writes: “SKAM wants literature to become less patriarchal and well-behaved, less lonely and terrifying. SKAM says that it is not a competition.” That might be the best way to describe SKAM.